Is it possible to feel nostalgic about a time one never lived in? But that is exactly how I feel when I watch the flowy documentary Last Hippie Standing. It makes me nostalgic of the East Indian side of my family, one uncle in particular who saved the day by becoming the only hippie sticking out in our family tree. That film makes me miss my silly uncle and his colourful dreams.
Some people call it escapism, some call it protest, some remaining others insist on calling it love. But being hippie was more about being human than anything Salman Khan can conjure. In the end, despite all its drug-addled disappointments, the ’60s generation ended up creating a thought revolution that has outlasted their aesthetics.
Of course, it’s no easy task being hippie in a digital age. Dancing stoned around a campfire in a forest sounds tempting, but how long could we do it before the urge to stream it live takes over? And is dancing and smoking all that the hippies did?
A quick look around us is enough to reveal the similarities between today and yesterday. Underground raves are as much about hedonism and defying authority as Woodstock was. They had their Vietnam War and materialism to deal with, we have our beef bans and gender discrimination to protest against. The setting isn’t very different after all.
So how does a millennial become a hippie?
It’s not in the dreadlocks
Or drugs (ahem). Today, I’m sure we wouldn’t recognise a real hippie if we met one, because they’ve all grown older and don’t necessarily wear tiaras made of leaves on their heads. On the other hand, even a guy employed in HR at TCS might be wearing harem pants on Goa’s beaches. Bottom line: looks don’t matter.
But it is in the boom box
Music matters. Art matters. A tiara made of leaves can be a work of art too. Being hippie is a lot about being creative. There is no point in harbouring lofty ideals if we can’t create something meaningful to portray them to the world with.
It’s not at an office desk
Oh yes, you could very well be sneaking a toke during lunch break, going to work in flip-flops and listening to Jimi Hendrix on your earphones. But eventually you are still a part of a commercial enterprise. And that, I’m afraid, is a big no-no in hippiedom.
It is very much in magic
The political developments that led to hippie movements in the ’60s continue to rattle the world today. Sometimes I wonder why we all aren’t busy taking survival lessons, getting nuked out of existence doesn’t seem too far-fetched a possibility. But this is where a true hippie would differ. Because all said and done, a hippie believes in magic. A digital hippie would believe he/she can change the world, even with a smartphone in pocket.
Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar