Lost Children of the Millennium

In the year 2001, the percentage of population under the age of 21 in India was found to be 47.9% (Census of India, 2001). As far as total size of Indian population is concerned, this is a huge number. It also needs to be noticed that this census had come a little over a decade after the Indian economy had opened up to the world market. Globalization brought with itself a resurgence of hope. Money started flowing in. With such a huge number of young population, rapid growth seemed feasible. Terms such as “90s generation” and “The millennium children” were thrust upon the oblivious kids born during that period. Hopes were high, and it was not impractical. After all, a young population means more energy, more enthusiasm, more creativity, and more innovation. Sixteen years later, however, all those high hopes seem to have been lost in obscurity. The “generation next” has, sadly, become the most misguided one.

 

Rupak De Chowdhuri | Reuters || cnbc.com

Back in 2000s, landline phone used to be a prized possession for the few families who were fortunate enough to buy it. Slowly, influx of technology in our life started taking dominance and in about fifteen years it changed the whole society, directly or indirectly. The rise in telecommunication has been unprecedented. As per the records, “the smartphone user base in India crossed 300 million in 2016” (Gadgets 360, 2017). Simultaneously, there has been an overall expansion in the number of people having access to internet as well. Statistics suggests that “the number of mobile internet users in India reached 371 million by June 2016, and is on track to cross 500 million users by 2017.” (Neha Alawadhi, 2016). The number is indeed huge. With such an easy access to smartphones and internet, people have the ability to reach out to the world with the tip of their fingers. As is the case with any technology, smartphones also brought with itself a plethora of problems.
Advancements in internet led to a rise in the number of social-networking sites. What was supposed to be a platform for reaching out to our friends and families took a whole different turn when people, primarily the young population, started getting addicted to it. Development and modifications in mobile sector brought new varieties of apps to keep people engaged. Enhancements were done in cameras, particularly the front camera, leading to the foundation of selfie. Young people suddenly found too much power in their hand. They wanted to let the world know about their day-to-day life. They started craving for more attention. Ironically, the social networking sites which were made to reach out to people, ultimately, made them more distant to the actual physical social ties. Almost every day people can be seen coming to restaurants or coffee houses with the ulterior motive of hanging out with their loved ones, but end up spending time looking at their mobiles screens. The fundamental beauty of communication has somewhere been broken. Situation has reached to a point where the elderly have started struggling to learn these new gadgets, so as to keep up with the fast paced world and find a mode of communication with their children. Even toddlers can be seen fidgeting with their parent’s mobiles; unlocking the phone and playing games. It is disheartening to see that the feel of falling and hurting oneself is fading out among the kids. Playing games in a virtual world would never make one realize the beauty of breathlessness after running around with mortal friends.
Technology has given a voice to almost everyone. Gone are the days when only a selected panel of journalists used to pen their opinion in newspapers and magazines. Nowadays, even people with no knowledge of a particular topic give their piece of mind confidently. For instance, the demonetization step taken by the government of India led some people, having no prior knowledge of economics or finance, to comment: “The Prime-Minister has done a commendable job.” or “The Prime-Minister has taken a faulty step”. The big question here is: Do the people in support or against have any concrete reason or theory to support their claim? Opinions are supposed to be backed by a proper logic, and not pure sentiments. This can be said for almost every single issue happening in our country. Whether it is religious, regionalism, crime, Kashmir, or art and culture, people (mostly youngsters) find a way to outrage without properly researching about it. This vast conundrum of negligence among the masses will most certainly leave the country in utter chaos. Opinionated for the sake of it is never a healthy sign.
The present era can be termed as the era of excess. The movies, the superhero franchises, and the reality T.V shows are just a few examples. Trending has become such a craze among the current generation that they go to the extent of making idiotic videos of themselves. People share these clips among themselves so as to mock the person in the video. However, they are quite naïve to the fact that the person who has made the video is the true winner here. The joke is on the people. Another misplaced sense of proving how one is different from the rest is by voicing against a popular opinion. Take any movie forums, for example, there would always be a section of people who feel elated to comment any widely loved movie as over-rated. Undoubtedly, different opinions should be encouraged but making hollow comments to show superiority is highly demeaning to the craft. Art should be respected and debated, but not blindly bashed.
A popular topic prevailing among the youth is passion. Rags to riches stories of some pioneers in Silicon Valley, movie industries, art and culture, sports, and politics have made a lot of them to fall blindly into the rabbit hole of dreams. Passion and ambition is not wrong. After all these are the traits which give a person reason to fight and survive in this world. At the same time, following something one is not talented enough for can be disastrous. The notion that 9-5 jobs are monotonous and sad is highly misplaced. There are many people who are content, secured and live a happy life doing that job. Corporate job never means that a stopper would be put on the creativity side of people. There are abundant things to learn there as well if one really puts oneself to testing waters.
There is no denying the fact that the youth of today are crippled with innumerable issues. Most of them are forced to choose a particular career. They unknowingly get pushed into the rat race. The level of dependency on parents or someone elder is so high that their legs start shaking when the time comes to take the big, monumental step on their own. They find themselves in the darkness. Indecisiveness has crept in the young society. Technology has certainly made our work easier. Blaming technological advancements alone for the current scenario would be unfair. However, one cannot deny its repercussions. Too much reliance on technology has made people inefficient to put in an extra amount of labour. Almost everyone in the 21-30 age bracket are dissatisfied with their life. All the negative comments are direct result of this mindset. There is jealousy and this has taken the shape of hatred. A brigade is formed which are more interested in selfies than enjoying the true beauty of the world. Knowledge is acquired through internet feeds rather than books and newspaper. Mediocrity is prevalent. The entire situation is worrisome, and sadly, everyone, including you and me, are responsible for it. The young population has the potential. It needs to be tapped before it gets exhausted. And this can only be done when dissatisfaction, jealousy, hatred and mediocrity are replaced with resilience, admiration, deliberation and excellence.

 

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Sources:
Census of India. (2001). Population in different age groups and their proportions to total population. Retrieved from http://censusindia.gov.in/Census_And_You/age_structure_and_marital_status.aspx

 
Gadgets 360°. (2017, January). India’s smartphone user base tops 300 million in Q4 2016. Retrieved from http://gadgets.ndtv.com/mobiles/news/indias-smartphone-user-base-tops-300-million-in-q4-2016-counterpoint-1652209

 
Economic Times. (2016, November). India to have over 500 million mobile internet users by 2017. Retrieved from http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/india-to-have-over-500-million-mobile-internet-users-by-2017/articleshow/55543589.cms
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RUINS OF INDIAN CINEMA FOUNDED BY INDIAN AUDIENCE!

Last week I went for a Hindi movie, Aligarh. The movie is inspired from the life of Dr Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras. He was a Marathi professor in Aligarh Muslim University but was sacked when a video of him having gay-intercourse surfaced.

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Manoj Bajpai plays the character of Prof. Siras and oh! with such elan and class. His dialogue delivery, quite desperation and eyes filled with river of emotions never for a second makes you feel that this is the same guy who had played the malicious, womanizer and revengeful Sardar Khan in Gangs of Wasseypur. And that’s where an actor wins. When an actor is known by his character and not by his name. He is very well supported by another talented actor, Rajkumar Yadav.

So, why does it make an Indian sad?

To say the least, the audience. Here is what the people around me were speaking in between some scenes of the movie:

The beginning scene where Prof. Siras’ house is shown from outside for roughly five minutes.

Comments: Pssst…Yaar kya bore kar raha hai….uff (Geez! why they are boring us with this scene!)

There is a scene where Prof Siras enjoys his whisky alone while listening(at the same time murmuring the lyrics) to Lata Mangeshkar’s song:”Aapki Nazron ne Samjha

Comments: Kya yaar…ab isko gaate hue kyu dikha ra hai? (Why man! Why are they showing him singing the song?)

In one scene Prof Siras says how he hates his emotions being confined to the three letter word,Gay.

Comments: Huh…ok!

These are just a few of the many comments which people were passing throughout the movie. Only they didn’t realise that the house signified the imprisonment of the poor guy from the wicked world, once his privacy was sabotaged in that very house. The song was his elixir which liberated his troubled soul from all the worries of the world even if it would have been for a few seconds. Homosexuality was his sexual orientation and he felt violated when this  was narrowed down to a three letter word.

Oh! I forgot to mention one important detail :

I watched this movie in a multiplex where it is assumed that the audience is sophisticated and capable of reasoning. God, I had so misunderstood!

But people did seem excited at some places. For instance, when a love making scene between a guy and a girl on terrace was cut to homosexual love making scene, people were laughing and enjoying. Because hey, a gay make-out scene is  freakishly funny!

Also, towards the end of the movie, the screen throws a trivia stating that theSupreme Court of India has upheld section 377, thereby criminalizing homosexual activity. To this one “funny” guy told his friend to keep his hands away from him or else they will be jailed. Both started laughing fanatically.

So much for broad-mindedness.

What I find weird here is that this is the same audience who say Indian movies have no standard. These are the same people who loathe Shah Rukh Khan saying he has degraded nowadays. These are the same people who went ecstatic over Leonardo Di Caprio’s maiden Oscar win.

If such treatment is given to a class movie like Aligarh then why should anyone dare to make a strong movie? Why should SRK waste his energy when he knows people just like to see him shake his leg and romancing with girls half his age and not electrifying villages?

We love Leo,right? So proud that he won, aren’t we?But was The Revenant an entertaining movie? No!

The Revenant was a very slow movie with very few dialogues. Same goes with other masterpieces like The Godfather, The Shawshank Redemption, Interstellar,Inception, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Imitation Games, The Theory Of Everything and many more. Aren’t these our favorite movies? So, either we are so downright double -standard people that we fail to recognize the gems of our own country or we are simply those who love the imported products in order to shine our status in public.

Aligarh was a  tragic movie which ends on a sad note but people were hardly moved. A guy next to me said to his friend-“Third-class movie!”.Besides, people were busy making their way out. After all,the exit doors are open for few milliseconds!

End result: A movie so strong in both its story-telling, narration, direction and acting failed to impress anyone…well mostly.

I agree everyone has their own opinion. Forcing everyone to like a particular movie is downright stupidity. But when you hear a collective outburst against such a nice movie, one does feel very sad. Truly speaking,the scenario of Indian movies are never going to change. We won’t let it change.

In the end I would just say that Aligarh was not about preaching about Gay-rights or moral values. It was more about a person living through his troubled times with a glass of whisky and Lata Mangeshkar songs as his only solace.

So if you just want to sit back and laugh at every gay references or have a misplaced sense of “Dostana” expectation from this movie then please don’t watch it or even take trouble of downloading it!


 

BESTOW THOU LOVE…My DEAR SOCIETY!

If someone has lived in India or have been in any way associated with this great nation,they must be well acquainted with “Bollywood“. We are emotionally and obsessively bonded to our colourful cinema industry.It isn’t shocking to see people actually believing in the stories that is potrayed on the 70mm screen,indeed!

embrace

Quite often I wonder the way “love” and “romance” is portrayed in Indian films. The crux of every movie lies in:

Two people coming together..falling in love..their parents objecting..their mission to impress the parents and Bam! the elders get convinced and before you know..the movie has offered you a ‘Happy Ending’!

But does that really happen? How accurate is this magnanimous portrayal of love?

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I can’t help but relate two incidents that happened with two women quite intimate to me:

The First incident is of a girl who is academically very gifted and has quite often made me feel that she stands on the pedestal of ‘women empowerment and independence’. Anyway,she falls in love with a French guy.Such deep-seated their love becomes that they start thinking about marriage.Alas,the love “waves” hit solid rocks when the girl’s parents come to know about this.The parents of the girl were considered by many as post-modern for letting their daughter study and support her through every desires of hers. Hardly did the poor lady know that her desires came with limitations. She was not allowed to love and marry. She tried convincing her parents but to no effect. Somehow “foreigners”  are not to be trusted when it comes to marriage.The melodramas weren’t a surprise. Tears flowed from both the sides. The girl’s father refused to talk stating how she had made her parents’ heads go deep into the ground in front of the ever-judging “society”. Months passed…things did cool down a bit. But the relationship between the girl and her parents soured. The cold-blood between them became inevitable

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Next incident is of this girl who fell for a boy who was not “international” like the former one..but belonged to a different caste which according to our society is an “alien” concept (21st century,Who Cares?!). Now, the most amazing thing about this scenario was her brother-in-law who came to know of this little secret of hers.What followed next was even more disgusting. He blackmailed to break this secret to her parents and virtually end her truly bright career. Sadly, the accusations made on the poor,beautiful girl’s “purity” and “dignity” proved too much.She eventually had to break-up with the guy rendering her heartbroken and traumatized.

cupid_dead_colour

These cases I experienced had a great impact on me.I either directly or indirectly got involved in both of them.Sadly enough no bollywood movie tries and explore this dark side of our society. No,doesn’t even come close to it! Its a bitter reality that we still are living in this modern post-independent world without breaking the shell of our age-old dogmas. We try to inculcate modernism superficially.We brag about women-empowerment by quoting examples of the likes of Kalpana Chawla,Saina Nehwal etc. but deep down we are sexist where a guy goofing around with women is termed “stud” while a girl doing so is easily termed a “s**t“.

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I don’t need to preach about what is right and what not..what should be done and what shouldn’t be…that’s the “spiritual gurus” department! What I really want to say is that I “salute” the enthusiasm of the orthodox society of ours who are carrying the baton of “moral values” and “self-righteous” for others to follow. Kudos to them!   

I hope we keep on mocking the essence of love with the filth of obnoxious and preposterous customs and believes. Afterall when we have “moral guardians” to guide us then emotion and compassion hardly hold any relevance. And as it is, who can carry “love” and “labour” for it when it is already a “lost” battle!

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