A few weeks ago, we had a visitor in our house. He introduced himself to me as an uncle of some sort. I was confused because I had never met him before. He sat me down beside him when I said I was busy and had to go. But no, I had to sit beside him and listen to what he had to say. Surprisingly, he knew what course I am currently pursuing and where. Okay, I thought, until he said, “You made a huge mistake by choosing commerce. You should have taken science. Commerce and arts are for people who have no brains.”

I was angry because he did not know the first thing about me and had the audacity to go ahead and criticise my choice of stream. He did not stop there. He went forward to say “I hope you don’t have a girlfriend because it is wrong to know a girl before marriage.”

As a child, I was taught to respect all elders, irrespective of what they say or do. I hardly talk back at elders and like any other day, I did not talk back to this “uncle” who carried the values of a man from the 19th century. I simply smiled, masking my anger and disdain for the man, my urge to stand up and show him the middle finger and ask him to shut up. But even if I did, I would still be taunted because he is a middle-aged man with a good job and I a 19-year-old struggling to get past college. But, I guess it is safe to say that the man, who I am not going to consider as my ‘uncle’, is somewhat a representation of what is wrong with the Indian society in the modern world.

Look around. At about every place you go to, there will always be someone looking at you, judging you for who you are and if possible, speak their minds. Freedom of speech is a great thing as long as it’s not used to bring down other people.I’m sure everyone faces unnecessary judgement at least once in their lives, such as being commented on for remaining unmarried after the age of 25, because you are a lady roaming around with male friends or because you are a man who is not earning enough to buy a car. It’s as if a small step taken by you becomes a giant reason for them to talk.

I’m sure most of my Indian folks would be able to agree and relate to what I’m about to say. In my opinion, the following are what the Indian people and the society as a whole should get corrected:

  1. It’s not a crime to pick commerce or humanities after 10th grade. Each stream has its own value. Different students have varying capabilities and interests, so before judging them for their choices, you should know where their interests lie. Just because a student is good in studies, you cannot force them or suggest them to pick Science. It’s very much possible that their main area of interest lies in the subjects of arts or business. Thus before having knowledge of such parameters, kindly stay away from judging a kid for not picking science.
  2. 90% is good, but it is not the only criteria for a student to be called good. Sure, higher the marks, better the rank and higher the chances of getting into a reputable college but if you want to distinguish a good student from a bad one, the percentage is not the only benchmark. Schools not only teach us what the syllabus prescribes, but also instils values and morals. So, if you want to tell a good student from a bad one, consider the other criteria as well.
  3. Us teenagers have friends, lots of them. Sometimes we bring them over to our house to have some food and fun. Sometimes, the friends are of the opposite gender. What gets on our nerves is that neighbours keep track of who we bring in our OWN houses, thereby ruining the little bit of privacy we want to have. If I’m a boy bringing a girl into my house, it becomes a topic for gossip among the whole neighbourhood. If I’m a girl bringing a boy into my house, it becomes a bigger topic! Please stop. You don’t know what the matter is, so please refrain from making a huge deal out of it.
  4. Stop with the stereotype that men shouldn’t cry. Granted, in most cases, men don’t show their feelings as openly as women do, but that doesn’t mean men have no feelings. We hardly cry, but when we do, they mean a lot of things. The sooner you understand that the better it is going to be.
  5. Also, stop with the stereotype that women are only meant to be housewives. If you are a person who thinks like that, maybe you should have stayed back in the 13th century. It’s the modern world and equality is slowly on the rise. Women like Mother Teresa, Indra Nooyi and Jyotibha Phule among many others who have been scientists, women’s right activists have gone on to show that they are just as tough and hardy as anyone else. The next time you say something like “Only a man can do this”, please think twice.
  6. Our skin colour is our pride. Don’t call a person who is brown or dark skinned ugly. It’s not a very nice thing to do. It’s annoying to see old people asking young boys and girls to stay indoors so as to not get a tan and become ‘ugly’. Seriously, don’t tell us what to do.
  7. If you see someone who is over 27 and unmarried, don’t tell them that they should get married as soon as possible. It’s their life, their choice and not yours. Barging in on someone’s personal life is just not appreciated and is very rude.

That was just a small list of things wrong with the older people of India. It does not change the fact that the younger population are doing many things wrong as well. With the advent of the internet, we have information about everything available in the palm of our hands. Just a few clicks and voila! You have all the knowledge you need on the screen in front of you.

Our generation depends heavily on the internet for a lot of things, mostly education and entertainment. On one hand, kids are using the internet to look for Wikipedia articles relating to their project and on the other, they are browsing YouTube to watch their favourite interview of their favourite actress. The internet is indeed a great tool, but it is sometimes debated because of certain concerns. For example, it is always a risk to carry out online transactions, because hackers might be preying on you for your information and money. When you upload a picture on Facebook, it’s imperative that you put up some sort of privacy settings to prevent creeps from commenting and contacting you. It has become such a problem that a proper solution is difficult to arrive at.

Well, in my opinion, the following are what the younger Indian population are doing wrong:

  1. Posting selfies for every occasion. Whether there is an earthquake, fire, or a death in the family, for some reason, certain people feel the need to let the whole world know, not through a status update, but a picture. It’s not only irritating but also disrespectful.
  2. Using words like “mah lyf iz krzy” is downright irritating. Whether you are “doing it for the lols” or are writing like that to show off your “skills”, it’s a pain to the eye and brain to have to decode and understand what it really means.
  3. Hating on your own country just to be cool is foolish, kids. You have every right to dislike the country you’re from, but as long as you have a valid reason. Otherwise, you’re making yourself look like a fool and an intellectually weak individual.
  4. Copying anything that is fancy from the western countries is silly. Recently, a young man was accused of molestation because he went on about a “prank” involving kissing random girls. Apparently, he copied the trend from certain American videos. He rightfully deserves to be accused of being a molester. The idiot must have known that none of that should be done without consent, which is how these videos are shot.
  5. Rich kids complaining about their parents on social media is just pointless. Honestly, if you’re not satisfied with how your parents treat you, talk to your school teachers or counsellor. Making a fuss about it on Facebook and Twitter will get you sympathy, not help.
  6. I really hate it when boys pass lewd comments on pictures that girls upload. Some are funny and can be scared off with a few insulting and sarcastic comments, but others are persistent. Unfortunately, there is no long term solution to getting rid of creeps off social networking websites and thus, we have to simply stick to blocking and reporting for now. Maybe in a decade or so, we will have a more long-term or permanent solution.

Don’t get me wrong, though. India is a wonderful country with wonderful people and as an Indian, I can say that we are one of the most hospitable people you can ever come across. It’s just that there are certain aspects of our society that need to be improved and brought up so as to conform to the modern times and norms. I’m sure there are more issues that need to be sorted out, but I will not mention them here, due to such issues being sensitive and non-appropriate for light or heavy humour.