We are a small bunch of crazy youth just like you, who think that schools, colleges, companies, and yes- those boring and stress-enhancer cram schools better known as coaching institutes (sowing the seeds of engineering in the minds of youth who has an innate ability to perceive art) are not enough for contemporary young people of India. We are working on a project named "Indian Youth Café" (www.facebook.com/indianyouthcafe) for past couple of years. Now, you can ask. What do we do and what you can do if you're young? We wish to create an empathetic environment for today's youth where they can engage themselves in meaningful conversations over as simple as a cup of tea/coffee. This is a dream that needs serious support and guidance from everyone (especially youngsters) in the society failing which; the youngsters may miss an opportunity to participate in the growth of different elements of our economy. Today's youth wants to be a part of the growth and knows very well that without his/her participation, the growth may not be that staggering and inclusive after all. There's also a major disconnection among the youth with the current social and political context and youth completely lacks a clear narrative. Through IYC, we see every youth supporting new art, that establishes a connection with the social, political and historical context. In simpler terms, we wish to bridge the offline disconnect pervasive among the youth and we want to nurture good circles of engagement for today‟s and tomorrow‟s hip youth.
Welcome to India, the land which houses the highest number of coaching institutes and ever growing number of colleges and schools at every nook and corner. It‟s said, “Youth is wholly experimental” but our horrendously dilapidated education system and those supporting cram schools are adding nothing more than a feeling of isolation and fear among a majority of us. Yet, things have changed rapidly over the past few years where we have seen technology disrupting the entire landscape of youth mindset. 434 million youth out of which many are called the Generation 'Y' is connected 24/7 on their gadgets. Majority connect over Facebook; while few others read; a few of us learn about some crazy DIY ( Do-it-Yourself ) ideas and try to implement it and share with our friends on sites like soundcloud, Facebook, YouTube, twitter, etc.
However, the environment is still not feasible and matured enough for that youngster who may have a heart of an artist or anyone thinking out of the box. There are not enough psychical (brick and mortar) platforms where youth can come and portray their talent among a large youth community at a certain place. We are also missing the chance to gather the benefits of the potential connection of like-minded youngsters who can collaborate at some point in future to build something great.
We are also losing millions of energetic youth in the hands of smoking, drinking and doping using hard drugs which is a gift of our yesteryears nehruvian model of education system. Ask youngsters, and you will find that 8.7 out of 10 youngsters‟ carries a view that education system is simply outdated and the hope they have over the education system to provide them a sustainable career of their interest and skill is quite slim at present. We have done surveys and we are very sure of what we are saying at this moment.
- Serious Lack of social space for youngsters:- We are living in 21st century and today's world is growing at a far rapid pace than the world hundred years ago. Remember Moore's law? Similar application is seen elsewhere like- the changes that used to take place in 10 years can now take place in say- just one month when an app developer releases an app on an online store. These individual stories by people working on an idea can disrupt an entire profit making enterprise these days. Do you know how ''Watsapp'' disrupted the entire instant messaging industry- Anyone still using SMS to exchange information? It's high time you switch. We have schools, colleges and coaching institutes for today's youngsters but we ask a few disturbing questions here. Don't these institutions offer nothing more than just a mentality to score 99% in final examinations? How can a young singer reach out to a likeminded young music producer, film-maker, etc. to collaborate over a single that may have a potential to win next 'Grammy' when all their friends talk about is the burgeoning tension of next splendid examination that can flip their lives upside down? How can that future farmer talk about permaculture when the society expects them to graduate in degrees like MMBS, B.Tech, MBA, etc. How can youngsters collaborate over something as simple as inventing a portable public toilet that can help millions of households in India?
Developed economies around the World are very excited to see India grow! Every economy knows that India with all its geo-political advantage in terms of political stability and beautiful seeming demographics seems quite luring to the investors in the West. Nevertheless, the gushing rise of the "Great Indian Middle Class" also carries with it a few potential risks as many nations around the World still feel that India is a very closed society whether you look at it from cultural, artistic, or the business perspective but the Gen-Y and the upcoming Gen Z are quite open-minded and we have seen them removing the century long inflictions from our society. By now everyone might have seen AIB or say, the plethora of YouTube videos where youngsters are earning money by uploading videos on topics like "Would you marry anyone knowing that- they are virgin'? Yes, we are strategically better positioned than many other nations like Chine if you talk in terms of a working democracy. We have seen in Delhi that an Aam aadmi can become a CM with 1 year of political experience. Yes! It happens
only in India. Having said all that, the number of youth increasing every single day at phenomenal rate is also a major concern for India right now. A developed society needs expertise in skills and experience in not only engineering or Medicare, but also in other varied rather ignored subjects like arts, entrepreneurship, communication, design, food, etc. Only the IITs or rather i say 'technocrats' won't add much to the GDP. It also has a danger of employment imbalance ( Imagine one day, we wake up to see 1 lakh jobless engineers protesting near Lok Sabha trying to stop PM's fleet of cars... Gosh. Too much) We need a balance of employment and we need to earn money not only by bringing in more service oriented companies providing manual jobs but also a growing number of start-ups solving the real problems of India whether it may be psychological ( ... like dowry, gay marriage, child marriage, marijuana abuse, same caste marriage, scoring 99% in examination, secure job, PDA< public display of love>, et. al. ) or infrastructural ( ... like roads, buildings, shopping malls, income( standard of living ) , entertainment centers, renewable energy sources, et al. ) We need artists who can tomorrow sell their art at the ''National Gallery'' in London.
We believe that we have to give time to younguns and it's high time young people identify their inner passion and work on it with patience to see results pouring some time in future. Youngsters around the World are getting their hands dirty on 3D printer technology while 70% of the 434 million youngsters do not even know how to get a print out on a laser printer.
Coming back to the positive track, youngsters also need to get some really good guidance to identify these talents early in their lives; or at least they need to know a place where they can go to track the happenings in the youth community and set their interest /career plan accordingly. We are going to become the youngest nation of the World by 2020 but do we have enough to give to this changemaker, rebel, misfit, differentiator, disruptor, tweaker, micro-inventor or something like shitdisturber. Not enough. Do we?
The internet does its best to connect these like-minded people but imagine a place especially dedicated to the youth where they can talk about anything under the sun with no restrictions. They can connect online and meet offline, or they can connect offline and meet offline at this space to nurture their connection. They can participate in workshops where they can listen to biggies talking about business basics- kind of basics 101 for the youth. The youth can join the numerous weekly/periodical events where they can not only expand their knowledge territory about specific topic (like arts, science, poetry, music, entrepreneurship, design, or better say 'anything under the sun: list may be endless') but can also share their art to public forum at a psychical site where other aspiring youth can come, learn and repeat the same. This may lead to a domino effect and can influence numerous others to do something for their lives and for the society at large. India's economic success depends upon this "Connection" of youth that may lead to ''Collaboration'' and ultimately- "Transformation". The more the number of youth cafes, more will be the intensity of this effect and it may lead to more number of young entrepreneurs, creatives, researchers, etc. which shall furnish the balance of trade in and out of India. Nobody would want to tread on a "manufacturing'' pathway to growth as has been done rather enthusiastically by China nor „„Making in India” would solve the problems unless the goods / services are consumed locally in India.
As Albert Einstein very rightly said— ''Everybody is a genius". But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid". In contemporary India, these stupid people are the youngsters. Not all but certainly, many among us. My very good friend "Rahul Dev Aditya" committed suicide in February, 2014. He was a student of ISM Dhanbad but left it soon on account of bad results. He had an ambition to become an IAS though he never appeared for the UPSC examination. However, he could not gather enough courage to identify his excellent administering skills. Had there been something like Indian Youth Cafe, he would have definitely come to know that he can still administer. He could have easily utilized his administration skills to run a company, an organization or anything that he may have been interested in. Was there a need to stress his life to become something that he could do very well outside the domain of dream „IAS‟? We do not want many IAS officers. We want more administrators! In his last note, he said, "I am tired". Do we really wish to get the youth tired of trying and succumb to the paramount pressure? NO!
- Sub-culture in India:-
Are you aware of the 60's sub-culture or shall i say "Counter-culture" in USA? That one revolution backed by the youngsters shaped generations of USA and made US society more open than any other society of the World. It also lead to a massive economic success there. But many disregard it by saying, ''It created hippies''- We agree to that but it also brought with it - Steve Jobs and what we see as the biggest company of the World- Apple with more than 700 billion dollars( 43.6 lakh crore) in its piggy. The sub-culture promotes experimentation and innovation and it's considered hip! We see a similar though less notorious youth revolution brewing in India where we see Street Art being performed to beautify the ugly Indian walls. We see the hip-hop dancers‟ community in rural parts of Delhi. We see the indie musicians performing on MTV Indies and rock stars setting the stage on flames in various parts of country. Having said all that, the wavelength and range of all these activities is quite short and not many youngsters can identify these underground places to explore themselves with the sub-culture. At this moment, it would be wise to know that more than 70% of youth population still live in rural areas. They do not even have a luxury to be online 24/7. Forget about exposure! Can't we have youth cafes for them- youth living in tier-3 cities and the rural areas? Yes! We can surely build and nurture ultra-low cost pop-up youth cafes (remember BBC pop-up https://twitter.com/bbcpopup !?) for these exuberant young people. Not leaving the youngsters living in metros, tier-1 and tier-2 cities- Can't we have youth cafes for them as well to bond this network
more closely? We need Youth cafes because many of us are wandering while many of us are lost and confused. We would not want to adopt the bad things from American sub culture. Would we ever? But we would love to see our youngsters building the next apple or the Google with an idea as simple as Steve jobs once said “It is in Apple‟s DNA that technology alone is not enough—it‟s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.” But it would take a whole of collaboration and connection among the youth before anything of that magnitude happens in India. Who is going to ensure that all that collaboration happens somewhere in India at some point in time which can help these youngsters?
- A Space for young Change makers:-
A young changemaker is in ever-ending search for a place they can tag to work along with associates or alone. A young writer in India cannot afford to sit at a Cafe Coffee day or Starbucks outlet to write a novel with the little cash they have in their pockets. A Cafe is considered as one of the most creative spaces for creative people but you would hardly find an average youth sitting in a Cafe, working over the next big thing. The reason is the Cafe culture in India has been high jacked by the rich middle aged people. You would find their kids crying to get outside of the place. You would find old uncles talking bullshit to divert their attention from death. You would also find families dropping in to relish some chocolate brownies while they talk loud and disturb other young people trying to focus. Nope! This is not the essence of Cafe culture and we are here to change! We hope to create many youth cafes which can become the third place in and out for the 434 million youth with a desire to connect, collaborate and create! Yes, we are here and we need your support. You can support this experiential project in any way you can. Please message us/like us to be a part of this growing youth community and contribute as a youth or a mentor to make this project a reality- touching the lives of each and every Indian youth someday- or you can call us at www.facebook.com/indianyouthcafe +91-9600135290/ 9543202349 / 9791441471 to know more ways you can collaborate with us.
Remember, you are never too Young to change the World.
Thank you for reading and we sincerely appreciate the patience!
Indian Youth Cafe