Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The middle children of India.

If you were born and brought up in the 90's this post is a direct reference to the lives we live. The past 2 odd decades have made India witness some of the most ecstatic of all transformations. While the world took 3 and a half decades to move from 1G mobile telephony to 4G, we took a mere 18 years. And the same has been applicable on almost all fronts. But beyond the bustling parapet of success and evolution, lies the core element that is not very established, to say the least. There's no denying we are way better than many of our ancestors and we should just pause for a moment and even pat ourselves on the back. But basis my own reflections on my life, and basis serious conversations and heartfelt banters with friends, I've realized that all in all, something is always amiss. If you've ever felt that way, read on and maybe you can relate. If not, than this will just come across as the rudimentary rambling of a maudlin man. 

We're the middle children of India. Our grandparents witnessed the struggle for independence and lived in severe frugalty, our parents, bound by pressures of succeeding, were honed and chiseled by the challenges of their times. Our future progeny are promised the most copacetic of lives. But we, the middle children, are lost somewhere in between these extremes. 



We bequeathed from our parents a long legacy of pride in taking the small steps towards success. Our parents were never boisterous for they succeeded one step at a time, with no premonition whatsoever. Born out in astute families, they drove lives on optimization. So they'll often tell stories of getting the maximum out of the minimum. We, on the other hand, have things aplenty. From the economy of shortages in 80's where even the rich couldn't attain all possessions, to today where even a pauper gets a car without a collateral. On paper, the lives have improved. But in reality, we missed a big facet in there. 

We're exposed to enormous amounts of availability. We're born in a generation where we adulate the riches and have plenty of role models that way. We follow trends and we blatantly follow suit. We allow heroes to be born overnight and have an inexorable appetite for more stars to cherish. We put France's flag on our Facebook display picture without even knowing why everyone else did that. We start taking selfies and have produced the maximum number of casualties while doing so. We have superstars whose movies lack any possible purpose, and on the other hand stars who even indulge in real life social service are neglected. We pursue courses not because we want to, but because someone else did that and set the vogue. And we even tend to suddenly fall in love because everyone is doing that so we ought to as well. The common denominator among these is our lack of decision making abilities, and our monstrous proclivity to let someone else shape our future! 

Preceded by folks who just embraced a free nation and who were entrusted with carving a new India out of the ashes of a forlorn and torn apart British colony, it's debatable whether they did the right things or not. Other economies which were set free along with ours soared and rocked while we're moving at snail's pace. However, the last few generations at least took charge and did stuff. We on the other hand, are just taking cue from the world.

We don't set trends, we seek them. We don't make decisions, we make situations take decisions for us. We're too afraid, we're too petrified to try something new, unless of course we follow a trend on that as well. We don't make bold moves, unless a path tread by someone else is proved right. We're seldom trailblazers, and those of us who become so, become icons and superstars beyond any match. We've become a society that has only a few limited types of heroes who are followed blindly, while the real heroes who wither under the hegemony of neglect and weak bulwarks, are often scoffed at for being lunatics. 

We've never assumed charge of what we want the nation to become. We've become a replica of what all of us individually are. During the freedom struggle, India for the first time saw its best factions. There were moderates and extremists. There were those same old chauvinists who kept women out and then there were suffragists. Those factions were welcome because we as a nation started taking stands after a lot of time. But the last time we took a stand was when our fathers left the cozy confines of their homes and took charge of their destiny. We, on the other hand, simply did what our fathers passed on to us. 

People became IAS officers, and suddenly that became the buzz of the town. Certain other professions like medicine, engineering and management took apex positions. Certain well celebrated professions like law lost the glamour. And noble professions like art lost a large cohort of followers. The first trends were set and you found a barrage of people aiming for the same piece of the pie, and a larger pie having no claimants. Latest of the trends is the IT and service sector. Everyone wants to purse a degree that lands them in this sector. No one wants to go into manufacturing. And surprisingly, no one realizes that one day we may not be manufacturing at all, but would just be servicing manufacturers from all over the world. 

We've lost all ground and we've become followers of the leaders of the world. We managed to secure a place for ourselves alright, but it's not at par with our competitors. It's not about the intensity with which other economies expand and countries prosper. It's about the identity crisis we find ourselves in. We're constantly limiting our vision and on the other hand we get swayed by what's in front of us. We've just become followers of trends, political momentum, thought change, professions, entertainment, and what not. Neither we as a nation create much original stuff and thinking on our own, nor do we allow many things to dictate us. We're happy with whatever our role models throw at us, but we don't encourage neophytes who show promise. So they, through struggle either become new heroes, or they perish under the double whammy. We're too afraid to try, because we're comfortable and content with the constricted reality we endure, we're too naive to let new ideas flourish, because of our shortsighted envisaging abilities. We're India's middle children, too privileged to have a direction and a future, and too unfortunate to ensure we set that direction and future right!