Books: A millennial writes about millennials
Growing up, I remember the “our generation was different from yours” comment being thrown at me by my family. When I told my mom I’d have a love marriage, she would say, “Oh, in my time, I didn’t even have the guts to speak with boys in our school openly.” And when I spent my first internship paycheck taking my family for a dinner, my grandpa had said, “Your generation is imprudent, not saving money when required.”
These generational differences still continue, but when I read the blurb of a book titled What Millennials Want, which quoted nearly 84 per cent of my cohort as wanting an arranged marriage and said that 65 per cent preferred having a government job, I was curious. So, I got into a conversation with the author of the book, Vivan Marwaha, a millennial himself.
“I was shocked when I travelled to different Indian states and towns and cities and people spoke about their choices in life. Sitting in Mumbai or Delhi, our perspective is different compared to those in Bhopal, Kozhikode or Jabalpur. For instance, Jabalpur was thriving as an industrial town in the 1950s and ‘60s. And it still continues to function at the same pace as it did back then, unlike different metro cities that developed with time. So, people prefer being employed in a government job where there’s security rather than being unemployed or meddling with the uncertainty of a private job,” says Vivan.
The 26-year-old then points out that it’s not just the youth in Jabalpur that has these thoughts, but also people working at big multinationals in India like Infosys.
What inspired the Delhi youth to write a book on his generation? “I grew up in Delhi and moved to California in 2015-16 to study International Relations. During my time in the USA, I realised that the government there was extremely focussed on understanding how millennials work, hire and vote. There was this emphasis on understanding people. So, I wondered about India, which actually is one of the youngest countries in the world right now. Why were we not trying to understand millennials in our country?”
Travel and learn
When Vivan visited his grandparents in Bhopal and spoke to his friends there, he realised their thoughts were different because life was so different there.
“I then worked with a think tank in Delhi. But soon, I realised I wanted to study more about my generation, so I quit my job and started travelling and collecting data and then began blogging about it. I had so much data which needed to be published that eventually a book came on track as well,” he says, adding that he had finished writing the book between 2018 and 2020, but the launch had to be pushed back due to the pandemic.
“We are the internet generation, with access to the net at all times, whether you live in Bengaluru or you live in Patna. Also, today all of us have taken this internet accessibility to focus on self-improvement. People are watching YouTube videos to learn make-up, English, computers and more. The role of technology has contributed to self-development today. While there are pros and cons to social media, we are constantly working our way on it. It’s interesting to learn the aspirations and capabilities of our cohort and their thought processes,” says the author whose book is not only about studying the generation but understanding different problems faced by people, from access to mental health care to using fintech apps.
What Millennials Want focusses on talking to people and decoding the problems of the generation through first-hand discussions. After all, it’s about the largest generation of young people in the world!
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From HT Brunch, September 5, 2021
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