Long time.. but its never too late

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A night out to reminisce

mumbai-marine-drive

A night out to reminisce

It was one of those lazy weekends in Mumbai. Lazy because the arduous and busy corporate life style makes weekends a time to relax and rejuvenate for the next week’s which nobody asked for. This was one of those realities which was yet to sink in since I was just more than an year old to this so called “corporate world”. I was staying in busy residential suburb of andheri east nearby my office. It was a mundane Saturday evening of May when humidly level in Mumbai in high. With all done (enough of sleep and TV), it seemed boring in at home. That forced me to call one of my best and caring friends just living two blocks away in the same locality. Thankfully she picked the phone since most corporate buddies are in snooze mode during weekends. After a little chit chat we decided to catch up at the local book shop nearby.

At around 5:30 she was waiting for me at the designated book shop and I was as usual late. we exchanged greeting and was perplexed by the heated look that she gave which i tried to shun. We checked out some book , sipped some tea at a local tapri with nice and crunchy bead toast. With mood kicking in, both of us wanted to meet a common friend of ours staying in bandra near band stand. I called him and he agreed as good luck would have it. Moreover all three of us were single and had no weekend commitments to meet. J

So we both made a move to bandra. I tried to hire an auto but she came up with an idea of going by bus and exploring by the way for which I happily agreed. So we walked up to a local bus stand to wait for the bus. Since it was Saturday there was a deserted look on the roads. We started conserving by the time we waited for the bus. We talked about work, home, marriage and changed topic as they came in. By the time we didn’t realize that it had already passed half an hour and the bus was yet to arrive. In the meanwhile I stared receiving calls from the friend from bandra and we kept him fooling around that we are in the bus and we are about to reach. We both of us waited for another 15 minutes but bus too was busy making its own weekend plan. After more than an hour, I ran out of patience but we still insisted for a bus ride. We again got busy in our conversation, pulled each other leg, laughed, giggled and that bus stand and the deserted roads started seeming interesting. After almost waiting for more than an hour just when we ware hiring the auto, suddenly the bus we were waiting for arrived. We ran and boarded the bus and were too happy to finally get what we wanted. We bought the ticket and occupied the second last seat of the bus to enjoy the way and hassle free ride since there was not traffic due to weekend.

Both of us finally reached bandra and pacified our friend who was patiently waiting there for us. We took an auto for the band stand . Cool breeze and the mesmerizing view of the Arabian Sea lit in the moon light greeted us and told that the night is going to be humble but awesome. Couple cuddling, joggers, locals spending there weekend and some passionate tourist watching film star bungalow is a normal sight at band stand. We three of us parked ourselves crossed legged on the rocks facing the sea and it was bliss to meet after a long time. we started chatting …….. we joked,  laughed, hummed and traveled back in time when we were in college.It was coming out to be one of the best weekends. Every emotion rolled into one…a little of this and little of that and we laughed until we had pain in the stomach. Time passed away and we didn’t realize that it was already 2 ‘o’ clock. But the place seemed still alive. It was time move from here police patrolling party was removing the public since after 2 ‘o’ clock …people are not allowed to stopover. But we were not done for the night. We too started walking and started finding way to spent more time around. Then somebody from us came up with the idea of taking a sightsee of sealink and it sounded amusing. So we took a taxi and reached bandra worli sea link. It was a breath taking view from the one end especially in the night and we wanted to go the other end. After paying the toll of fifty bucks , we asked the drive to race the accelerator. We three of us too positioned ourselves out the window to take some fresh air and to enjoy the thrill of speed.  It was a lovely ride of about 2 KMs. The view of the city and the skyline from this road is simply incredible. When we reached the other end, the worli beach was still thriving. We sat on the pavement build alongside the sea. Strong winds on this side of the sea made us feel that we were in cloud nine. A tea vendor asked us for tea and we couldn’t say no. This is what I miss about Mumbai. You can enjoy tea at 3 ‘o’ clock in night seating near the sea and you cannot ask for more.  We took some photographs in different styles while enjoying the sea and the milieu.

And now it was time for the toughest part and that was journey back home. We boarded the taxi again took another enthralling trip of the sea link and reached the other end. Now it was time to say bye and end the night. After such a gratifying night ……I felt resisted  to let people go but a goodbye is not an end in itself …….it is a promise to make new beginning.

India – Younger than ever

India – Younger than ever

“I am young but not for long

I don’t know how long I’m gone

Pick me up, take me back, and put me down” – (Song from coconut records)

India is getting younger than ever. As per a latest government report, it is set to become the youngest country of the world by 2020. There about 253 million women and 268 million men in the 12-35 age group. The median individual in India would be of 29 years. What does it decipher into and how can we reap the benefit of such a huge demographic change?

India with such a humongous young population has many social, economic and spatial disparities. I being a part of this cohort, feel there is yawning gap between the two youngistan in Hindustan.

The first type is young, restless and healthy and their day is not complete without MacDonald’s, Smart phones, Facebook and are plugged-in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are sensitive to the national and international issues and express their opinions on social networking sites .They are well educated, confident, ambitious and achievement-oriented. Mostly city inhabitants, they are a major contributor to the demographic dividend. Globalization and outsourcing revolution in India have welcomed them to earn the pie and certainly should enjoy the fruits of growing disposable income. By 2020 India will have 64 per cent of its population in the working age group.

The second struggling cluster forms a major portion of the young crowd but we will rarely find them in glass houses. This young crowd inhibits in villages and emerging towns where Facebook and internet is yet to show its face. Lack of educational and training facilities and unsatisfactory access to opportunities have left them well behind in the race. A government report finds that a person in an urban area has a 93 per cent greater chance of acquiring training than someone in a rural area.

Being strangulated by the basic amenities and low level of income, they have no option but to depend on mercy of the state sponsored schemes. Now, the government on its part has been very ambitious on paper in introducing youth oriented schemes in the recent past but lack of implementation have produced half-baked results which have left the employability quality of these struggling youth unimproved. Moreover, disappointed with the government response to their state, they are turning towards extremism.

Having considering these two ends of the young brigade and the disparities that the later one is going through, only collective effort of stakeholders i.e. government and the youngsters can help us to reap up the benefits of this demographic transition.

Now what do we (the young) need to do? Well, the answer is what do we want to do?

It is the young who has to decide their own fate instead being dependent in the mercy of the few. Personally, I find in majority of cases, the social problem which bothers us only becomes a part of our tea time discussion and then we are back to our work only expecting an angel to come and take away all our miseries. We Youngsters should stop taking refuge to mouthing platitudes; now it is time for action. A recent example of this was seen in the Delhi rape case, where huge youngster’s upsurge awakened the government of the day out of deep slumber and leading to hasty but positive action. (Although cases still happening and a lot still remains to be done). The current extraordinary transitions require greater political participation and engagement at policy level from the youth to improve the quality of life and society where we live.

Congruently, government has major task to bring down the yawning gap between the urban educated youth and the one still struggling and fighting for basic amenities like education, health and food. Almost one third of our rural population lives on less than a dollar a day. Ambitious programs and scheme are only useful only when it reaches to the end consumer. But ubiquitous corruption has led to poor implementation and downsizing the people to mare subsistence.

Bernard Shaw once said “Youth is wasted on the young.” It is evident that young is driving new India and are a key contributor to the GDP. But regrettably, youth is not for forever. Either they act now for our better future or we perish. Choice is ours.