OK Boomer, Thanks For Coming to My Fed (Up) Talk

Tonight, I’m the dinner table reincarnation of ‘all this generation cares about is themselves’.
In the next fifteen minutes,
my relatives will reiterate
why an obsession with sex, drugs, depression and IG is the sole reason
why on most days
I fail to gather enough resilience to get out of bed,
my senior swallows almost enough stress to contemplate a suicide note on the back of her 800-page reading,
my best friend loses her appetite every time we makes plans for lunch.

But on this dinner table,
we clamp our foreheads to a thesaurus,
served in a dictionary,
a synonym for a struggle,
we have mehnat for main course,
and majboori for appetisers,
followed by a sweet anecdote on
how my uncle fed his four sons with a single loaf of bread and zero anxiety of influence,
turning the encyclopedia into a self help manual,
every time the sound of his bad parenting and broken manhood cried out too loud,
he reprimanded his son’s TikToks
with a mouthful of alcohol.

This dinner table,
now a euphemism for the young cousins that have learnt to save dessert for until after,
wherein our tongues are prepared to taste berozgaari like piping hot tea,
we replace the crumbling hot croissants with Parle G,
which is to say
we cooperate,
which is to say
we call it quits on every decision,
not fearing the cavities but
the decay from a looming recession.

This dinner table,
is also an apology to my first poem,
wherein I promised to change the world
only as long as I pointed fingers
at someone, something, everyone
to earn snaps in return,
as long as I pressed fingers
expecting an EVM, a clit or a conscience to beep in return,
as long as I extended these fingers to the skies and caught on to cloud crumbs in return,
crumbs of activism,
that was never woke enough to not let me sleep through the night,
but enough theory to pass,
a pen in hand,
a finger on the spot,
and a cloud in my mouth,
waiting to spill ink on white collars,
that crush humanity,
one tweet at a time,
that make the red flags look rosy,
one temple at a time.

This dinner table,
a palatable metaphor for the failure of a generation,
that took turns in turning our share of the skies into a concentration camp,
dismissing dissent on the streets holding hands every Friday as a public display of attention,
raising a glass to guns in campuses and canteens to counter catcalls of violence,
conveniently wearing pink on Wednesdays where the only thing mean about this place is the fee hike,
because unlike my crammed education,
I was breastfed my politics right in the womb,
and this one time I asked for a ‘daddy’,
they give it to me,
six years later I still don’t know what my safe words are or
where the exits to the red room of pain are.

This dinner table,
built by you,
a bait for us,
buying reckless bits of time off a future,
that still lays out its cutlery every night with the same mouthful of entitlement,
clinking, clamping down on any vessel or a voice of dissent,
just the same,
when it comes from a generation,
that you have only prepared for graduation,
other than that I know mitochondria is the powerhouse of a cell,
Listen can you tell that I don’t know how to file taxes or read a bank statement,
but I can confidently argue that Brexit will reduce the UK’s real per capita income levels in a model UN.
The very generation,
you could only afford to give the
last letter of the alphabet to,
last bit of the oxygen bonds from the breathing tanks,
last word in the conference rooms lest there be a me too,
last decades of the familiarity of being more dead than alive,
lest we swallow phone screens to survive,
as part of our 21st century survival instincts;

So two full decades of rash decisions, ripped jeans, red displays, bruh moments and brat etiquettes later,
here’s me typing this out
instead of the usual, bold, underlined, size twelve, font arial “fu** you”.
Here you don’t expect a middle-aged white man to turn up in today’s tutorial,
trying to teach us how to unlearn harm from their learned ways,
because you see
as an educated liberal lavishly led by jargon, labels and the law,
it’s my duty
to believe that,
my education is an open book,
with my head smashed right into it,
gluing the pages down to my grey cells,
forcing me to believe,
sab changa si.

And to that we say,
OK boomer,
Thanks for coming to my Fed(up) talk.

Mansi Vijay is a final-year undergraduate student of English Literature from Miranda House, Delhi University. She is also a spoken word artist and writer.

Featured image credit: Pariplab Chakraborty