One in a millennial

Published: Sep 29, 2019, 05:48 IST | Rahul da Cunha |

And yet, dear reader, there's a grey area, a blurred space, a thin dividing line between overconfidence and fearlessness

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

Rahul da CunhaMillennials madden me. Just so we're on the same page, in my book a Millennial isn't as Wikipedia states, those born between 1981-1999. I'm talking ages, 15, 16,17 and a tad beyond. Teenagers with that GenZenneial edge.

So they madden me, today's 16-, 17-, 18-years-olds. But mesmerise me in equal doses.

Bit of a dichotomy you feel, yes? Let me explain myself.

See. I wasn't like today's 16-year-olds, at 16. Nor was my generation so self-obsessed, relentlessly arguing, face buried in a mobile phone, talking back to authority figures. I wasn't taking selfies, no 'WTF' and 'Whateves'. Getting knowledge was a struggle—wading through giant tomes in things called libraries with signs that read, 'Silence Please'—there was no Google on a handset.

When I ask parents of millennials, why they take this 'back answering', this arrogant 'know it all' vibe—they just don't have the experience, the years spent in the trenches to warrant this attitude—I'm told, 'What to do, it's this generation."

IMHO (In my humble opinion), this is an arrogance not born of real achievement, an aggression that stems not from rage against the machinery, but of cockiness.

And yet, dear reader, there's a grey area, a blurred space, a thin dividing line between overconfidence and fearlessness.

That's where I'm 50 per cent mesmerised—that fearlessness that has enveloped the generation. So, before you think this is the tirade of an 'uncle', there is a point to all of this. There is a B side. And that B side is a certain 16-year-old activist called Greta Thunberg.

Actually, Miss Thunberg is an example of what's possible. Armed with her two millennial weapons—the Internet and an incandescent rage—she is living proof of how fearlessness can be channelled into making a real difference.

Miss Thunberg is where today's 16-year-old comes together well. Which is why she is driving change and driving many of the world's leading 'uncles' insane—the No. 1 'uncle' being the US Prezzie.

"Children should be seen and not heard" is about as obsolete as the VHS cassette.

(Would I ever dare tell an adult, 'How dare you?', when I was 16?)

And there we have it, the Joan of Arc of Climate Change. A brave child taking on a bunch of brutish leaders.

My eyes obviously turn to Mother India.

How do you see it, Master and Ms Millennial? The next 10 years are yours to conquer.

We need your aggression and sense of entitlement, like never before.

Where back answering becomes asking the right questions. Where arrogance needs to be tinged with angst.

Speak up now or forever hold your peace. Climate change isn't just about the environment. Or the atmosphere. It's in our air. The toxicity has seeped into our walls and our DNA.
At what point dear Millennial will you scream "How dare you?" Even if it's while taking a selfie.

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahul.dacunha@mid-day.com

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