So what’s your view about the right wingers,” I ask Yohann, my 19-year-old godson.
“Right wingers? I think di Maria is streets ahead of Ronaldo, but Maradonna was the best.”
“No man, Yohann, I didn’t mean football,” I object.
Yohann smiles, the worldly-wise smile of a generation that believes 19 is the new 30. “Yeah, yeah, godfather, chill, I’m just kidding. What do you want me to say about Right-wing politics? Right now, I’m more worried about how I’ll make it through my HSc!”
His buddy Harsh, a volatile first-year LLB student, says: “What are these so called custodians of the nation up to? One fine upstanding leader claims that the use of cell phones leads to rape. Another talks of crackers going off in foreign lands, if he loses an election! Farmer suicides are out of control in Maharashtra and they’re concerned about Ghulam Ali performing in Mumbai.”
Yohann adds, “I can’t hold hands with my girlfriend without the hassle of being ‘moral policed’.”
“And I can’t get a damn beef burger in the city,” his vertically-challenged friend, Kalpesh, chimes in.
Kalpesh’s vegan love interest, Tamanna, half jokes, “Better that than getting lynched for keeping some in your fridge, huh?”
I have opened a Pandora’s chest.
Their intellectually-oriented, Kindle-brandishing buddy, Kasim, says prophetically, “Yeah, I’m thinking, we can’t climb back. We really can’t as a nation. The dogs of wrath have been unleashed. The hounds of hate have bolted. And there’s no hope, for us liberal youngsters!”
“Every day, we are forced to rise and rise above corruption, just to function,” Jyoti, their NGO pal thunders from her small soap box.
“I’m done with the promises. I want honesty, Tell me that this country is beyond redemption. If you wish to turn India into a fascist state, do it with honesty. Not this half-baked, notional dictatorship couched in paper tigerhood. Don’t be the ‘coward bully’. The toughie who’s scared of bigger bullies, because then I really have no hope,” says Kasim.
“Repression…regression…repression… regression...”, the aggressive Jyoti mutters like a character from Criminal Minds.
“Every day, foreign investors are pulling out, so it’s not like our economy is rocking,” finance-hopeful, Praful tells us.
“Lynch mobs, lumpen elements, the ugly Indian trollers, tweeter terrorists.
I have no reason to stay in this country anymore. This is not a horror movie, it’s the horrorcaust,” Mahesh, a BMM student of advertising, says dramatically
“I don’t want promises of modernisation. I want the moral fibre to be redeemed. I want intolerance to end,” Kasim yells.
“And as a young person you cannot chastise me for wanting to leave our shores for better prospects, there is no hope here,” Jyoti shouts.
“With China, I understand, there’s never been a pretence. But us, full on double standards. Vote bank politics,” Harsh bellows.
“I mean, come on, they want to ban ‘Sardar jokes’. There are 60,000 cases in the Supreme Court that need real attention,” the young LLB thunders.
“And they call Chhota Rajan a gangster!” Yohann’s 11-year-old brother Rehan concludes, engrossed in his Xbox.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org