This generation, the one now in their twenties, is probably the most conflicted generation so far. If you are one of them, tell me, don’t you agree? Is there not a constant battle between being subversive but keeping traditions intact? Is this an age of conflict?
For example, I claim to be a feminist. But much to my dismay I find it hard to practice every day. The comfort I find in this self-proclamation does not equate with the discomfort life puts me in every day. I remember when I was pursuing my undergrad degree, we had a class of 12 in Gender Studies. And there was this one thing that all of us had in common: frustration.
This frustration, as I understand it, stems from the way we were raised, because most of us were raised the conventional way. But we are also the age that was the first one to be exposed to various things earlier than usually anticipated. We started thinking for ourselves sooner than our parents fathomed. But our upbringing still is like that bone stuck in the oesophagus—harmless, but not really.
Without tapping on our conscience, the rebel inside us is fighting with our obedient self. These days the trend of what’s cool and uncool changes faster than the blink of an eye. There are a series of hashtags we do not muster the courage to use, like the one started by Alyssa Milano. And subsequently, the ones we do use end up being dated before we even know it. But our conflicts are not limited to social media presence and trends. They further branch out as a tumult to work towards creating jobs but struggling to combat our own professional insecurities and instabilities.
And the problem with such contention is that it does not fall under any predefined categories. Or maybe it does, but we don’t know because we haven’t heard of anything of this kind. For example, our feud is not so much as convincing parents to accept the man/woman we love, but it is convincing ourselves that do we really want to marry that person. Truth be told, it feels like our life is a pendulum, oscillating between passion and stability; comfort and practicality.
Now, I am not suggesting all of us go through this. Maybe some of you do, and some of you don’t. But for most of us, acknowledging that we might experience something so disharmonious is the real issue.
And it is not surprising that each of these issues—as we have so many dreams—are very distinctive in nature. Funnily enough, we do not have to make a deal with the devil because we are bargaining with ourselves at every step.
Want me to illustrate some of our “benign” conflicts?
Well, the conflict is, whether to watch a movie to save time or to the read the book it is adapted from. Whether to pay 5 rupees to a child meandering over our heads near street food stalls or feed him or her instead. That tussle is to choose between one’s want to leave the country to study abroad in a better course and to not burden one’s parents with innumerable loans.
Frankly, we do want to be carefree. But we have seen people struggling, probing the ache to act responsibly. Ours is a generation that is brazen, but not enough. The moral policing that we publicly disdain is the one we employ in front of the mirror, inside our heads, our bedrooms and hotel suites. We are the ones who cheer for OYO’s Couple Friendly Rooms but cannot help but stare at the couple holding hands in the metro.
We are so much, yet nothing.
It saddens the majority of us, that we have not given this world our messiah yet, the business tycoon we are supposed to create is probably in an incubation centre right now, filling up piles of paperwork to realise his or her dream.
Is it our fault, or just a phase that every generation ever went through? I don’t really know. What I do know, is that we are the ones who have not yet been desensitised towards persistent problems. The ones who have seen humanity lose itself and burn people, places, and memories at a very young age. The ones who want to take control of our future to make the future of an entire generation better. We are the ones trying to stop that one child from jumping off their terrace. The ones who know that the Instagram picture of last night’s food does not make that evening memorable. We know the difference between texting “Will be there” and actually being there.
Yes, we are flawed, inexcusably confused but we are trying hard to find our identity without selling a piece of us every time we dare to make a decision that is not in alignment with the world.
But, we are. And that is all we have for now.
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