Charge of the youth brigade

SUPPORTING SPUNK

Charge of the youth brigade

A privileged upbringing is a blessing, not a stumbling block to success. Take a sharp look at today’s parents. They leave no stone unturned to give their children every opportunity to achieve in their chosen fields — not only in traditional careers like medicine, engineering, IT  or finance, but also in every imaginable field like sports, photography, acting, modelling, dancing or art.

Gone are the days when meagre finances and a strict parenting code prompted Indian parents to say ‘no’ when their children asked for expensive goodies. Now, even though parents  grumble about the relentless demands of their children, the grumbling is good-natured and most agree that giving in to legitimate luxuries does not create ‘irresponsible, spoilt brats’.

‘Anything for you, my dear’

“We lived in Dubai for years and enjoyed a good standard of life,” says G Iyer, a chartered accountant, “but when I saw my daughter had set her heart on tennis, we relocated to Chennai and gave her the best training available. We are now waiting for her to enter state-level events and fulfil her ambition as a professional tennis player. We are not alone. Parents of sportspersons like Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have given their children every opportunity to excel in their chosen sport.

Such players are youth icons today. Their achievements have encouraged other parents to follow suit and give their gifted kids every chance to excel. Giving them expensive phones, computers and other gadgets is no longer frowned upon. Such gizmos are necessities today. The money spent on these things is no longer considered a waste but an investment.”

According to youth counsellor Ambica Chawla, the post economic-liberation generation of young tycoons is taking over board rooms. “India will soon be ruled by the brat pack which has new ideals and new ways to fulfil its dreams,” she adds.

Ronicka Kandhari, a young photographer from Delhi, says, “I love photography. My parents encouraged me and gave me all the expensive equipment I needed. I now specialise in creating creative wedding albums and I get paid hugely for my work. Had my parents not fuelled my dream, I would have ended up very unhappy and frustrated in a 9-to-5 job.”

The tide has turned across India – in metro cities, in towns and even in villages. Parenting is undergoing a huge change.

“My son Pirojsha wanted to be a politician,” says Adi Godrej, “but he has currently decided to keep that desire on hold and will join our business. After all, this is a big responsibility. Today, young industrialists want to be ‘employees’ and not ‘bosses by birth’ which is the best way to learn the ropes of business.”

This is so with most business families. The name Birla is synonymous with wealth in India. Kumaramangalam Birla and his wife Neerja are training their children Ananyashree, Aryaman Vikram and Advaitesha to join them in their philanthropic work at Muktangan School and Make A Wish Foundation.

Yash Birla and wife Avanti are another example. They are avid art collectors and encourage their children Sholka, Nirvana and Vedanta to be multi-faceted individuals and focused achievers.

Every business family – old or new – is now focusing on their youngsters to take the businesses forward with confidence and dedication. Devita Saraf of Zenith Computers; Vivek Biyani of the Biyani Group; Lakshmi Venu, daughter of Venu Srinivasan, chairman and MD of TVS Motors; Roshni Nadar; Akshata and Rohan Murthy; Aditya Burman; Navroze Godrej; Rishad Premji; and Vikram Baidyanath are the proverbial ‘Young Turks’ of India’s industries.

Most of them say that business building methods and the environment of industry have changed drastically, and young, well-trained leaders understand inclusive growth better.
Most of these scions of business families have been trained in the world’s best management schools like Harvard and Yale  after being closely associated with Indian industries. They have experienced the international business climate and are determined to carve a place of honour for India among the world’s rich and progressive nations.

Let’s hear it for Youngistaan

Even Bollywood is seeing the charge of the youth brigade. Most of the young stars are professional, punctual and manage their careers with panache.

Ranbir Kapoor, for instance, was recently stuck in traffic and had no compunction about jumping into an autorickshaw to report for work on time. For young stars like Sonakshi Sinha and Sonam Kapoor,  as well as directors Farhan Akhtar, Rajkumar Hirani and Siddharth Anand, a professional work culture is the rule, not the exception.

Young achievers in the sports arena have made India proud. Cricketers like Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan hail from middle class families and have built their careers and fortunes by playing dedicated cricket, backed by their supportive parents. They have shown that they can manage not only their careers but also their money in an admirable way. They are style icons too.

Dhoni says, “We are a young nation. Our parents give us every opportunity to excel. It has helped us greatly that today we have inspiring icons to follow. Every child in India – whatever economic strata he/she belongs to – has a dream and parents do their best to give their kids the chance to realise that dream. We are a society on the move and the young are spurring the change at an admirable pace.”

Badminton ace Saina Nehwal has scripted sports history. Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang have proved that young India is unstoppable.

Today, hard work results in a better lifestyle, wealth, fame and recognition. Every struggle has a better chance of success. Indian youth have got their icons now.  On their part, parents do their best to encourage their children and spend their earnings to give their offspring a better start in life. Many parents become managers of their children’s careers. Many relocate for a better education for their children. Mothers give up their careers to train their promising kids. “We live in an age when being focused and achievement-oriented pays rich dividends,” says Sunanda Rawal, mother of a young footballer, “Like me, most parents work hard to propel their children onto the path of super achievement,” she adds.

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