This is the age of technology. This is the age of progress. This is the age of future. This is also the age of unemployment. This is also the age of burnt out and disgruntled youth. This is also the age of suffering, both mental and physical. All of these are the truths of our generation.
The world is completely stupefied in how to handle the problem of the working population and the ‘job’. There are sections of the world where people find little or no choices in what they do to earn. The opportunities available to them are not even enough to fill the stomachs of all those who depend on them. And the cost of such jobs is too high on the people’s minds. Some are forced to sell whatever dignity they barely held on to for so long while others lose sight of their own identity, theirs minds too repulsed by their present to even risk recalling the past.
Then there are those who have way too many opportunities. Not everyone knows what he/she is meant to do on this planet and though there are some who, with a bit of luck, find the most suited work, there are many who live and die in unfulfilled lives. Not all are self-aware enough or talented enough to be able to make the right choice. And in the times when education has become a common man’s polio, the need of getting things right in the first time is even higher.
And, when we move across the Pacific from our current site of observation to the south-east Asia – I am getting to India, of course – I find the people stuck in a strange mix of the two scenarios. Since childhood, the youth is being told – or at least, it is made clear in other ways that are equally strong – that social status matters. That the opinion of the people around you, for some reason, is worth just as much as your personal satisfaction. And so, when the time comes for this youth to make a choice of their future occupation, there is only a handful of choices that really matter. In words deceptively casual, in the change in mannerisms around other people and in countless other ways, it is made clear that only certain choices would be acceptable.
There are some (in comparison to the entire population) who choose a different route. But even they don’t succeed in silencing the looks. They are fortunate to have enough strength to ignore them. But the truth of the generation is not many are strong enough. The fear of failing in making a new way weighs heavily on the mind of those who fight against the idle jabs of overwhelmed. Everyone has a weak point and when everyone seems to be taking a shot, someone’s bound to hit a nerve. Because we are all perverted enough to be willing to inflict misery.
But what I preach in Indian context isn’t really one bound by the lines we draw on pieces of paper. It’s in every culture, for the ‘status’ is a thing everyone lusts after. People influence the choices of the younger generation, whether it be under the guise of ‘safe’, ‘respectable’ or something else or in outright statements. The people are bound by the choices in the dreams of a better future. We just don’t realize that the global dream of having a good time is already shattered. There’s no waking from this nightmare. It has already become our waking reality. And the way we are right now, we are destined, it seems, for us to guide the young ones similarly.