OK, so Archie Andrews is going to ask Veronica Lodge to marry him. The whole world and the next comic fan is crying foul. How could he not ask Betty Cooper? Well, honestly speaking, that was my first question too. Suddenly, from a life that I had lived long ago, the question and all that went with it popped up. Archie and his gang. A lifestyle that was so 'cool', when we were growing up.
What I remember of Archie, I ask myself. For some reason, I realised yesterday that it has been ten years now since I finished high school. That sure feels old, like when I walk into a Splash store and walk out because it has next to nothing that I could buy. Too much plastic, the teen stuff. I digress here.
Archie's used to be priced at Rs 30 back then. Expensive by the standards of that day. But from some shacks in corners of Madras (then), I used to get second hand books, some dog-eared, some torn in parts, some nice bound ones. Friends and I would pour over it for hours, try to replicate Veronica's fashions and secretly dream of finding our own Archies. Those were not times when you openly spoke of wanting to have boyfriends.
Junk jewellery was just in then. And so was cable television. Those and the loud prints, high hairstyles of the 90s, the chunky bangles in mono colours, 'Maine Pyar Kiya', 'Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak.' Some early Mills and Boons that, in later years, grew racier. And more raunchy. And we were all suckers for love stories, in comics, in Bollywood, in desires of our own lives.
Archie's and Riverdale and the rest were the American dream. That was just before the dot com boom and America was still 'modern' and 'all-things-good' and all that. We all saw where we secretly wanted to be. Perhaps, more than the movies, Archie's, coupled with the others, was the escape we all hoped to be part of. Be a part of the American dream; the burgers, the boy friends and the rest.
Ah well, we all grew up then. And India got its own dreams too that we all became part of. Thanks, globalisation.
And so Archie is set to marry. I wish it was to Betty. But then, maybe that's just me, and the rest of the world, rooting for the underdog. Archie is perhaps following his heart. Or maybe, like a colleague said, strongly thinking Archie made the wrong choice, that he was probably chasing the money; it is the time of recession, after all!