He went for the film the next day with the policeman who defused the situation – tickets courtesy the multiplex's management.
On Tuesday night, all Neeraj Pandey wanted to do was to watch the new release Wazir at a multiplex theatre in Goregaon. Instead, he ended the night at the police station.
Pandey, who shares a name with the director of A Wednesday, had gone with two friends for the film at 8.15 pm. When
the notice to stand for the national anthem flashed on the screen, his friends
stood up. Pandey, however, did not.
“The anthem had not even started and I heard a woman ask
from behind, ‘Kaun khada nahi hua, be? [Who hasn’t stood up?] Excuse me, excuse
me, why you’re not standing?’” she said.
The woman was in the row behind him with four men. One of
those tried to physically lift Pandey to force him to stand. As people began to
turn around to watch the scene, another person from a few rows behind called
out, “Let the national anthem get over and then we’ll take care of him.”
That night was not the first time Pandey had not stood for
the anthem, as he believes standing is a matter of choice. Sometimes he stands,
sometimes he does not and sometimes he waits outside the theatre.
He chose to remain seated that night as the anthem played.
That night was, however, the first time that anyone had
objected to his actions.
A man in his 50s marched down from his seat and started
shouting at Pandey for daring to not stand. Others immediately stood up to
defend his choice to sit. People said the movie would not play until Pandey
left. The manager came in to attempt to calm people down.
This is when the drama became surreal.
At the height of the tension, more than 40 people crowded
around his seat, some ranged against and others for him. There were wild yells
of how only a Pakistani would do such a thing and that if he was a Hindustani
he would have to stand. When Pandey moved to leave, people shouted at him and
told him he was wrong to leave and that he must stay in the theatre because he
had done nothing that was wrong.
“I almost felt like laughing,” said Pandey, describing the
confusion. “Everybody was shouting at each other in small groups but nobody was
listening to each other. I was like, yaar, decide karo, jaana hai ki nahi.
[Decide whether I am supposed to go or not].”
The situation intensified when someone Pandey described as a
“deshbhakt” grandly announced that he had called the police.
A social problem
The incident, Pandey felt, did not show any lapses on the police’s part or of the system at all.
“The problem here is a social problem,” Pandey said. “I did not break any laws. These people who wanted me to leave probably went home and were happy for a few hours thinking I had gotten into trouble.”
The larger issue, he felt, is how people express their patriotism.
“Friends have been asking me why do I provoke people like this,” Pandey said. “But this is like asking girls why they go to gullies [streets] where boys will harass them. At the time people litter, there is no deshbhakti [patriotism]. These people did not know who I am, what I do or what I think. But this is how people’s gundagardi [hooliganism] comes out.”
Yet Pandey said that too much should not be made out of this.
“Unlike the incident in Kurla which involved a Muslim family, a writer friend of mine pointed out that I am an upper middle-class Hindu Brahmin,” he said. “So this is not a situation of victimisation here, nor is it a hero case. This is just an incident that has happened.”
On Wednesday, all five went for the film. This time, Pandey waited outside the hall until the national anthem was over.
As corporate India changes from strait-jacketed to stylish, here’s how you can stay on-trend
For men and women, tips to make your office style game strong.
Office wear in India tends to be conservative. For men, the staple blue or white shirt and dark trouser arranged in a monotonous assembly line has been a permanent feature of the wardrobe (a tactic shrewdly administered to ensure minimum time is spent shopping). For women, androgynous work wear has been ever reliable and just as dull.
But camouflage is of no use in the corporate jungle anymore. The Indian office is no longer a place for dull, unthinking conformity, it is a place that expects vibrancy in thought and action. With a younger workforce and a greater mix of multinationals and jobs, there is a greater acceptance of edgier trends. Men are stepping away from their blues and greys and women are reshaping their workwear to be more interesting and distinctly feminine. As corporate India is proving its mettle on the global stage and to itself, it’s also growing confident in expressing individuality and style in the formal work environment. From clothing to office décor and fashion accessories to work tools, the workplace is becoming a place to display merit as well as taste.
Work clothes have shed their monochrome and moved into the light of technicolor. Bright colours have steadily become popular as Pantone’s annual colours of the year show us. For the corporate warrior who wants to be stylish here is our pick of trends worth considering.
Statement jacket. A statement jacket is one that doesn’t merely stand out in a crowd, but blows it open for you. How do you recognize one? You’ll know it when you see it. Most statement jackets have a non-traditional color. They could also have subtle prints on them if you want to go funky.
Technicolor socks. Multicolored socks (or hipster socks as they are known in some quarters) peek out every once in a while and brighten things up in the workplace. From polka dots and caricatures to geometric patterns, you can choose a pair to suit your mood or your workplace. A great way of telling people you don’t take fashion rules seriously (except these ones).
Plaid: Well played is well, plaid. Great for your 9-to-5 and even performs well after. Plaids, in shirts and jackets, are perhaps the most versatile tool in the corporate warrior’s armory, and straddle the fine line between formal and casual effectively. They’re also age-resistant meaning a young buck in his twenties can rock them as much as your seasoned forty-plus campaigner. Plaid, though Scottish in origin, has an Indian connection too, in the Madras checks that became popular all over the world after the World War.
Inside collars and cuffs. If you like to keep it classy but still a little edgy, nothing does it like contrast or printed insides of your collar and cuffs. After the work day, when it’s proper to roll up your sleeves, it even adds a touch of evening character.
Coloured Shoes. Alternate your staid blacks and browns with variants like burgundy, light buttery browns and ashen blues. Play with moccasins, tassel loafers and lace-ups. Go beyond leather and try suede and maybe even canvas. But do remember to take a quick course in matching.
Floral prints. Flowers are back (though one could argue that they never went out) and now they’re storming the bastion of your office. Even the traditional Indian paisley is making its way into formal wear. With the prevalence of digital printing, with a little hunting, you’ll even find beautiful florals in watercolour style.
Scarves. The first rule of wearing scarves is to rid yourself of the notion that they are to be worn only in winter. A colourful scarf paired with a monochrome top works wonders. A dozen online videos will teach you to wear it in a dozen ways. Plus, it always comes in handy when the thermostat isn’t to your liking. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw wears scarves frequently, and is a great example of how you can use it strikingly.
Pants. Yes. Pants. Experiment with different styles and you’ll be surprised how they can really spruce up a boring look. Silhouette is everything when it comes to pants. Choose from high-waisted, wide legged, pleated to ankle length pants and what not! The best part is offices rarely prescribe silhouettes, so you can always get by with some style even if your workplace demands a uniform.
Houndstooth. The houndstooth pattern is at the sweet intersection between casual and formal and can be worn to make a splash in either occasion. Whether its jackets or a dress or a simple top, a houndstooth pattern is incredibly versatile.
Chic suits. A sharp suit is a must for a modern professional’s wardrobe. And please don’t even look in the direction of black. Pastel colours or even greys with patterns are great options for suits. Uncoordinated suits are also a great option depending on how edgy you want your office attire to be.
It isn’t enough to be well-dressed in the modern workplace. A good professional is known by his or her tools and how they carry it.
Designer laptop sleeves. Your high-precision instrument deserves a cover chosen with as much care. Black Neoprene is out. Pastel monochromes, geometric patterns and bold designs are very much in. Different materials like cotton, leather and even paper are a great option.
Natural fiber or leather bags (yes kill your black synthetic one now). Briefcases are ancient and black messenger bags are done. Go for a color variant or a subtle pattern. Pay attention to the different leather finishes. Adding a few nicely done metal trims can make all the difference. But convenience and ease are top priority. If you travel a lot, get a stylish strolley and thank yourself later.
Commute pack. The urban corporate needs to be productive at all times, or at the very least, needs to be accessible. A modern commute pack should include wireless headphones, a USB battery pack (power bank) and a wire/gadget organisation pack just so that you’re always prepared.
Machine. We’ve all showed off our latest smartphones. Your work machine is way more important. And like in smartphones, a good laptop is no longer only about performance. The specifications must be top-notch but it has also become an expression of your personality. It can up your style quotient and significantly impact your experience.
The Dell XPS 13 is one device that achieves excellence in both form and function. With a virtually borderless infinity display that maximises screen space, and measuring a super slim 9-15mm, the Dell XPS 13 is an unalloyed delight. A sixth generation Intel® Core™ processor and the latest Intel HD graphics gives cutting edge performance for 18 hours and 14 minutes per charge—the longest battery life in any 13-inch device. The Dell XPS 13 epitomises the ethos of the modern day corporate warrior—chic and smart. To make even more of a fashion statement, you now get a free TUMI laptop sleeve worth Rs. 9000 with your XPS notebook purchase (offer valid till 31st October). For more information about the Dell XPS 13, see here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Dell and not by the Scroll editorial team.