Aastha Atray Banan and Gunjeet Sra in Open:
When he was a student, Shardul Sharma, now 33 years old, would go to Delhi’s Chor Bazaar to buy T-shirts for Rs 20 from a pile of clothes. They had been sent over as charity all the way from the United States and had somehow found their way to the markets of Old Delhi. When the internet was still young, he would often log on to Pitchfork, a website that some consider the last word on independent music. It introduced him to bands such as The Stooges, The Kinks and The Fall. The last of which led him to read The Fall by Albert Camus–a novel about a man’s fall from grace. Sharma hadn’t realised all this made him a hipster until he visited the Wikipedia page for ‘Hipster’. He figures his stock market job would’ve disqualified him for the label. But he seems to fit the bill. He has a room full of LPs and wears band T-shirts with skinny pants, vintage Adidas sneakers and big geeky glasses. He likes what he calls ‘alternative’ music and movies.
Amit Malhotra, a 26-year-old visualiser, is so averse to technology that he hand-writes all his documents. He also has the geek glasses and satchel that are the staple of hipsters. He is obsessed with vintage art and fashion; most of his clothes are from thrift shops. He wore a dhoti to the London Fashion Week. He doesn’t label himself a hipster because he doesn’t want to align himself with the majority. “The hipsters here follow trends like their life depends on it and that is completely wrong. You can’t be a hipster if you have to make a conscious effort,” he says.
None of those who use the term ‘hipster’ seem entirely clear about what it means. According to the aggregate wisdom of Wikipedia, to which Sharma turned for clarity, ‘hipster’ refers to ‘a subculture of young, urban middle class adults and older teenagers that appeared in the 1990s… associated with independent music, a varied non-mainstream fashion sensibility, progressive or independent political views, alternative spirituality or atheism/agnosticism, and alternative lifestyles’. This is such a wide definition, it sounds like a complicated way to say ‘non-conformist’. More: