Young millennials have obviously not taken too kindly to my views on rich kids vs poor kids. Some very well heeled young readers have written back with views which are not exactly complementary. I suppose you cannot win them all.
I reproduce below views of Siddharth Tewari, a lawyer; of Neha Singla, a corporate executive; Vipul Shastri, an ad man and Aneesh Arora, a film producer. All of them are young achievers. Their views do count.
Does it really matter when YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE?!
That pretty much sets the tone for the way of life we, the neo-urbans of modern world, follow these days. Having lived in different metropolises, from Delhi to Washington D.C. and Mumbai/Pune to New York, I have personally enjoyed as well as cursed this lifestyle. During my college days, I preferred living in BHKs as opposed to hostels, for want of freedom to make immature and imprudent choices every now and then. I have spent money on fuel for road trips, hung-out at expensive cafes and eaten at fine dine-ins, only to survive on Maggi and Oats in the last weeks of every month. Even salads and not-more-than-two-meals-a-day regime to squeeze in a much-debated superhero movie on the weekends. I believe, the discussion shouldn’t only point at this new-age behaviour but also at what is causing these millennials to follow the fad.
The 20-somethings, new-to-the-block, salaried class (or even ambitious college-goers) can never contain their hunger, for fashion or fashionable food, within the boundaries of their salaries or monthly budgets. And why should we, when our newly found economic freedom is coupled with 15-places-to-eat before-turning-30 or 10-places-to-visit-before-you-die lists that are strategically pushed into social media by various hip apps. We are a generation that checks #trending on twitter rather than reading newspaper for updates around the world.
Youngistan cares about their presence on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat and the lifestyle they follow gives them content to post, discuss, share, like and subscribe. We identify what’s hot and then exhibit our own versions. It’s a vicious but glittery circle which relentlessly scales up with time. Most of us living & loving this believe that since this age and times will never be back in our lives, such immaturity is valuable as an experience. It makes us feel more social and alive and can you really blame the social media generation for their fear of missing out. We should not rule out that another driving factor behind this belief is the fact that we have our parents as a cushion to fall back on. Our parent’s generation never had that option as they were the ones who, in reality, worked hard and brought in globalization that our generation is milking now. Truth is their generation never had the avenues to explore such a lifestyle.
Some may say that this is how we rationalise the fool’s paradise that we create around us. But we are addicted to the idea that one must never think small. Be it our career choices or our lifestyle choices. Again, not our fault entirely, after all our parents have inspired us with the hunger to achieve anything we want. Therefore, we have set our limits to limitless aspirations. Personally, I have progressed in managing my cravings better, but I still don’t deter myself from this way of life. So, until the time comes and we decide to ‘settle down’, we will educate ourselves about the world and its culture in our own unique way, for us - We truly will only live once!
(Siddharth Tewari, a co-founder & senior partner of a law firm in Noida, is a Symbiosis Law School Pune graduate, and has pursued LL.M. at GWU, Washington DC. He is also a certified member of Delhi Bar Association & soon-to-be a Member of the New York Bar.)
A big hello from an Urban Millennial. Yes, I read your blog and, as always, thoroughly enjoyed reading it. However I don’t concur, or maybe identify, with some of the observations and feel a need to defend ‘my kind’. So a quick background on how we see ourselves – well paid, weekday warriors – weekend sloths, like to go out, save (albeit lesser than advised by our parents) and in general lead what can easily be defined as a ‘good life’.
It’s not a homogenous group and there are always outliers. The kind who would spend more than they can afford just to put up a façade. There are also the kind who do not go out at all and save all the money (not by choice, but due to sheer lack of it in form of friends in the city). But true to our core values, we don’t always overspend. We save, we invest in experiences and spend to lead a rich life. All this also varies significantly from industry to industry. An investment banker or a lawyer has all the money but no time to spend. You might not find them scrimping, you might find them craving for time off to be able to spend at all! On the other hand, some other industry professionals have slightly more time and lot less money. Next, we have experiences. We travel, we dine at fine places and we experiment. Work hard, party harder has a new meaning because we are cognizant of what all life has to offer. So the party may not be the local bar but a trip to Norway to see the Northern Lights.
I also want to touch upon the topic of representation. For every person eating a fancy lunch every afternoon there are probably three having a working lunch at their desk. And there are probably another two not eating because of some crazy diet that can be attributed to peer pressure or (thankfully) awareness.
Pretense is not top of the pile of our concerns in the daily routine. However, it kicks in when we are deciding on bigger things in life – house, car and even where to holiday. The house has to be fancier than others. Car has to be a sedan from a foreign carmaker. Who holidays in Asia? The yearly off must be on a different continent. But for all this we save, we burn the midnight oil and self-preservation goes for a toss.
So you might not see us dining at the Taj everyday, but Starbucks can be managed daily. I am not sure if we are broke a lot, we are definitely hungry because the latest (fad) diet doesn’t allow us more than a cube of cheese a day (God knows how Emily survived in Devil Wears Prada).
(Neha is a Mumbai based professional who does not believe in fad diets and eats, works, sleeps and chills. The chilling is mostly within the budget defined for the week -- she is saving for a trip, hence budgets ftw.)
I’m more of a reader than a writer. A thinker who is evocative at work but not so much when it comes to writing feedback to an opinion such as this. And then, I have over a thousand ‘FRIENDS’ on Facebook.
I’m a millennial! Isn’t that cool?
The blog titled, ‘RICH KID POOR KID’ seemed to have quite aptly captured the lifestyle choices of the Y-Generation, my generation.
The generation before us never had such luxuries in their lives this easy. People would go to a restaurant such as ‘Dasaprakash’ for lunch only when there was some sort of an occasion in the family, like a birthday or an anniversary. Not only was going out to eat at a place like it seen as a luxury, but it always attracted a thought – ‘I hope this is worth its value’. This value seems to have eroded. The millennials value their own thoughts, their words, their choices and their wishes, over others. They are the ‘I, Me, Myself’ people. A generation that does not believe in ‘Zor Se Bolo, Jai Mata Di’ but ‘ZOR SE BOLO, YOLO YOLO!’ [For those who don’t know what YOLO is, you sir, clearly aren’t a millennial. YOLO is an acronym for You Only Live Once].
Being in advertising myself, I’ve observed how the markets and the consumer trends have been changing drastically. The likes of Tata Sky and Dish TV are being rejected over monthly subscriptions of Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar and a multitude of other digital media channels.
Brands have started going from being proposition led to purpose driven. Why? Because you simply cannot tell a millennial what’s right for him/her. Instead, if you were to tell them that by buying a certain item, they are giving back more to mother nature, they would happily indulge, even if it meant running a large credit card bill.
‘Desires’ are the new necessities. The desire to eat out 3-4 times a week minimum, apart from ordering food at home in the middle of the night is the new norm. A whole generation of consumers who dress sharp, indulge in brands, drive swanky big cars and wear expensive perfume, only do so to impress people they simply do not know.
Ever since the discovery of this generation was made, marketers and brands alike have been trying to understand and decode this consumer, who is a part of their active mailing list for shopping in the 1st week of the month and suddenly seems to disappear from the face of the earth, with 10 days to go for salary day.
Our world is changing at a pace never seen before. Complicated structures and expectations while growing up for these millennials has resulted in a time where social trends have been overtaken by ‘Social Media Trends’.
Those who’d agree with my views here, would also agree that they found the link for this feedback piece via a Facebook ‘Newsfeed’. Simply put, that is how the consumption of media has changed, and yet, this is only the beginning.
(Vipul Shastri is a 28 years old 'millennial' who delved into the world of advertising about 7 years ago, looking to play his part in the circus with a lot of ideas and a little bit of talent.)
As a generation, millennials do seem to value experiences over material purchases but are they callous enough to go hungry and broke for the sake of appearances is not something I am sure about. I don’t have statistical data on this and can only speak from my own experiences and my friends. Yes I would go to Yum Yum Cha and spend that kind of a money on a meal or even more but not 4-5 times a week. More like 4-5 times a month. I keep a track of my monthly expenses by noting down my cash expenses and doing as many transactions by card as possible because then they are automatically tracked and categorized by smart apps that read incoming messages from your bank. I would ideally not like to spend more than 33% of my salary each month but that is impossible as of now given my income and the rent in Mumbai. When I meet friends and suggest expensive places they mostly try to direct me towards cheaper establishments if they feel they have already blown their monthly budgets. I see my friends far more than me not buying the latest iphone and sticking to a mid tier phone.
There may be those who are living beyond their means but I think you can find these individuals in every generation. Whether we have more of them is difficult to say. Given Mumbai’s stratospherical rents even I have contemplated buying a car or an RV and staying in it. The EMI for a car is much less than that of a home. Maybe it is a practical decision after all!
(Aneesh Arora, 30, is a BITS and Whistling Woods alumnus. He now leads tech for Absolute Surveyors.)
The one thing I like, in fact I love about this generation of millennials is that they are unapologetic. They bat with a straight bat. Their thinking is reasonably uncluttered. Ambitions are well defined. And exhibitionism is a trait they do not shy from. You only live once is the credo of life and it seems a good credo to live by while the going is good.
We will have one more round of feedback before we wind up this debate. Personally, I am enjoying the crossfire!
(Sandeep Goyal is proud to provide a forum to young millennials to voice their views about their life and their choices.)