I used to be very talkative and outspoken. I say this based on the stories my parents tell me now- ‘when I was 6 I did this, when I was 8 I said this to that person’ and how they had to lecture me every time on how to control my tongue before going to someone’s place. Then puberty hit me, my voice was maturing and I still remember that when I was 14 an uncle of mine during a family trip commandingly said, ‘It’s best to keep shut when the voice is not matured yet.’ That struck me hard. Soon the voice had matured but that confidence was gone. The second half of teenagehood was forgettable. I only found that voice back when I was doing my bachelors in Pune and was active with the college cultural team. We staged plays on issues that mattered to us, be it student suicides or child prostitution or global warming. This new voice was very powerful and it was important to use it at full volume. And we did, but then the college years ended and so did that collective voice of our group.
I have gone through all the stereotypical routines of a typical youngster from India. I graduated at 22, went straight for my masters, went for a well-paid job for a couple of years, only to realise that I was lying to myself, and not doing what I wanted to be doing. That’s when I packed my bags and started on a new path. It was like starting with a blank slate all over again. There were loads of intentions but nothing to show on paper and so I thought best is to start volunteering and at least fill the hours with something worthwhile, filling the bank account would happen eventually. And it was the best decision I have taken till now.
I have found immense job satisfaction in the last 18 months during which I volunteered at a hospital, a school and with some social development projects. It was important to share my experiences, thoughts and spread the word with all those who are still in a way caught up in the routine I had managed to run away from. I was on my own though, there was no group to stage plays with this time. I try to put up regular posts on Instagram but my reach is limited to only 349 followers there. And so I went looking to find a louder voice. Fortunately, I wrote on Youth Ki Awaaz and it helped me reach out to so many people, most of whom I have not met yet but with whom I share similar intentions.
The issues our parents struggled with are different from the issues we strongly feel about. They had to work hard to earn the bread and we have to work hard to deal with social media anxiety. Each generation has had a unique set of problems. The advantage we have though is that we have the luxury of getting heard easily. The online platforms allow us to voice our points, spread awareness and in turn, find company to work with on these issues. So let’s keep our words flowing, whether we realise it or not, it is making a huge impact.