Blog Series: Stereotypical People You Meet in Bombay - Part 1: Freelancers

Team MissMalini , 05 Feb 2014

Disclaimer: The author of this blog is an experienced and practicing people watcher and has the necessary qualifications in (mostly) legal eavesdropping and observing Mumbaikars inconspicuously.

The city is a mélange of characters, thereby making it a playground for one of my biggest passions: stereotyping. It’s easy to generalise, because observing just one person can determine the traits of everyone in his or her pigeonhole. This is easier here than most cities because [the medical practice of Organizational Behaviour agrees with the demographic ] gazing mindlessly at people isn’t immediately considered a security threat since the city’s safety hasn’t hit rockbottom, unlike in other cities. (Yes Delhi, I’m looking at you.)

Based on long and tedious research that involved perching on plush couches in airconditioned restaurants and cafés, sipping on iced lattes and being excessively lazy (it’s a tough job) I have decided to document my findings. The character I chose to begin with is, “ The Freelancer”.

1.  That they don’t have an office is a myth.

While any freelancer will tell you that a corporate building and the need to be in the confines of an office space is a “soul sucking” endeavor and it doesn’t get their “creative juices flowing”, they do in fact have a dedicated workspace. It’s your nearest Costa Coffe. Or your nearest Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. And if Café Coffee Day didn’t serve sewage water disguised as coffee, I trust you’d find them there as well. 

2. They have the waitstaff on Speed Dial

Freelancers are the guys with pony tails and scruffy beards, the girls with hipster specs and green kohlapuris, blowing smoke into their MacBooks. These devices are hooked on to the free wifi offered at the café, the password of which dedicated writers can rattle off more easily than their phone numbers. Also, the friendly uniformed waitstaff is making fun of you with them. You can be sure of it.

Freelancers
Freelancers

3. Conversational catastrophes

If you sit in long enough to endure a conversation among a group of freelancers, you are likely to hear statements like, “The client meeting got postponed”, “the client is such a <insert innovative slanderous words here in language of your choosing>”, “My cat did the cutest thing…” or “I think we should move to Leaping Windows” being tossed around with reckless abandon. They will also sometimes discuss pretentious French cinema; or at least it’ll sound like that until you discover they’re doing a scene-by-scene break up of Jai Ho.

4. Most of them had cushy careers

This freelance stint (comparable to Sanjay Dutt’s jail sentence) is the “plunge” most have taken to “find themselves”. They were once successful fincance consultants, or analysts, or other jargon MNCs are using these days. But they have sacrificed it all to venture on a new path. The path that has them writing the literature for brochures and websites of said MNCs that they, as former employees, know absolutely no one gave a toss about. It’s a fulfilling experience really. 

5. You don’t stalk them, they stalk you 

As an experiment try visiting a different coffee shop in your preferred locality. You will notice the same faces. The same kohlapuris. A heated discussion on the Jai Ho sequel. It’s them! They’re everywhere. They’re wanderers. Nomads, if you will. Also realise this, if you have the kind of time to indulge in such an experiment, you need to get a real job and stop freelancing, bro.

Leave a comment below if you can relate to our findings!

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