Have Fandoms become the New Measure of Coolness?

If you haven't watched Game of Thrones, is that such a bad thing?

Image Credit: HBO

We live in a world divided. Do not stop reading; this is not a Philosophy 101 lecture. We live in a word divided by fandoms. Which is all well and good, but we also live in a world where we are judged by our fandoms, which is not quite as hunky dory. Now being a part of a large number of these fandoms, I personally never quite knew the other side of the fence. I thus embarked upon a journey to find people and ask them about what it is like to hear someone say, “What! You haven’t watched Game of Thrones?”

Currently, the most popular television show on the planet, Game of Thrones is all the rage right now. Whether it is being aired or not, people are constantly talking about the show. Now, it was an excellent show, no doubt. But the minute you confess that you haven’t watched a single episode of this epic show, you will be judged and people may even ostracise you for your misdemeanour.

Shiamak Cooper, 18, is a medical student and otherwise a fun person to hang out with. But the only drawback when it comes to him is that he has watched very few sitcoms and movies. “Game of Thrones is practically an ice breaker while making conversations nowadays,” he says. “Every time, I meet someone new, somewhere down the line, I am asked whether I have watched the show and I say no. What follows is an exaggerated response of shock and questions about whether I should be allowed to exist. It somehow is imperative that you should understand the jokes and references to be friends with particular people. Sometimes, I feel I might as well watch the show, so I can finally get the references.”

Shweta Poduval, 19, is an avid reader and has read A Song of Fire and Ice series, but has not watched the TV series. “A lot of people have asked me to watch the show because it is amazing. While it might be true, I personally, prefer a book to its adaptation. It’s just that a lot of people have a ‘whatever’ attitude towards books and prefer shows. So I don’t see why not watching the show warrants a social death sentence.”

These shows, books, series and movies have become an integral part of our life, parts of our daily routines and conversations. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, but we cannot expect everyone to be the same. A man is allowed to choose the company he keeps but there is definitely something amiss if you reject someone because their preferences do not match yours.

Krisha Gandhi, 15, loves painting. In her free time, she paints. She doesn’t watch television, doesn’t read a lot, she paints. “I recently shifted schools and almost everyone I meet asks me whether I had read Harry Potter or watched this show or that show. When I replied I hadn’t, all they had to say was ‘oh’. Very few people bothered to ask me what I did like to do or what I am good at. It’s their right to like what they enjoy but somehow they just want everyone to like it as well.”

Somehow over the years, people have been socially discriminated based on based on whether they are interested in the same fandoms or whether they have read the same books. Looking for people with common interest is perfectly fine. But if they don’t like what you like, make an effort to know what they are into. After all, having people who are unique around can be a worthwhile experience.

Darshini Gandhi and Varun Dattani are handpicked products of the Bayside Pathfinder where we empower the young and the young at heart with the power of storytelling. To become a part of our extended family of unique contributors, call up Prem Madnani at +91 9892913788 or email him on [email protected].