The year has been a mixed bag and the mood is reflective; celebrations, even dating, seem forced…
It’s that time of the year again! The days are colder, the nights are longer and if you’re in Delhi-NCR, the air is smoggier. Winter has well and truly arrived and brought along everything we love and loathe about it.
For some, it’s time to reflect on the year that’s been, cosying-up by the fire, listening to melancholic music and drinking mulled wine, à la Miss Havisham (no judging!) and for others, it’s cuffing season—when singles get ‘cuffed’ i.e. enter short-term relationships to last the winter months. No matter which side of the social spectrum you fall on, I’d say you do you. It’s the end of the year and there are no rules.
What will I be doing? I’ll be out and about (with a glass of mulled wine, thank you) trying to keep up with my social dos. Nothing makes me go ‘tis the season’ like a fabulous time with the young and the restless, of course. I’m on deadline, after all!
But for this month’s piece, we’re doing things a bit differently. There’ll be no year-end lists here, like you’ll find in every magazine, website, et cetera. In fact, there’s no specific topic this month; I’m keeping my thoughts free-flowing, giving you an insight into how men and women of today are thinking, feeling and doing about everything that’s happening in our mad, mad world.
And what they’re doing the most right now is not having fun!
At the book launch of a popular (on Instagram) beauty writer-turned-influencer’s newest work, I happened to sit down with a certain restaurateur extraordinaire, famous for white-and-blue themed hotspots all across the country. We were chatting about the party season upon us and he surprised me by revealing how things aren’t the same anymore. “Everyone’s so conscious of where and how they’re spending—it’s taken the fun out of everything. Young people would much rather stay at home!”
A recent survey by UK-based Keep Hush showed a lack of interest in young people in going out—only 25 percent of Gen Z and 13 percent of millennials were up for clubbing/partying even once every week. In India, as per a survey for New Year’s Eve 2020, Ola’s bookings for house parties were up by 20 percent and Zomato’s orders saw an increase of 35 percent. Staying in over going out was clearly a trend even before the pandemic forced us to it!
“Who has the money for all of this? We haven’t got any appraisals, thanks to the pandemic, at first, and then, due to our country’s inept economy!” Rashi Sharma (name changed) is a PR professional from Muzaffarnagar, living on rent in Gurugram. “I’d rather chill at home in PJs, watch a streaming platform and save money than go out every weekend and spend a bomb drinking, only to wake up hung-over the next morning!” Netflix and chill is now literally just that? Wow. Desi parents must be so proud of their offspring!
It can’t be all ‘we need to save money’, surely? I go out a lot to parties with young ones aplenty. What are they doing right that some others aren’t?
“Those people are mostly distracting themselves from their problems— someone’s dealing with being dumped, someone else is cheating on their spouse and some other person is just so bored living alone that they’d rather go party with people they hate than spend time at home staring at the wall!” Rishi Khanna (name changed) is a famous stylist in Mumbai; no one knows anything about who he’s styling but everyone knows him for his caustic tongue and forever rotating bed instead. He’s young, outgoing, out to everyone— he’s basically my go-to person for the latest on what’s happening, and who is not happening. “It’s all so depressing—climate change, post-pandemic health issues, financial woes, messed-up personal lives. Who can even be in the mood to make merry? Those who do are either faking it or dragging their lifeless selves along.”
As per UNICEF, 14 percent of Indians in the age group of 15 to 24 have or are currently battling depression. And shockingly, on the other hand, around 80 percent of those suffering from mental health disorders don’t wish to undergo treatment. It’s a sad situation, one that needs urgent intervention.
There are also those who’re so baffled by the political climate in the country, they’re fleeing. As per the Union Home Ministry’s data, almost four lakh Indians gave up their passports in the past three years, and a majority of them migrated to the US.
“And why wouldn’t they? What is our country offering to young people? Everything, from our food choices to what we watch, has been censored. We’re expected to choose religion over brotherhood. To top it all, we don’t even have jobs!” Mohit Verma (name changed) is one of many disenchanted young Indians today. And like many others, he too is considering moving abroad. “I know the struggle will be real but I also know that eventually, life will definitely get better. Here in India, the future doesn’t look too bright, I’m afraid!”
If you’re also thinking, “That’s so sad!” aye, aye, captain!
Never before have I been so confused about how to end this column. I’m usually all about a hopeful last line or two but this time, I don’t know what to say. But when in doubt, go to the bedroom. And that’s exactly what I did—don’t let your minds go elsewhere; I simply enquired about developments in the average Joe’s boudoir.
Here’s how it went:
Response 1: Aditi Malik (name changed), 24, lawyer.
“Until single, straight men finally figure out how to actually pleasure a woman, I’m taking a sabbatical from sex!”
Response 2: Nikhil Sharma (name changed), 27, entrepreneur.
“Sex? I haven’t even gone on a date in three months. Maybe the new year will bring in new matches on Tinder?”
Response 3: Mansi Mehta (name changed), 25, model and stylist.
“I’m dating someone just because I can’t find someone better!”
Should I stop or share some more? I’m sure you’ve got the drift. But hey, maybe things will change in 2023? Whatever happens, I’ll be there, chronicling it all for you.
Until then, make the most of whatever is left of 2022!