So, what do you do?

Updated: Jun 02, 2019, 07:33 IST | Rahul daCunha |

The other day I met a Millennial

llustration/Uday Mohite
llustration/Uday Mohite


Part 1: The Insta Influencer

The other day I met a Millennial.

"What do you do?" I asked the Millennial.

"I'm an Influencer," she shot back smugly.

"Um okay, that's nice, who do you 'influence'?" I asked genuinely interested.

A Cheshire Cat smile crossed her lips, with an ever so slight roll-up of the eyes, as she said, "Duh dude, I have one million Twitter followers and 30.2K Insta fans. I influence people."

Wow I thought, do I dare ask, "What do you influence these influenced millions to do? Buy diamonds, consume drugs, fly to Damascus or just wear Dolce Gabbana?"

When I was growing up in the '80s, there were two kinds of vocations: there was, on the one hand, genuine jobs such as engineering and medicine; and then there were, the um, slightly more dodgy professions.

So, contrast this. My pal Bhappi's dad was a respected neurosurgeon. He had a degree, he'd taken an Hippocratic Oath and he went to work in Hinduja Hospital every day. In stark contrast, my other pal, Bonda's pop was into import-export.

Part 2: The Importer-Exporter

I would ask Bonda, "I'm confused, Bonda, what does your father 'import' and 'export'? Wheat? Maize? Chemicals?"

Bonda would answer, "Not sure, man, all I know is he often goes to Dubai with an empty briefcase and comes back with it full."

Yup in the '80s, 'import-export' was a euphemism for, yup, a smuggler. Cut to some years later, as the '90s dawned on us, and 'import-export' gave way to another cryptic profession: The Consultant.

Part 3: The Consultant

Some consultants, it is true, did indeed consult genuine blue-chip companies. But others, well, here's a fictional but very typical conversation that could go slightly like this:

"So, what do you do?"

"Um, I'm a consultant."

"Right, what kind of consultant?"

Pause. "Um, an all-round consultant."

"Give me an example of the companies you consult for."

Pause. "Well, many of them are new, but dynamic. In fact, some will soon be listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange. You wouldn't have heard of them. But boss, just wait."

And so, dear reader, you will have figured that, "I'm a consultant" could also mean, "Basically, I have a fancy visiting card, but I sit at home on the couch and watch ESPN the whole day."

So we cut to the present, to that magical new world called the internet, and a new cloak and dagger profession called:

Part 4: The Start-up Specialist 

I met a start-up specialist. "So, what do you do?"

"I'm into start -ups."

"What kind of start-ups?"

"All kinds of start-ups."

And then that look, that slightly patronising smile, suggesting, "You just don't know how to make money in the modern age, bro, you begin a start-up, then just before it becomes an 'end-up', sell it and you're sorted for the next year."

I met him a year later.

"So, what do you do?"

"I'm in the digital space."

Rahul daCunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at

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