A DANGEROUS trend is engulfing the country's youth. This trend can be attributed to the technology, influence of west, lack of morality, etc. This dangerous trend is being 'cool'. This word is very subjective and its meaning has changed over the years. What was not considered 'cool' few years back is the only 'cool' thing today.
If I ask you when is a game not a game? The logical answer would be - when it can lead to death. But there are so many incidents that prove that teens seem to be losing their grasp of logic at a breakneck pace. The death of Bombay Scottish student - Gaurang Dalvi - a few months back, has brought into focus the risky pastimes that children indulge in.
Youngsters say that the choking game, in which they become semi-asphyxiated, enables them to achieve a hypoxia-induced euphoric state. They undergo a partial or complete loss of consciousness brought about by the intentional deprivation of oxygen to the brain for a short period. There are other games as well, in which children indulge for thrill. A travel writer who indulged in such game while in school says, "We used to stand by the side of the road and wait for a fast-moving car, and cross the road just as it was approaching. We did it for the thrill. But now I realise the mistake I made."
Its not just about the choking games, but also with the latest mobile phones, branded clothing, apparels, gaming consoles, etc. Even television commercials focus on this aspect of 'coolness' in today's youth. That's why you see Mahendra Singh Dhoni saying, "Aajkal aadmi ki aukaat kapdon se pata chalti hai." Parents also try to fulfil all the demands of their kids, which can not be justified all the times. This race to look 'cool' does not end here. Youth wants to try everything available in the market for 'cool' people today. Smoking and drinking is the next thing available. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas' School of Public Health concluded that in urban India, kids as young as 11 are smoking and drinking. The principal investigator of the study, professor Cheryl Perry said, "As India becomes more westernised, more teens will use tobacco." The Internet also promotes smoking and motivates the young people to smoke with catchy punchlines. One such punchline I came across was for the girls, which read - 'Kissing a non-smoker is like licking a rotten potato'.
In the world of young Indians, there is nothing proscriptive. They are open to everything from late night rave parties, body piercings, going around with the opposite sex, sexual relationships with multiple partners, sitting idle outside the classroom in the college, etc. These things define the 'cool' culture today. The drug addiction has also gripped the youth. Most drug addicts are male, but there are several girls hooked on to drugs too. Most girls addicted to drugs are persuaded by their boyfriends to try them. Few get into it out of frustration. The ratio is 1:25. One must avoid friends who call you a 'sissy' or 'chicken' for not indulging in their 'pastimes'. You may say that it is an individual's right to do whatever he/she wants to do. I agree but then there should be some thoughtful process involved in what one does.
This race to be 'cool' is also taking its toll on children and youth as well. There is an increase in the number of cases of depression, stress, insomnia, anorexia among the children in the last few years. The prime reason being pressure from parents, teachers and especially the friends who want them to be cool and look cool. For a child, who does not believes in such nonsense, life is more tough. He is neglected by the classmates, teased all the time with lewd comments, humiliated and soon he finds himself under depression. He is made to believe that his thinking, values, traditions etc are very primitive and they find no place in today's world. This, sometimes, leads them to take extreme step. To help them commit suicide there are host of websites, which promote the same. And, unfortunately, there is no control over these websites!
This race of being 'cool' is very new in the country but is already a hit. In a fast-changing world accelerated by new advances in electronic technology, only a dynamic exuberant generation can put India on a strong footing. Thus, it is very essential for the youth to understand what is right and wrong and not to fall prey to the 'cool' race. A strong religious base combined with strong family ties and high morals can help the youth if they find these things 'cool'.
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