I am not a miserable cynic. Well maybe a cynic, but most definitely not miserable. Okay fine, miserable at times but that’s a story for another day. With life’s biggest questions and decisions looming, you’d think rubbing shoulders with people my age in Mumbai would lead to moral epiphanies and a possible teleportation into the world of family values and lifelong blood ties. Not quite.
Eighteen years in Mauritius, an island often referred to as “heaven on Earth” by Mark Twain – a four-year stint in Boston as a student and now half-a-year later in the city of chaos itself, Mumbai, let us just say that the apocalyptic notion of being on a path of moral damnation of my generation crosses my mind more than just once. With most hurling noncommittal grunts around their homes, to others acting like they’re out on a special day release programme from the coma ward when at work, the upheaval of what we shall call, for the sake of this highly cynical article, the Rich 2G is plain to see.
It really is no laughing matter – well it could be if we included flinty reprobates with a filthy mind and off-colour jokes about the rise of the second generation of nouveaux riches – but we shall steer away from that. An F-bomb dropped, triggering a testosterone-filled chorus of approval. Or better yet, a Ch-bomb – depending on whether their preferred language in that moment of expletive rage is Hindi or English. Sometimes, they use a combination of profanities so vile in front of their parents, they make Miley Cyrus’s twerking and lyrics seem like Bharatanatyam and carnatic music. The average sentence spoken by a Rich 2G twentysomething today is 80% profanity, 10% sexism, 10% inanity and 100% pure and utter vulgar filth. Add to that a bottomless trust fund and we have ourselves a huge chunky of Generation Y that leaves the rest of us with our heads hung in shame. While I am not exactly sitting on my high horse here, pretending like the world of expletives is one that I do not brush up against, the highlight is on the degenerating family dynamics that are now out in the open.
In China, members of the Rich 2G, referred to as Fu Er Dai – second generation wealthy – are often criticised for their extravagant lifestyles and their lack of respect towards family ties and are even held as an example of the country’s moral decay. If we had to go by that, we’d say Mumbai seems to have its own version of the Fu Er Dai. Young, wild and rich – by rich, we mean gold-dust-farting rich, carrying Céline bags (because Hermès is so passé!) as their not-so-rich peers squeeze into the train or save each penny to buy an average car – all while avoiding any eye contact with their genetic origin.
The corrosive reason behind this rant is self-explanatory: having lived away from family for a large part of my not-so-long life, their importance only seems to rise in my eyes. Here, however, you’d think they’d need a manners and life guide where they can be explained the meaning of family. While research suggests that the Generation Y will be more attentive as parents and will put their kids ahead of their careers, what research fails to highlight is the millenials have given birth to a whole new generation of family values.
Sitting at the dinner table for a meal together, not having to resolve to whatsapp to converse with a parent, and avoiding those fake ‘I love my family’ Facebook statuses would possibly be a good start. In a world where people need a hashtag challenge to express their happiness – we are, of course, referring to the ridiculous #100HappyDays challenge—and where emotions come across through yellow smiley faces leering at us in sentences behind a phone screen, what we’d like to see trending this year is a shift in millenials’ attitude towards their family.
Writer, Special Features, dna