Prayag Arora sounds groggy on the phone. He hasn’t had a good night’s sleep for a while now. During the weekend he was working on the Twitter feed for his client and managed to double their followers on the microblogging site. On Facebook, he’s involved in getting them more ‘likes’ for each of their updates; more the ‘likes’ more he will get paid.
It isn’t however about the money for Arora. He comes from a fairly affluent family in Mumbai and could have chosen to take it easy this summer before he began the next year in college.
Yet Arora, almost 19, is restless. Last summer he was interning at a newspaper office in the city. This year he is interning at a social media company. And he’s already sure of what he wants to do by the time his college reopens for the academic year in June — he has a few ideas which he’s already run by his current bosses which he hopes to execute in the next few months.
Although she isn’t from the same city as Arora, Shruti Sharma, also 19, is ‘preparing for life’. With six weeks staring at her, Sharma who hails from Nagpur, has enrolled herself in a local grooming class, is learning German and when I last spoke to her, was looking for an internship so ‘I don’t waste my time’.
Arora and Sharma share the restlessness of a generation that seems to be eager to get ahead in life. Even though neither knows exactly what s/he wants to do, both have a vague idea of where they see themselves in the next five years.
While Arora is toying with the idea of ‘doing something’ in the media industry, Sharma hopes to get into the civil services — ‘probably IFS’.
What brings these two seemingly diverse souls under one umbrella is their impatience, an earnest desire to ensure they get some sort of a head start in life.
“It’s hard to find work. And it’s ping off to see how even in today’s times, you need contacts to get a job. If I have four internships on my resume when I apply for my first job, my boss is bound to look at me differently,” Arora tells me, sounding like a man who could with a little more sleep, “There’s just way too much competition and if you’re not ready, you probably will be left behind.”
The pressure to ‘make it’ in life in the face of immense pressures is one of the greatest challenges that young Indians are faced with today, feels psychologist Saida Raval.
While some like Arora and Sharma are fairly clear about what they want to do in life, Raval says that the various career options available for young people today tends to leave them a little, well, lost.
“They often find themselves torn between doing what they want and what will help them make money,” she says.