Survival of the richest

Survival of the fittest! These words of Darwin have started taking a huge share of a college goingboy Rohit’s mind space these days. He knows that he neither earns any income, nor pays any taxes. Sowhy must the Union Budget worry this 20 year old urban youngster? Well, he realized he must, since hisparents that provide him with pocket money, which stays for very little time in his pocket, do pay taxes!

The Budget will affect him through his parents and it will also leave him with a hole in his pocket whenhe goes shopping in retail outlets of big brands like Levi’s or sports giants Nike or Adidas with a budgetenough to sustain, hardly for a month.

He had still not got out of the shock of the sudden hike in petrol prices when his 6 month old Bajaj Avenger seemed to be so more of a liability than a style-statement, which he had hoped for. His big date next week seems to be a far-fetched dream, now that food and beverages taxes have hiked up and taking his date to a pizza joint or a fast food chain would mean working extra hours. Due to these reasons, his hopes with that gorgeous college girl have proportionally seemed to go the other way round. Rohit’s troubles are puny yet prominent. An unpaid internship and a meager Rs. 4000 per month pocket money from home, inclusive of the phone expenses do not help much. His parents will never lend him an advance or an extra amount for his expenses. While the mobile operators are decreasing their call rates for youngsters, they are also confusing them with many options to choose from. This is a situation common to many urban youngsters in the country today who are fighting not just for their careers but also for their leisure and enjoyment. Like Rohit, they too live a hand-to-mouth existence, in their terms, at least. What they all look for is not less expenditures, since they are in a growing stage in life, they know so will their expenditures. What they want is a balance between the inflow and outflow of ‘hard-asked for’ cash!

However, with the world becoming smaller and multi-national companies looking out for youngsters to do their low-end short-term jobs, earning a quick buck is not a very mysterious deal anymore. Youngsters, in need of money, and not a career for the time being, will happily do most jobs asked for by the corporate for a few thousand bucks, be it working round the clock for a few days. Call centers and event management is the leeway that Rohit and his league of youngsters will adopt till they obtain a substantial balance, to spend on their personal expenditures. If that is not all, the marketing geniuses devise up new plans and strategies, every now and then, to captivate the senses of the youth and thus making it even more difficult and at time frustrating for them.

This situation is somewhat similar to what the hyenas of the African Savannah do on a daily basis. They scavenge, if they can from the big cats, but hunt if the big cats do not share any of their kill. The urban youngsters of India are very akin to these hyenas in ways of survival: Allowance from parents or odd-Jobs at MNCs and other places. After all, it is all about survival. The Union Budget has affected everyone in one way or the other. But, Rohit knows that, if he has to send some romantic messages and make some exceptionally passionate late night calls to score with the college girl for next Saturday, all he has to do go is sell a few passes or manage a crowd or even go ahead, pick up a tray and serve some liquor and quick bites at a high profile party.

However a bigger picture shows that it is not just the budget now, but also the latest marketing, branding tactics adopted by every brand in the guise of providing something better, something free and staying in race with their competitors, is what is hampering the already wavering minds of the young geniuses of our country. This is indeed a world which is veering Darwin’s theory and reframing it to ‘Survival of the richest’. The famous words just turned infamous!!!

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