Saturday, December 31, 2011

Status Update

Sharing a year-ender piece I wrote for the Deccan Chronicle/ Asian Age, on the request of a friend.

Status Update
What 2011 meant for the young and the facebooked.

by Rashmi Bansal

If I had to pick out one person, place or event of the year, the one which truly defines what it means to be young today, it has to be this scene between Katrina and Hrithik in ZNMD (Zindagi na Milegi Dobara).

Hrithik has just experienced deep-sea diving for the very first time, and his eyes shine with a new and different light. He understands the philosophy of the scuba chick, the idea of living in this moment.

The only moment you truly have.

It’s a philosophy which pretty much sums up the mood of a generation. And this mood is reflected in the just about everything you do with your life.

In fact, the idea of reflecting back on an entire year of events is, in itself, pretty redundant. For an event is an ‘event’ for all of 48 hours. A song can be a rage for, perhaps, two weeks.

The world according to Mark Zuckerberg is defined by your status update. And who the hell remembers yesterday’s update?

Nevertheless, here is my pick of events of the year 2011, which made a difference to the lives of the young and the facebooked.

The 'India Against Corruption’ crusade in August this year, which galvanized young people across the country like never before. They skipped work and bunked college, to join the protests on the ground. To carry candles and placards in support of the movement.

All that appears to be a distant dream now, almost a part of history. The conversation in the canteen is back to cricket, Bollywood and girls.

Speaking of cricket, India’s win over Sri Lanka in World Cup cricket was possibly the proudest moment of the year for any citizen of India. But, even more so for the youth, who have absolutely no recollection of the 1983 World Cup victory.

The trouble is the performance of team India since that victory. Young India still loves Dhoni but would rather spend its time watching F1 and Man United.

F1 bole toh 2011 was also the year that India ‘arrived’, with the Buddha International Circuit hosting its inaugural race in Greater Noida. I don’t know how many made it to the actual event but it was thrilling to know that the Gods of racing were descending on our soil.

Love us, hate us, but you can’t ignore us. We’re the largest youth population in the world, the market of the future for every brand.

The idea of the ‘brand’ is, in itself, changing. A brand is no longer a fast-moving consumer good or service, each individual is a brand. It no longer matters whether you are ‘good’ or ‘bad’, what matters is that you stand for something.

Salman’s Character dheela hai became one of the ‘it’ songs of the year, because it rang so true about the actor. It’s all about ‘being human’, after all.

With humanity also comes tragedy. 22 year old Malini Murmu, a first year student at IIM Bangalore, committed suicide in September this year, after being humiliated on Facebook. Her boyfriend’s status update read: “Feeling super cool today. Dumped my new ex-girlfriend. Happy independence day.”

The peril of living your life 24 X 7 online – under the scrutiny of peers - is vividly reflected. One instance when being ‘in the moment’ was not advised.

But then youth is all about extremes – of passion, of depression, of ascension. That has always been, and will always remain.

To pick out any more ‘events’ of 2011 which defined or changed youth is kind of irrelevant. It’s everyday events which don’t make it to newspapers and television channels which matter to an 18 year old.

The first flush of love.
The cruelty of an exam.
An ipod received on a birthday.

Yes, Steve Jobs died but life must go on.

The future is ours and what we make of it.

Disqus for Youth Curry - Insight on Indian Youth