The typical urban Indian teen of today is equipped with all the essentials that ensure a smooth ride through the adolescent years as never before. He is empowered with education, dressed according to the latest trends, has a backpack full of state-of-the-art gadgets and speaks the jargon of his cult.
As a person belonging to that group, I can boldly say that this kind of privilege gives him/her profound confidence and an enviable comfort in his/her own skin (not to mention a very pronounced swagger).
But a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly noticeable is that this has also bred a proportional conceit and snobbery. They feel completely justified in shooting down everyone who seems to stand in the way of attaining their ends. For instance, it is the hip teen who shoulders you aside in the crowd outside the theatre, who hogs the public phone or snubs someone within hearing range in public. And to crown it all, he not only thinks this ‘cool', but also considers this a birth right of his generation.
This can only be attributed to a marked inability to distinguish between pride and obscene vanity. Teens, for the most part, seem to live in the heady rush of the present, indifferent to theniceties of life. They don an attire of arrogance and selfishness, masquerading as the ‘in-things'. Though this is a guaranteed hit strategy that ensures popularity in the environs of high school and college, it isn't surprising to see them shell-shocked in later life when they realise their attitude isn't universally tolerated.
True sophistication and refinement are witnessed in the seemingly trivial compromises and the give-and-takes of everyday life. Pride in who we are is vital but it is imperative to temper it with consideration for those with whom we coexist. If not, we only devolve into a lesser life form. As a teen who strives to break out of this mould myself, I think it is high time we reform now, before we cross the point of no return.
So the next time you travel by public transport, give up your seat for that frail lady being chivvied by the crowd or offer to buy a ticket for that harassed person behind you in the queue or the next time you decide to raise your voice in public, pay a compliment. The smile you'll receive in return will set your heart soaring, like the thing that's all the rage could never do.
THARINI SRIDHARAN, IVth year, B.E. Electronics and Communication, Sri Sairam Engineeering College.