Narcissistic Twits

“Kaun Banega Crorepati” (KBC) offers an interesting window into the many Indias that live in parallel. In one such India, a contestant hopes to use the money to pay off a loan or to create a future fund for the children or to buy a house for himself/herself and the family. In another India, a middle-aged, middle-class Indian hopes to buy a better car or some jewelry or perhaps travel abroad or invest in realty or the stock market.
And then there is the India of narcissistic twits. Young Indians in their late teens or early 20s, who can’t see two meters beyond their nose and whose depth of knowledge probably doesn’t exceed that of a saucer. And without fail, these so-called Gen Y or Gen Next or whatever Gen kids are from small town India…towns like Vidisha, Jodhpur and Ambala. It is as if there is a whole generation of kids growing up in these towns that seems to sit on its brains.
Early this week, one such girl from Bhopal, with serious attitude, was on the hot seat. She was hoping to win between 1 and 5 crores so that she could her Mom a BMW and use the rest of the money to invest in realty and in the bargain stop studying for her IAS. Mr. Bachchan reminded her as he keeps reminding other similar twits that you have to work really, really hard to make money and become rich…but all of this always seems to fall on deaf ears.
The irony was that she finally tripped on the one question that as part of the so-called “connected” generation, she should have known by heart. The question was “Which of these is not seen on the Google homepage” and the choices were “Gmail”, “YouTube”, “Orkut” and “Facebook”. The twit called a friend, even more narcissistic than her who after speaking to Mr. Bachchan declared, “Now I don’t really care whether she wins or loses”. This “phone-a-friend” was confident that the answer was “YouTube”. She believed him and was shocked when she had to quit the game. It is very likely that both use Gmail, Facebook and YouTube regularly, perhaps daily, and it is a measure of the flatness of their intracranial gyri that they wouldn’t know anything else about them, forget the fact that Google and Facebook are competitors.
It’s actually much worse. When I interview graduates for jobs, they have no clue who the President or the Prime Minister of the country is. I know medical residents who don’t know where Tanzania is. Or young school teachers, who don’t know the difference between nerves and veins. And it doesn’t even bother them. Mr. Narayana Murthy was quoted on Monday as saying that the majority of IITians who graduate these days are mediocre. It’s the same in medicine and I suspect in other professional branches as well.
No wonder that even today, despite the so-called “competition”, kids who read, work hard, think critically and have basic value systems still do and will always do well in a country like ours, overpopulated by educated unemployable twits thriving on shows like “Emotional Atyaachar”, their world-view restricted to television shows and serials, films, film stars and cricket.
PS: This piece has been written on a MacBook Air. The confirmation SMS I get from the paper is on my iPhone 3GS. All my news and reading is on my iPAD…which is where I first heard that he had passed away. Few people have made a difference in my life…he is one of them. I don’t have any more words…

7 Comments

  • i dont have any of his apps, but I can fully understand how everyone is feeling bereft.

  • i love your comment “who can’t see two meters beyond their nose ”
    Anways very interesting because we were discussing the same thing over lunch about a guy from mumbai i think, who in a KBC show shown during ganesh mahotsava could not answer which god is refered to as Vighnaharta!
    What do you say to that!!

  • talking of KBC. It is a Hindi/ Hindu “leaning” show. Many proverbs to fill in the blanks are Hindi ones and questions on mythology are Hindu ones.Nothing on Islam, Budhism, Chrisianity. I wonder why.

  • I beg your descretion sir, but I’m hurt when you generalise a girl’s lack of knowledge to the whole lot of small towners. I am one of the so called Gen Y guy and belong to a small town. I have worked hard with my middle class upbringing to reach a respectable position in my career and life. Not negotiating on your remarks about the contestent and her dimwit friend, it severely pains when such people are considered a representative sample of the Gen Y, especially by learned people like you. They are nothing but anamolies and should be left at that.
    And sorry to say, your observations profess cynicism towards gen-next which is not only false but dangerous too, and shows so much lack of confidence that your generation has in the upbringing you have provided us (Now see, how my generalisation mailgns your generation). Please have faith in your kids and their friends and their friends so on… they’ll surely make you proud some day. After all, its the old-gen politicians who are ruining this country and not a naive coder in some software company.
    P.S: Please excuse the silly girl on KBC. Some girls are rather cute than intelligent. :)

  • I don’t know why everyone’s so rattled by this post. He’s absolutely correct in his assessment of the current generation, one that I also belong to.
    I know one cannot apply a stereotype to an entire sub-population, but, c’mon… you’ve got to admit you come across people like this all the time!
    People who talk much but know very little. People who spend more time brushing their hair than brushing up on their knowledge/skills.
    The issue about fresh IITians not matching up to their peers is quite right. It’s also prevalent in every other field in the country. There’re so many coaching classes and guides that now, hard work and programmed persistence seem to pay off exponentially more than talent or skill. This statement doesn’t mean that these qualities aren’t desirable, but, in the real world, with faced with a real problem, shortcut guide books aren’t there to help you through. And reading “Interviews for Dummies” isn’t gonna help either

  • i completely agree with your column. your observation is right that a large part of our ‘educated’ population is full of twits. but where i beg to disagree is that its not just about this generation… i see a lot of full grown adults who are only bothered about brands, cars, watches, holidays. i think society at large has been brainwashed into believing that what matters is how much ‘i achieve’, ‘i earn’, ‘i flaunt’, ‘i spend’… which gives rise to shortsighted dimwits, which are abundant everywhere.

  • Dr. Rahul Navalkar wrote:

    WOW!

    Give us some more opinionated , “from the heart” pieces like this.

    Any more like this and I wont have any counter arguments!

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