It's a generation of hoppers

It's a generation of hoppers

Yes, we live in an age of plenty. Works for you? Stay put. Does not workfor you? Move on. These days, life, like any gadget, seeks to be updated on a timely basis, quips Deepa Ballal.

“The secret behind our togetherness? In our days, if something broke, we fixed it. We never flung it,” goes the caption in bold letters below a huge picture of an octogenarian couple holding hands. Welcome to the tiff between generation X and generation Y.

The former that strongly believes in fixing, repairing, nurturing, enhancing, enriching and the latter just hops from one to the next. Be it jobs or relationships, fluttering like a butterfly, their life is a perennial search for the quintessential magical nectar. Yes, we do live in an age of plenty. Life, like any gadget, seeks to be updated on a timely basis. We are living in times where friends (ex-flames) connect (or stalk ) on Facebook, discuss private lives on Twitter and use Whatsapp as a tool to bully classmates. Everything we aspire for is just a click away.

 We are materialistic, narcissistic, confident, loud, impatient, super-smart and some say beaming with excessive positivity with a goal to be rich one day. Palash Mehrotra in his book Butter Generation says that the generation today possess a certain “lightness of being”— an assuredness that allows them to move with ease between identities and languages, between tradition and modernity. They venture untrodden paths, once dreaded by their forefathers.

“These days when I am not able to answer a question my six year old asks, I Google it,” says an amused Kripa. Gone are the days when children looked upto parents as “knowledge banks”.

As a teacher, Anupama resonates with this phenomenon so very obvious in her class. “No doubt kids are smart, they somehow rate the teacher to be at par with them. Being respectful doesn’t seem to be in their dictionary,” she laughs. She feels honesty too has been flung out of the window. “They are such good story tellers that it takes a sharp ear and cross questioning to bring out the truth. In a way outwardly they answer confidently, but a little probing reveals that all that they know is superficial. Their disposition confuses many teachers,” she reveals.

Shalini attributes this to globalisation that has made the present generation so self-assured. “They do not hesitate to question elders,” she quips. Though she is not fully in favour of giving a free rein to her young daughter, she acknowledges it is a walk on the tightrope. “It is very difficult to go against the pervasive social flow. We have to restrain and encourage as per the situation,” she says.

Call it the growing culture of impatience or the age of instant gratification, the Gen Y has grown up practically not having to wait for anything. There is burgeoning research to show that people have no patience to wait. Ramesh Sitaraman, a computer science professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst, examined the viewing habits of 6.7 million internet users. His research raised more questions than before. How long were subjects willing to be patient? Two seconds.

Growth at work place too becomes paramount. HR professionals hiring youth in many MNCs are busy tackling issues concerning employee boredom at workplaces. The trick is to keep these young employees on their toes, give them new challenges, say HR professionals. That could mean anything from changing job profiles frequently to offering sabbaticals to study further. Just anything to make the work place aspirational.

Some call this a generation of happy bohemians who settle for easy generalisations. Some call these souls vacuous in their choices. But without batting an eyelid, one can for sure say that this is the generation whose potential can be used to drive away disparity, inequality, and corruption which continues to plague the country. Half of India’s population is under the age of 25 and by 2020 the average Indian will be only 29 years old. With a sizeable portion of young people residing on this landmass, they hold the reins of running our country and shaping its future.

Parents, teachers, and the elderly fear that the day this bubble bursts, there would be consequences. While another section of the population believes that this new-age enthusiasm and energy can be channelised for a better tomorrow. Needless to say, this generation, with all its positive potential, needs to learn to strike a balance.

The post-liberalisation generation has had it easy. Way too easy, in fact. While it must be acknowledged that we are braver than our ancestors, our bravery comes with the risk of being foolhardy. While great things can be expected of us, we need to learn when to step back, we need to learn when to slow down. We need to learn the fine line between being bold and being aggressive, between being positive and being optimistic to the point of foolishness, between being excited and being impatient.

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