This is going to come across as one of the weirdest entries read by you,Im sure.I think it would give an in depth idea of the confusion that lies in the minds of the Indian metropolitan youth today.As for the observations on which my deductions are based,the guinea pigs are of course me,my friends and the knowledge gained from couple fo dozen movies on the Indian youth(The sources of information that every urban teen bases all his judgements on)
We are a generation of youngsters deeply inspired by anything that happening around us.Just like any other generation,except that while what was around our parents was poverty and lack of opportunity, what is around us is a dozen avenues and an extremely strong media that makes the dozen seem like a million. We are a generation heavily influenced by movies,music and books.Almost all our judgements are based on them.And as there are so many of each,hence the conflicting ideas and all the confusion.
When Dil Chahta Hai came out, everyone loved the way the new generation was portrayed in the movie - confused,confident and classy.When Lakshya released,everyone critically acclaimed the portrayal of the Indian metropolitan youth to be a confused spoilt but talented(somehow) lot, who have no idea what they want to do in life, but somehow end up luckily finding out what that is and successful pretty soon.
I, being a resident of Mumbai, may not know today what is happening regarding the nuclear deal but sure as hell know which look is being sported by whom and what new brand of clothes that Shah Rukh Khan endorses is.
There is an upside as well as a downside to everything.The downside of a generation brought up in such an environment is pretty obvious and talked about so much that I don’t want to dwell on it here.I am yet to figure out whether any concrete upside exists.I just want to post what I feel about it,because I'm assuming that’s how most of us are feeling.
Everyone of us have seen what it is like to be successful, to be glamorous and to live the good life, thanks to the active(forgive me for the mild word) media that exists in our country today.The extravagance of the rich,the attitude,the class and the "sophisticated" look has been shown so many times on TV that that is just about the only thing we associate with success.Hence, when I think about where I want to be in life a few years down the line, the image of a smart looking corporate dude having a nice drink with all his mates in a swank bar after a week of making sophisticated deals clearly comes to my mind.
What I am not clear on is what exactly it is that I will do to make it happen. What exactly is it that I want to do? What is the purpose of what I am doing(I would like to mention here that this is a question that bothers our generation a lot in comparison to the previous one simply because in their case the answer was pretty starightforward - To get rid of the poverty that surrounds them.I think this dominance of question "WHY" that is being asked by our generation is the prime reason why spirituality is much more popular with the urban youth today than in the yesteryears.We tend to want to know the reason for everything that we do,but dont seem to have any logical answer other than money and fame.)
One classic example of the importance of fame in our life is the fact that jobs which involve glitz and glamour today are the only jobs as sought after as those which are the most paid(and in most cases, both these jobs are not the same unless you are top management).We are a generation which I think is very insecure, looking for acceptance and acclaim from others to be sure of what we are doing.
How many times have each of us heard the line, "Today, you kids are so lucky. There are so many opportunities for you. It is not like how it was for us, where everyone wanted to be either a doctor or an engineer."
But the irony is that the number of engineering and medical colleges in India are mushrooming, and this is not just because of the population explosion. Most of us are too unsure of what we want to do. We are too scared to make a choice. So we end up doing something that makes us socially acceptable and then gain confidence from others appreciation. The one off case of the boy who takes humanities after getting a 90 percent is talked about so much. But no one talks about the 50 percent kid who takes Science with bio because of parental pressure. Isn’t it true that in most cases the people with high marks end up doing science and ones with low marks venture into the “various new opportunities” that we talk about so much today(I know Im generalizing a bit too much here)?Isnt it true that most of the students who venture into these new opportunities are girls and not boys,because taking such a huge "risk" is unacceptable by the boys parents?
To make matters worse, we are not part of a society where going back to study (especially to do your undergraduate education) is socially acceptable due to which one has to choose, irrespective of whether the choice is made by him or his close ones or is just plain guesswork. This is partly because all of us, having seen the fruits of being successful and rich, are too impatient to wait to taste it. The idea of losing a couple of years in the rat-race is catastrophe. What if you have to work under your own friend in case you join late? What if you are not that successful and your mates are rising up the corporate ladder faster than you?I think these are the main questions that influence our decisions today, and I still am not sure whether it is wrong to be asking them. Frankly, why shouldn’t one ask them?
A couple of days back the army came to college to recruit students. It got me thinking. I did a little bit of research on it. With an initial pay of around 5 lakhs(I think it is cash in hand),followed with the free accommodation, transportation etc. a job in the army did sound like an extremely good option(considering my branch’s average salary in college is around 4.5 lakhs.And Im not even mentioning the awesome learning experience,amazing social circle and facilities the army has to offer).But of course, there is a catch. The Short Service Commision requires that one work for a minimum of 5 years before retirement.
5 years! The moment I heard that, I revised my calculations. Assuming I join a private company with a pay package of around 4 lakhs to begin with. Given that I do decently, how far up the ladder would I be in 5 years? Better still, say I work for a couple of years and then do my MBA and enter the industry again. Where would that put me?
In comparision, say I work in the Army for 5 years and then retire and enter the market for the first time. The whole sweet picture begins to crumble. For all the experience that I would have gained in 5 years in the army, would have lost 5 years of exposure to the industry where I want (or rather will) work in for the rest of my life.The quick reward seeking nature of my generation makes this unacceptable to me. (It would be interesting to note here that in this whole discussion, the talk of national pride and stuff doesn’t come in at all)
Chetan Bhagat,in his speech on 30th August,2008 in my college The National Institute of Technology,Calicut(in the event Spitfire 08,conducted by the Literary and Debating Club) mentioned a very astute observation. When one goes to a bunch of kids in Kindergarten and asks, "How many of you draw?" almost everyone raises their hands, irrespective if whether they draw well or not. The point being they are all willing to try. Ask the same question to a bunch of college undergrads. Most will not raise their hands. Doesn’t that mean we are afraid to try?
I don’t exacty know where I am going with this.But this is by far,the most personal post I have written(and I guess the most critical).Hopefully will commence and interesting discussion and be good food for thought.