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The S-word that drives GenMobile

Mumbai, Dec. 31: If it is not the idea of a Santro that drives Indian youth today, it is another S-word closely related.

“Success” is their greatest turn-on, feel watchers of youth. But success, now, is no longer the old boring word that meant stability, one marriage, one car and two children.

It’s an overarching philosophy that contains within it almost all areas of life, including profession, family, relationships, credit cards, Sachin Tendulkar, SMS, Rediffbol, Sania Mirza, chilling out, cool.

“Success”, in fact, becomes synonymous with “cool”, suggests MTV, the makers of cool, and that term also needs to be looked into.

“Research after research shows that today’s youth looks at success as the key to happiness,” says Vikram Raizada, vice-president, marketing, MTV Networks. He warns in the same breath what it means.

“By success they don’t mean one thing. They are multi-taskers. They are into many things. They want success in their profession, in their personal lives, in what they do for entertainment.

“It’s a richer, fuller life they lead. With them, the whole notion of being cool has grown from looking good to doing well in life ' and getting them fairly,” he adds.

Ad filmmaker Prasoon Joshi, the man behind the Coke ads, uses the same vocabulary. “What makes today’s youth most happy is instantness. He has to get everything, in an instant. He is a multitasker ' he may have a business and he may play the guitar also and he is in a hurry,” says Joshi.

He stresses that today’s young are not rebellious and would not like to be looked at as aliens. But you better take them seriously.

“They believe in co-existence. If they like to play the guitar, they would like their father to hand it to them. But they are happiest if you respect them for that,” he adds.

Psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty lists the priorities of the youth in similar language. “First, they want respect ' not love ' from peers and parents. Then they want to be viewed with love. The next important thing is to use money and spend money,” he says.

“Today’s youth is driven by the notion of success because there are so many opportunities opening up before them,” says S. Maitra, faculty, department of medical and psychiatric social work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

But it’s not easy being young today. For one, the youth may be afraid of being lonely, more than their parents.

“Relationships don’t seem to be high on their priority list. It seems they would care for relationships if they fitted into their scheme of things,” says Maitra.

“They may be confused, too,” says Joshi. “They remain uniquely Indian, because they take pride in things Indian, in family values. They would like to wear a mini skirt and still touch the feet of their elders. They go for arranged love marriages.”

It is taxing, juggling several mindsets. No wonder, then, that they turn to their handsets.

That’s why the mobile phone is their perfect symbol. It’s instant, it connects, plays music, plays video, gives cricket scores, gives product news and also provides the chance to be upgraded every six months.

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