In Praise of GenZ and Today’s Time.
[a long-ish but hopeful read! 😄]
So many of us have a tendency to reminisce about the good ol’ days, don’t we? The music was so much better, the TV serials, much more progressive, Bollywood gave some of the most massive hits, school was home away from home, and college, what a time of newfound freedom!
The emotion would be even more pronounced if you ask your parents about their time. At the same time, they will know the changes, the paradigm shifts they’ve been able to witness. India, as they know it, has changed so much from the time that they went to college, to the time their children did. India, as I know it, has changed so much from the time I first went to college (10–12 years ago), to now that I am going once again… and this change is filling my heart with hope and happiness.
Coming straight to the point, [DISCLAIMER] which is solely my opinion and not a comment on how things may really be. The lived experiences of all the many different individuals in different parts of the country will be so different, however through my writing, I’m sharing my lived experience here, and hoping may be a few can relate.
Coming to the point, chronologically, below:
Around the Year 2009:
Bollywood ne aag laga rakhi hai… sadly, young people, going to colleges for the first time were burning in that fire.
Bollywood has taught us how ‘pyaar dosti hai’, stalking=admiring, brushing against someone on purpose and pretending it was a coincidence is sweet and fascinating [and sometimes assuming that it is flattering for the other person too, the person you’ve totally disrespected the physical boundaries of], physically hitting someone is the right way to release the sexual tension between two people; but the saddest part is that we, the youth of that time, had imbibed “don’t ask, don’t tell” or some version of it before it was too late.
Coming from my own experience, I know I got my heart broken, not because someone rejected me, but because when they approached me first, with friendship, with physical closeness/intimacy, or whatever expression of love/liking it was, I let it go on without clarifying first what it was. However, when I did the same and perhaps took it to the next level, they left saying that they felt uncomfortable.
What am trying to say is, we had been, somewhere, conditioned to first do the deed and then define it. We kept going, getting attached, perhaps physically too, never expressing the emotion behind it, perhaps before it was too late. I, here, would like to take all the blame and responsibility on myself because I never expressed what I felt, at the right time, when I got close to someone for the first time, in those years. Fear, apprehension, a mutual-understanding or something else, nothing can be an excuse for not speaking up at the right time.
Today, the Year 2022:
Social media, internet/pop-culture exposure, songs, series, the OTT opening up… things are so damn different than they were 10 years ago, and I’m happy for that.
10 years ago there were actions, and almost no acknowledging of what our actions did to someone, or what theirs meant to us. Things were supposed to be understood, but reality check! — human beings, their emotions, thoughts, perceptions are so different that it is very very rare that two people will, first of all, understand the same thing, and secondly, admit it in the same words.
So! I am extremely happy, thanks to an event yesterday, where someone in so many words expressed their developing liking (crush) toward me, and in so many words described it as coming and going, or what action of mine was making them feel what. I love it that a person today is acknowledging what they feel, expressing it appropriately, then asking for consent when they come to hug you or hold your hand, and then discussing if something more can happen between the two people. I love it that now people have words in their vocabulary, rather than an uncomfortable demeanour to them when they like you.
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A lot of this positive change I have recently been able to witness thanks to this opportunity I have got to mingle with and understand the young individuals of GenZ. Some people are extremely critical of GenZ but I believe we may choose to expose ourselves to the ones that we may learn some of these good things from. GenZ may be competing for attention due to their social media exposure (as some say), but GenZ, at the same time is much more welcoming and understanding than our generation was, or perhaps is.
Thanks to this changing ‘trend’, perhaps portrayed in the media, where people ‘talk’ before they ‘act’, I feel that I am much happier with the interactions I have with people today, and here are some of the basic learnings I’ve gathered from my experiences then, and now:
- Pyaar Dosti Nahi Hai!
- I don’t fall in love with all my friends, all my friends don’t fall in love with me. Sexual tension between two friends may need to be addressed.
2. Stalking != Admiring
[stalking is not equal to admiring]
- God has given you a beautiful mouth and an innate capability to eventually produce language. Use it, verbally, or in writing, and express your liking toward someone in some constructive way.
3. Brushing against someone, or establishing any kind of unwanted physical contact with someone is not at all sweet or flattering.
- First of all, who likes physical touch from a stranger? Friends/lovers toh baad mei bannte hai na, when you first touch someone, without consent, you’re strangers and it is not okay.
- Secondly, read below on physical contact in ‘point 5: don’t ask, don’t tell’
4. Physically Hitting
- Sexual tension between two people can be addressed in so many other constructive ways, especially if both the people feel attracted to each-other; can they not just ask each-other if they would like to hold hands, hug etc.? What kind of an immature, 5 year old behaviour physically teasing/hitting is? Children do it because they lack the vocabulary to express themselves, 18 year old adults who want voting, drinking, marriage(sex) rights are not expected to indulge in such immature, foolish behaviour; while at the same time using all their language prowess to abuse/insult each-other.
5. ❌ Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell || ✅ Either Ask, or Tell, or Both.
- This one I’m also learning each day because I’ve been quiet on so many things for so long, I’ve just developed a tendency to overthink rather than be upfront and confront. Confrontation is uncomfortable, but misunderstandings are painful; choose wisely!
- Secondly, if you repeatedly establish physical contact with someone, you both hug, caress, kiss, make-out, don’t be surprised if they develop feelings for you. Because Pyaar != Dosti (pyaar is not equal to dosti); you don’t do it with all your friends, not all your friends do it with you, right? Talk about it, give it a name, address it, or at least, make an attempt to.
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I would love to write a Part 2 in praise of GenZ because I’ve loved this shift in my exposure, to this younger population, after working continuously with people my age or older… and I’m loving what I’m learning from them at each interaction! 😁