• Priyanka Sarkar

You need to go underground to see what’s happening

Updated: Apr 16

Photography by Deeptika

What are those thoughts that fly through your head when you’re in a new and unique place? Excitement? Fear? Apprehension? The vast multitude of emotions that could overwhelm you are infinite. But there are some things you just can’t be prepared for. Not by movies, TV shows or even second-hand information from trustworthy friends.

The mainstream is criticized for being superficial and unimaginative

So your older friends convince you to join them for a party on the outskirts of the city. You drive through barren land, then forests to find a clearing. And everything seems surreal. Giant bonfires, colorful clothes, trading/ barter systems, neon lights, goblins, you name it. Well, actually you wouldn’t be able to. Even the grass was covered in neon confetti. It was a night spent in a uniquely harmonious but cosmically intense state of mind, albeit with people we didn’t know. A day, a night, a simple break away from the dull clunk and monotony of the city.

So what is underground?

Underground is more independent rather than being sold out, pure versus corrupted and exclusive versus accessible, in other words underground doesn’t come to you like mainstream, you have to go to the underground.

Underground parties often take place in abandoned buildings, basements, parking, subways, art galleries and what not. These are all obscure places. The contrast between the underground and mainstream is more directly related to the process of visualizing social worlds and discriminating between social groups. The crowd includes only those who have a different taste and mindset and are more open to adopting new ideologies in the aspect of party culture. The mass included in this is concerned more for rebellion and resistance and this tradition as a result gave little consideration to social change.

Photography by Priyanka Sarkar

The term ‘subculture’ can be used to identify those taste cultures which are labeled by media as subcultures and the word ‘subcultural’ as a synonym for those practices that clubbers called ‘underground.’ The entire industry is based on trust and is not in any way mainstream and commercial. Subculture is beautiful, goodwill and trust.

Delhi Underground

Delhi is known for its night life and it’s party scenes. So, it comes as no surprise that Delhi has started embracing the underground culture getting inspired by European alternative party scenes. Talking to an underground party organizer and artist and friend, we came to know his side of the whole subculture.

He tells us about an incident once when we went to a party and all of a sudden the lingerie was decoratively placed all across the house. It turned out that two French girls who were roommates, were launching a secret pop-up lingerie line at a private party of theirs. The first thought that came to his head was how Delhi guys would react at a party like this and he shivered. While he pondered that thought, his friend arrived being trailed by 3 others guys. Suffice it to say, they weren’t allowed inside.

Sid even mentioned the private parties socialites, businessmen and politicians hold. They’re an odd mix of boasting, drinking and letting loose. But these parties usually leave a bitter after taste in the mouth for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s the lewd, drunken and aggressive behaviour with each other, or the misbehavior with their respective escorts. None of it is a fun topic so let’s move on.

But I’ll end this with a story about a relatively balanced scene, one without any fire dancers or Israelis. These are the pseudo-commercial, yuppie, rich kid, BYOB parties that happen in large residencies and cater to a limited crowd. The age group is strict, and everybody knows everybody either through work, industry and/or music. In essence it’s almost a private party, but not exactly. All narcotics are to be consumed outside the venue to avoid liability. The organizers are also people you know, so you’re more likely to respect these rules.

To summarize, we have many kinds of underground scenes in the city. Many we haven’t even come close to covering. Moreover, even skipping over coldplay, BDSM and orgies... Never mind. You get the point. Explore and be aware sure as hell don’t scare that easily.

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