The newspapers print photographs of those who "top" the exams. They are routinely scrawny and dark-skinned, drawn from the distant suburbs and villages, Indians whose ancestors might have cooked and cleaned for the ancestors of the students they now displace.
Visit the companies staffed by this new meritocracy, and you encounter a new elite. In the Indian offices of, say, Goldman Sachs or McKinsey, the paychecks are fat and the intellects razor-sharp. But they seldom speak English in the old, affected British way. They are coarser and yet more confident. They feel the world is theirs, but are less obsessed than the earlier elites with emulating the West. They are proudly indigenous, often preferring Indian food, music and movies to the alternatives.
They are changing the language. On television, on college campuses, in businesses, you hear new-economy elites who sound much more Indian than their predecessors, their English unapologetically peppered with Hindi: "Let's go have some khana. I'm hungry, yaar."
In Mumbai, this dualism is seared into geography. The northern suburbs were once backwaters. But areas like Bandra are now havens of energy, full of young people who come from elsewhere, thrive without parental string-pulling, pay their own rent, cook their own food. Meanwhile, in south Mumbai, the beauty and history of the place mask an impending social obsolescence.