Time’s up, millennials.
You may want to keep denying it, but even the government has caught on. This week, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman declared that we are responsible for destroying the automobile industry. If it wasn’t enough that my lipstick purchases and underwear needs were being called out as recession omens, my desire for convenient transport was now also being called into question.
However, who else has been feeling that we’ve needed time to retrospect for a while now?
Millennials have been commoditised like no generation ever before. We long believed we were front row spectators to innovation, instead of victims to planned obsolescence. We allowed selfie sticks and Instagram wedding booths to become a thing, and have more faith in WhatsApp forwards than in the actual truth. We shrugged as outed filmmakers like Vikas Bahl and Subhash Kapoor went back to their lives as if nothing happened.
I can see where the finance minister is coming from. I don’t like me either on some days.
Maybe we should have kept our heads down and followed the rules. With a little less math, we could have helped commerce minister Piyush Goyal create something to rival even Einstein’s gravity. We should have shrugged off our entrepreneurial spirit, even though unemployment in India recently hit a three-year high.
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We should have stayed in unhappy marriages and adopted our forefathers’ views on the wage gap.
That would have made everything right.
However, now that we’re no longer the ‘it crowd’, maybe we have a chance to redeem ourselves. To demand answers from elected representatives with as much energy as we ask for delivery updates on Zomato. To question progress as much as we question victims of sexual harassment. To call out discrimination as quickly as spelling and grammar mistakes on Twitter.
I, for one, would like to return to the joys of instant coffee, rewrite my ‘gross-eries list’ (goodbye superfoods) and rebuild my savings. With enough practice, I may even be able to halt a TV binge mid-episode, and not yell bloody murder at strangers on the internet who share spoilers.
Tapping into the things that define our generation may be helpful. We’ve never been more aware of the importance of mental health. We’re showing signs of growing a conscience about the environment.
Most importantly, we like a challenge – and if we could make ice buckets and bottle caps a thing, we certainly have a fighting chance at seeing this through.
Finally, when there’s no one left to blame, maybe Sitharaman and her team will get down to tackling the economic slowdown with facts instead of unwarranted accusations. And if we’re lucky, she won’t take a leaf from her ministry counterparts and will have math on her side.
Alisha Coelho is a writer for hire, content strategist and a lifelong ambassador for red lipstick.
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