So I have been living in Mumbai for two years now and I have lived with crazy-psychotic drug-addicts, night-owls, party-queens, hardworking A+graders and of course, the normal responsible kinds.The funny thing is, now I feel old when I am surrounded by people who are 19.
In my mid twenties now, I am happy that I cleared my school and B.Tech before crazy words like Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Retrica and CandyCamera were invented. While I was growing up, all I yearned for was a stable Vodafone connection in the most ordinary Nokia handset. After all, it brought me that scheme of 500 sms messages per day which would more than sufficiently cater to my communication needs. And then came whatsapp. I still vouch for this application positively because I genuinely believe it has made life easier. At least it is not like Instagram and Snapchat which have seemed to become the new-age amusement oxygen these days. Today’s teenagers find it extremely important to show the ‘virtual’ world what they are wearing (OOTD – Outfit Of The Day), where they are going, what music they are listening to, how cool they are with that glass of wine and how pretty that new girl looks while posing in that guy’s arms. Following their favourite celebrities’ work out schedule on twitter appeals to them more than exercising themselves. Literally, anything and everything except their poop (eeeewwwwww!) can be seen on their instagram and snapchat stories.
Youngsters these days don’t go to places with the idea of exploring or discovering the ambience. Making more friends has gradually taken a back seat to artificially praising a person’s good looks and fashion sense.
Scenario these days is – ‘Hey, what a lovely dress you’re wearing!!’ followed by 50 pictures, filtering them out and then uploading on all social networks possible.
Wonder what happened to ‘Recognising the inner glow and beauty of the soul.’
The definition of looking good today, is explained in 100+ likes and infinite hearts on that picture. Someone please tell that over enthusiastic fashionista engrossed in pouting perfectly for a picture in the club, that if she gets a life and grooves to the music a little, a more genuine and handsome guy (who probably has been noticing her all this while) might gather himself and walk up to her for a dance. But in all likeliness, that handsome guy also may be preoccupied snapping himself while trying to pose with tequila shots. Irony is the word here folks. But I’d prefer to call this reality.
With all of you wondering what gives me the license to preach on this subject so much, let me talk about a supposed close knit time that I spent with one such teenager, who I will refer to as the ‘kiddo’ in the loves that follow. You will get the drift as we move along.
While making my ends meet and traversing through the wonderful two years that I spent in Mumbai so far, this Kiddo was my roommate for the most part. She was 19 and in many ways, just like the typical 19 year old student of a well known university. She was probably engulfed by the need to look chic and happening in an over-so-fast friends circle. She would often spend hours and hours trying out the fit into dresses that were not meant for her age, she would put in a lot of thought into trying to look sloshed in that photograph of hers while mostly, she would fill up the wine glass with nothing but fruit juice before captioning it as ‘Red Wine’ for the world to see. Empty beer and vodka bottles that I would keenly collect as a part of my glass-painting ventures (that’s right..I am a damn good artist!!) often featured playing cameos in her ‘overly drunk’ captioned Instagram and Snapchat stories.
What would baffle me was that I would generally not know how to react to all this nonsense going on around me. I would debate the idea of laughing at her or shout and try to put some sense into her (being the more mature one here). Why would a girl in her good senses romanticise the antiques of wearing shorts, not because she felt comfortable in them, but because revealing skin would draw physical attention?? This was clearly beyond my understanding.
More often than not, such immaturity and shallowness tends to have an impact on the psychological and academic aspects of a teenager. Needless to say, a mind so hollow and distracted started to show in the Kiddo’s grades and unfortunately, she ended up getting detained in college. After all, changing five ‘boyfriends’ within the span of a year and modelling oneself as the most ‘falsely’ appealing girl can’t really get you over the line in a race, can it?!
The most amazing (and sometimes also the worst) part about having fake friends is that we often recognize that very late in life. By the time we understand how to differentiate the friends from the good friends and good friends from our best buddies, we tend to learn some very serious lessons and shed valuable tears. No matter how much a ‘friend’ stands by us and supports us during our nonsensical and stupid behavioral phase, when it comes to harsh realities like education, character and reputation, nobody waits for us. All those likes and hearts on Facebook statuses and Instagram selfies don’t come to help us clear our backlogs. Yes, our parents do. No matter what we do or where we are, our family holds us strong by its pillar.
Yes, a book named ‘How Not to Spend Your Teenage Years’ may never be published because there is no science involved in that. That is where parents play the most crucial part in nurturing the lives of their kids. Sending the daughter/son away to study in a super fast and multi-faced environment like Mumbai, especially knowing that the girl/boy is so vulnerable to things happening around her/him is not the best decision, for one. Gifting them gadgets and believing all their lies- not so good parenting after all. Parents are still the biggest influence and inspiration to a child and parents definitely need to hold the ropes tight at times.
So where will this Selfie-nation get a little realistic and to what extent can people go for their social reputation?? I will leave you with that thought tonight.
Ps. One of my good friends would probably end up writing ‘How not to raise your child’ if time permits her.
Hugs and Love.