An Open Letter to Modiji From an Unemployed Youth

Dear Modi ji,

I know you must be very busy, hardly getting any sleep that you won’t have time to read this letter. You see, unlike you, since I am not gainfully employed, I have all the time in the world to sleep. Sleep helps me forget the painful fact that once you’re re-elected, I might have no future.

Ever since you’ve come to power, you made it increasingly difficult for me to get a job. I wonder what my teachers at Miranda and JNU were doing teaching us Plato, Homer, Bharata Muni, John Osborne and other such heretics. We spent so much time learning about art, history, culture and civilisation only to realise that all we had to do was learn how to fry pakodas or stand with a stick, outside the leaking roofs of our buildings and whistle at intruders.

No wait, let me back up here. You have actually given us a lot of employment avenues.

The choices are so many that I am unable to make a decision. For my pakoda business, I have finalised a menu and you will be happy to know Modi ji, I will be serving mango kulfi and aam panna on the side. It’s just another lure for your bhakts, who have now raised aam to the status of cows in this country. Amongst the many choices available to me, becoming a chaiwala sounds really glamorous.

I cannot wait to boil steaming cups of tea, peppered with some cardamom and adrak (ginger) and give myself a free steam facial in the process. It is only you who can think of such multi-dimensional growth. Your bhakts have been defending your comments, saying ‘look at Teabox, Chaayos and Chai Point.’ They vehemently argue that even big MNC’s like KFC and McDonalds sell pakodas. It fills me with such hope that my future career prospects would include working at KFC and McDonalds. That is the natural career progression we desire, as bhakts point out.

Every parent tells their child to look for a minimum income job. Who wouldn’t want their children to work in low-wage, unstable conditions and open a chai stall? In fact, my parents told me I should sell chai for free because it is such a noble deed that I might not even have to wash my sins in the Ganges.

At my school, every year on Independence Day, they taught us a pledge. It was something like this: ‘All Indians are my brothers and sisters.’ Growing up in the confines of that beautiful, secular school, arms raised to the skies, we recited it each year and believed in the words. And then we grew up into a country where you assumed power and the pledge got modified into something like: ‘All Indians of my caste, religion, creed, socioeconomic strata are my brothers and sisters. The rest are my mortal enemies.’

Especially the ones who teach us 300 Ramayanas. Don’t they know that there is only space for one Rama in this country, the one that has been built by your imagination? There is no place for Sita. So, yes, I agree I learnt the wrong things in college.

I could eschew the appreciation of art and culture, when all I had to learn was how to fry batter in hot oil and what variations of vegetables to fry as pakodas. In your esteemed years as prime minister, you have brought out so many recruitment processes for assistant professors in my field. All the 6,000 vacancies have been duly filled up, right? Who are these disruptors saying there are no jobs? Don’t we have guest jobs where we get paid pennies for a hard month’s work in a city that belches smoke (yes, I mean Delhi)? On the side, we are also learning survivalist strategies, like how not to get asthma and die. Isn’t that what we wanted? And I can definitely sell pakodas on the side and work as a chowkidar at night because now the streets are so safe for women!

Tonight, I will also sleep for only three hours as I have to wake up early to prep the batter for my pakoda business. I’ll serve them steaming hot, crisp pakodas with green chillies and mangoes on the side, wrapped duly in the pages of my thesis, because what else would I do with that anyway.


Isha Singh
Educated and Unemployed

In the words of Stella Gibbons, Isha Singh, the author, has learnt every art and grace save that of earning her own living.
Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty