With the privileges that today’s generation enjoy, it has become a trend to criticize them, to label them as spoilt and careless and dismiss them as a generation obsessed with gadgets and social media.
A generation that worries more about likes and comments that it gets on Facebook rather than the real issues of the world, focusing more on their rights but totally careless about their responsibilities.
But in the midst of all this criticism what is often overlooked is that the advent of technology has brought with it, a new set of challenges for which today’s generation is not at all prepared. And these are taking a huge psychological toll on them.
Relationships are no more private concerns, with the jilted lovers taking everything online. Privacy is another victim with our most private moments may turn up on the internet for everybody to look and share. Having alternate views is not tolerated anymore, with people resorting to abuses and threats even for something as harmless as a simple Facebook Status.
The information overload, the 24×7 connectivity, the constant push to be relevant online through status updates, one line tweets and photo shares that is making today’s generation prone to psychological stress are very succinctly brought out in this story of four friends -Hari, Sam, Charu, and Mani who find their real lives meshed with the world of internet and technology that is tempting them to express more and more in a society that is still tethered to the rules and the customs of the past.
While Sam and Charu are testing the social media to express the constant barrage of thoughts, Hari and Mani are finding it hard to deal with their alternate sexuality in today’s world which on one hand is motivating them to break free of conventional thoughts, but on the other hand also exposing them to enormous threat of being ridiculed with just a click of a button.
At the center of this novel is the story of a tech-loving teenager – Sam, who is a perfect mascot for today’s youth. Born into the family of means, he is wired 24×7 to the virtual world. Blogs and tweets are his preferred way of communication rather than a real conversation with people.
He has a narrow outlook of this world and looks at it with a view tinted with sarcasm and skepticism. He does not say much, especially in complicated situations, but then is eloquent and humorous when it comes to tweeting and writing on his blog.
One of the high points of the story is the scene where he has a fight with his girlfriend. All the time during the verbal argument he is confused about why she is so angry. He does not say much then. But inside his room, and with the luxury of expressing his feelings on his blog, he vents out his anger and hatred for his girlfriend with a passion and fury that really shocks the reader. He abuses her, outrages his modesty and rips apart her character with few clicks on the screen.
Has the Internet put emotions at backhand and made us mechanical in dealing with people just by placing a veil of the screen in front of us?
This aspect of the story really made me stop and think about that. Think about what the Internet is doing to us.
The story of Hari is also delicately developed. Sexually abused as a child by a relative he finds it difficult to express himself. He is extremely sensitive about his attraction to men and finds it complicated to deal with this topic. And when he thought that he has found a perfect person who really understands him and is able to relate to him, he becomes an innocent victim of teenage revenge plot gone wrong.
The way small nuggets about Hari came out chapter by chapter was very well executed by the author. With every chapter, the author revealed something more about Hari – his choice of sexuality, the reason for his constant fear, and how he finally gets the courage to come out with it.
This made me sympathized with the character of Hari, feel the emotions going through him.
Through the life of these characters, the author deftly covers the theme of life’s challenges and how today’s generation is dealing with them. The story provides a narrative that makes one sit back and wonder about the new age challenges and how to deal with them.
While reading the book, I myself thought about how to deal with life challenges in today’s setting. What can make one deal with them without losing the advantages that the new technology brings with it.
Life is nothing without its challenges. Every day brings with it a varying amount of uncertainty – new challenges and opportunities. With evolving time their forms have changed. But I think the fundamentals remain same.
We need to balance the various aspects of our lives.
With the penetration of smartphones in our personal lives we have allowed the internet to seep into our lives a little too much. And this is the root of many of the ills that we see today. Low tolerance, extreme mood swings, loss of concentration are some of the direct symptoms. Relationships are one of the greatest victims of increasing penetration of social media in our lives.
Sharing on Facebook is good, but too much sharing is bad, as everything else is when done in excess.
What is needed is to sit back and analyze what is the priority in life. To sift through the endless maze of items that is vying for our attention – along with work and family and friends we have today tens of Apps on our smartphones that are constantly calling us out for something or the other. And find what truly matters to us, what truly means, and devote a quality time for that. That would help us to navigate our life in today’s times and equip us to deal with its challenges.