Who am I?An Indian Teen’s Identity Crisis

NOTE:This was the article I wrote for the What’s My ID Contest for Youth Ki Awaaz. I won a Nokia Lumia 710 and an internship with them. Here’s the picture :

Nokia Lumia 710 Won By Siddharth Gupta for What's My ID Contest for Youth ki Awaaz

As a seventeen year old teen, I can confidently say I’m an Indian who is astonished by India daily. With the second highest population in the world, the only way of describing us is “we’re everywhere”. Some rejoice by this unique factorial, claiming it to be a bright prospect for the country’s future. But what I, and most of today’s youth sees, is a situation of identity crisis. A situation that doesn’t look good at all.

Today, every child, by the sole act of his birth, acquires multiple tags, which already define him before he or she can logically think. When a foreign dignitary visits India, the first lesson they learn is of our cultural integrity, but they never learn of our inhumane and excruciatingly complex divide. May it be on the geographical distribution of states, or of the language rolled off their tongues, we have a nasty little intuition to immediately separate each other out. It’s interesting to note that most of the geographical and language issues are simply banal. Consider this: at the time of our independence, we had 15 odd states which today stand at 28. Looking at certain separatist movements, we may see an increase in the number. But the point that stands out is that over time, fragmentation, re-merging of areas, division etc stops mattering because over the years, the only common link geographically between people has remained that of belonging to a common nation- India.

Moving on to the touchy issue, caste based discrimination. It’s not that we are not trying to move past it. With each passing generation, the emerging youth of India has slowly worked towards making it a figment of history. Unfortunately, our social stigmas and laws haven’t caught up. As a child when my mother taught me equality, I often thought “How can I say XYZ is equal to me when he gets a reservation in educational institutes, government jobs and many other such similar offerings while I don’t?”

Bringing in the gender divide, I slightly start feeling disgusted. For a nation which claims to believe and worship in a goddess, we are simple brutes. As a staunch advocate of equality among women, I simply find myself in dearth of a true identity, because associating myself with any of them highlighted here, causes a revulsion in me.

Identity. The word itself resonates a feeling of unity, of oneness and in true essence, describes the individual persona of each person. Sadly, as an Indian who is still in his growing years, I’ve discovered that I have multiple facades, multiple descriptions associated with me. Why, is a question I’m yet to answer, because the search goes on. In India, you never have a single identity. It’s always a concoction of many different ones. But whatever the potion may be and whoever may be the brewer, one thing is apparent and crystal-clear. Something is wrong, and we must change. I hope we change. Soon, Fast and Now

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Aamchi Mumbai Aahe

Mumbai railway stations are a delightful treat to the eye. People of varied backgrounds, ages and genders can be seen in an ironic amicable but fierce manner. Rush hours resemble battlefields, with hundreds of people fighting for a place in compartments made for some 70 odd people. However, stations provide a brilliant school for learning new experiences via human actions.

Crowded Mumbai Local Train


Waiting for a train, usually does not count for more than 10 minutes owing to the frequency and number of trains. I usually plug in to my iPod and gaze around and I was indeed doing the same when I heard the train coming and I stepped back because it was not the one I wished to board. Now, I stood and saw as people poured out like ants rushing for a jar of honey. In the midst of all this, I saw a beautiful scene. A blind old man was trying to board the train but could not find the handicap compartment. A man, who had clambered onto the train with great difficulty, got down and guided the old man to the handicap compartment. This scene was however ruined moments later when he re boarded the train. He was dangling by the door when the train started and a young man came dashing out of nowhere to board the train. It was obvious that he really needed to take that train because trains ran at an average of like say every 3 minutes. Instead of helping the man by pulling him onto the train, he blankly stared at the running man as if he loathed him. The man could only pant and give dirty looks to the train as it crooned into the distance.

I am not here commenting on the ironic yet contrasting nature of these actions. What I wish to highlight is the unique spirit the city and its citizens have which makes us different from the hoard of metropolitan cities. Mumbai always stands out for its free spirit which exemplifies revelry. Throw us into any situation and we bounce back. No tragedy can stop us from going back to life but at the same time no happy moment can tackle our grief. Sapno ki nagri is a perfectly apt term to describe Mumbai and its citizen because it is indeed on dreams, that our city and we ourselves live our lives.


 Athi me jaato!

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