Of lumpen youth.

This is it. I am officially an older generation, with a title like this. I even recently got ticked off a mentorship programme because I was too old. I get out of the age bracket for blog post competitions because apparently only people who are 18 to 30 have the brains required to write blog posts. And yes, this is me being crabbity and whiney as befits my advanced years. Afterall, I have an age bracket to live up to. And it is senior citizen.

Therefore, as is suitable to me being in my dotage right now, I wish to make an official crib about them college kids that dot them malls, and public spaces, standing around like little sticks of pencils, or seeing the width of some, like coloured straws. In their gaggles. Will they make way for you to pass, especially when you are laden down with grocery bags? That would be no. Offering to help carry them grocery bags, is of course, not even a remote possibility. Not only will they stand near exits in little clumps of perfect uselessness, but they will also crack jokes and snigger when a bag escapes from your clutches, and spills its contents on the floor of the mall court. Will they offer to help you gather the items spilt?  No again. Will they make themselves useful by shutting their constant twittering, screeching, backslapping and guffawing. Nay. Shall I take a gun to their heads? Aye.

You know. Am sure we have all bumped into this garden weed variety of the lumpen youth. I’m sure there is a machine somewhere churning out this version of the under 20s. Dressed identically. Chewing gum incessantly. Talking in volumes which would make the deaf plead for mercy. Peppering every sentence with a couple of obscenities and looking around to see how many have noticed their macho man speak. And smoking like chimneys even though there would be serious debate on whether facial hair has actually sprouted.

And they will push to get into lifts first, no matter that everyone else is standing in a line peaceably. They will tap their feet impatiently. They will elbow their way to counters. They will look at you scathingly if you dare suggest they wait their turn, and mutter insolent things under their breath.  They make me feel like Jack Nicholson in that movie with Helen Hunt, where he generally hates the world and makes no bones about it. You know that one. I forget the name. Yes, I am that old that I forget names of movies and couldnt be bothered to google it up, to add value to a post. I’m officially now the slight demented old lady who snarls at them fine young fellas, rather than look on at them admiringly as befits a woman still in her prime. And I find nothing to look on admiringly too. Would someone please tell these children that long and reed thin is not attractive. Like making out with a string bean. Some amount of shoulder and muscle on torso is preferable. We older women are not salivating at the vision of them looking like snakes in black Ed Hardy ripoffs and jeans falling off their nonexistent waists.

They scare me in a way no horror movie does. I dread my six year old turning out like them or worse, ten years down the line. If this be cool, I think I’m better off being hot.

Gah. Who am I kidding. I just wonder where the Please, Sorry, Thank You, Wait Your Turn and Let a Lady Pass First went. Maybe, it went out with the husband’s generation. Because I sure as hell havent seen it around with the young men of today. And to me, and my generation, a polite chivalrous man is the ultimate seduction machine…


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published nine books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016), psychological thriller with Missing, Presumed Dead (2018) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. In 2018, she was awarded the International Women's Day award for literary excellence by ICUNR and Ministry of Women and Children, Government of India. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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38 Responses to Of lumpen youth.

  1. aneela says:

    nahee ek polite please thankyou wala hai na Surinder Sahani “lighting up your life”.
    P.S: Its “As Good As It Gets” released in 1997.
    Mera Gift Hamper Kahan Hai Aunty?!!!


  2. sscribbles says:

    You are right, K. I see so many of them in the Metro train and they rarely bother to offer their seat to elderly. And when I barge in and give them a piece of my mind they give out the looks that would make me cringe to a corner.


  3. Tara says:

    see that puts extra pressure on mommies like you..you have to work hard to make sure lil brat doesnt turn out like that..all the best!


  4. Priyanka says:

    Try walking into a Mocha or Barista – beware of the amused, condescending, horrified and piteous looks thrown at you by these sticks with lasers for eyes that scan you unnervingly thus reminding you of your jiggly arms and tummy.
    Polite, chivalrous – weren’t those the first comments mom/grandmom made when introduced then-boyfriend-now-husband to them? I dread what I will have to say when my turn comes… Sigh.


  5. Rudeness is their mantle, which they wear with pride. I have horrifying visions of my brats turning into these creatures of ill manners, bad dress sense and sic-stick androgynous body type.

    *shudders visibly*

    I am already saving for my one-way ticket to Greece.


  6. Shruti says:

    Well said in the last line! For me too…Though it’s so rare to find someone like that these days!


  7. sraikh says:

    I am shuddering as well at the thought of my 10 yr becoming one of “them”

    I sometimes look at my younger cousins and think Was I ever like that? That dumb?


  8. Anamika says:

    As Good as it gets…the movie. Still one of my favorites 🙂


  9. Dee says:

    Wow! What a coincidence..

    I just wrote a post along the same lines, not as well as u though..Asaaan directed me here..

    You have an amazing blog.. Can I blogroll u?


  10. Gigi says:

    I’ve come to the firm conclusion that such kids are no better than the b*****s in Hollywood where anything over a size 4 is considered fat and anyone over 30 is considered ancient 🙂


  11. Childwoman says:

    Oh man! your post totally nailed it. My 4yr old nephew refuses to say sorry or thankyou..cries when not given in to his demands. He is glued to power rangers and other stuff on tv. And will roll on the ground if the tv is switched off. I shudder to think what, is going to happen when he turns a teen..

    The teens do not understand a simple concept of queue. I think its rocket science for them. Respect holds no value. I see them doing useless rounds / trips around the block, in their fathers cars and smoking away thier money. Its not hip. Its worthless. I am just wondering how my kid (if there will be any) going to be as a tween/ teen.


  12. Poppy says:

    Ouch. Is it that bad really?
    I know that kids are a bit more mouthy than we were but wasn’t it all supposed to be good, since it meant they were more confident?

    Dunno about manners, I don’t think any generation of Indians have had manners K – it’s not in our genes to understand the concept of a queue! Chivalry – hah.

    I think I’m the only one who doesn’t get your post – although I enjoyed your descriptions 🙂

    As for that 4 year old who does that (refer Childwoman), I wouldn’t tolerate it !


  13. Kiran Manral says:

    Aneela: And then we women dont want him, we want the waxed chested brash dancing version… 😦

    Sscribbles: Its an epidemic….

    Priyanka: I tell you. Going to a Mocha or a Barista makes you realise that you are practically invisible. They dont seem to see a person above 20 as a person, they push past, they pull up chairs without asking whether you need it, if its the outside area, they blow smoke into your face….

    Mamma Mia, Me a Mamma?: Wait on, I’m coming with you.

    Shruti: I think that mould went out of service with my husband. 😉

    sraikh: You know, I am pretty sure I wasnt. I was always polite and kind and courteous, and its not because its me, its because thats the way I was brought up…

    Anamika: Mine too. Mine too.

    Gigi: You said it.

    Childwoman: I feel like an anomaly because I insist the brat says his pleases and thank yous and goodmornings and goodnights. God knows how long this evil influence of a mom will last.


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Poppy: It is. It is. Confidence is fine. Bad manners and inconsiderateness is not. I think on the whole I’ve always dealt with men who had manners through my life, so maybe I’ve been spoilt a bit, and totally perplexed by this generation. Chivalry I live with, I have a very chivalrous husband, and so was my father. And my uncles. And the men I worked with. I’ve never had occasion to complain. Which is why I worry when I see the young men of today …

      And yes, the four year old’s behaviour needs to be reined in, Childwoman, and it is now that you and your family can do it… That I do not tolerate with the brat too. He needs to say his please and thank you and goodmorning and goodnight. And sorry.


  14. Childwoman says:

    @poppy, Madam K – Yeah, his parents tolerate it. And much more. If only they could put a lid on this kind of behaviour, it would save them a lot of pain for later. His grand parents are reallly trying to get him all straightend out and disciplined, but his parents are totally for the brattish behaviour. I think the kid is totally confused as to how to behave. So he takes the easy route. Being a brat. And lets not even get into how his mother will get a birthday cake for him, because he just felt like it one morning. And it wasnt even close to his birthday. Gifts and all.
    The first thing he does when he gets up is, look for remote control and watch tv. His parents at times encourage it. As they are busy getting ready to go to work, and want to keep him out of their hair. And it really really pisses my parents off. But what to. They keep quiet, coz they dont want any screaming matches in the house. And I dont get into it anymore, since the day I was told, that it not my business.

    Jeezzz..this like a rant in the comnent section!


    • Kiran Manral says:

      I feel for you Tara. What to do, some parents are like this only. But grandparents on my side of the fence are serious indulgers, I am the cruella de ville mamma…LOL


    • Poppy says:

      Geez, thank CW for not taking it badly. I came back because I felt I was rude in my comment. Anyway, that sounds sad, I think brattish behavior in boys is encouraged by some parents who think ‘Boys will be Boys’ and to be expected.

      My daughter also watches half hour of cartoons in the morning, what to do, as a working mom with another child I need to keep her out of my hair while I get her dabba ready. So who am I to judge? We’re very indulgent parents I think ! That’s what is killing the new generation’s manners.


  15. Dee says:

    Wow! What a coincidence..

    I just wrote a post along the same lines, not as well as u though..Asaaan directed me here..

    You have an amazing blog.. Can I blogroll u?

    P.S. I think my comment got lost 🙂


  16. So true, so true!!!!! The other day I went to one of these road side shops selling knick knacks (clips, earrings and all that), dressed in capris and a nice top (or so I thought). I picked up a hairband and the shop keeper says “madam please buy this only, it will keep your hair out of your eyes when you are cooking”!!I asked him why he thought that and he nodded wisely and said “because you look like that ” I give up!I’m almost mid thirty and it shows- that’s it,I might as well start dressing accordingly!


  17. Childwoman says:

    @poppy: Nah, dont worry about it. At first I was little taken aback when I read it, but I knew it wasn’t intentional.

    But I really wish my brother and his wife would take some time off from thier busy careers and notice where thier kid is heading.

    AT times I dont blame the kid for being a brat, because the signals sent to him are that its okay to be a brat. The parents are to be blamed or blessed for shaping up the kids behaviour.

    @Madam K: I am with you. Mothers need to be strict. Dil pe patthar rakhe ke…


  18. Shravan says:

    Everyone needs a good rant sometimes. Point taken. However, I think you’re employing a couple of double standards here. Did the teenage girls stop to help you with your groceries? Were teenagers ever really that nice?


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Point noted Shravan…but yes, teen girls have helped me hold a lift open when I’m trying to get in with a child and a pile load of groceries, or helped me unload child and groceries into car, so I’m not being biased here, dont get me wrong. What I wrote was specific to my experiences. Teenagers were nice when I was a teenager, that I can vouch for. Now, this current generation….I dont know. Sigh. Or maybe I shouldnt generalise, am sure there are plenty of nice teens around (my nieces included) and I just havent met the male nice teen of the species. I’m really a dino, maybe I should just crawl into my grave and pull it over me….


  19. Rachna says:

    An extremely belated comment, but I had to! Since I agree SOOOO much. You’ve just described my nephew to a T.
    He’s around 20 (yes, recently spouted facial hair, which he refuses to remove), brash, insolent and does not know what manners are!


  20. dipali says:

    My nearly twenty year old is reed thin and has his jeans falling off his non-existent butt, but ha and his friends seem reasonably polite and courteous, even if they don’t look particularly savoury.
    That said, kids that age mostly live in their own hermetically sealed world, and our older realities don’t always impinge upon them, esp. when they are with their peers. And there are a helluva lot more rude older folks around too.


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Dipali: Your son will not be impolite and inconsiderate and make fun of a lady struggling to balance grocery bags, while chasing an errant brat who insists on running into traffic…He is your son, and your sanskar would definitely have trickled down to him, and you know I have the highest admiration and respect for you.
      And yes, there are a helluva lot rude older folks too. I agree. What I despise about this category of the generation I speak about is the complete lack of respect for other people who are older/different/not of the same social standing, I see this everytime I visit the mall, everytime I stand at the lift queue in my building, the pushing, the rudeness, the insolence, the sniggering jokes…I dont think they are hermetically sealed, they are just out to have a good laugh, and even a child with a fractured arm becomes a butt of jokes, sympathy be damned…gah.


  21. Serendipity says:

    😦 😦 😦
    It’s a case of a few rotten apples.

    Ok..maybe a case of a lot of rotten apples, but don’t write the good ones off.


  22. Aarabi says:

    Ladies, you’re worried about your kids!! Can you imagine what it’s like to have to fall in love with a guy out of a mob of string beans who leer at you, give you the elevator eyes and act like your eyes are a foot below your nose? how the hell does a girl find a boyfriend in this?!!!!

    *mumble mumble*
    bah. i hate being 23. The only guy I’m even remotely considering is 30 years old. *but ooooh his muscles* So don’t gripe okay? Some of us have it worse, we really do! 😉


  23. dipali says:

    I guess I live in a politer city anyway! I had a stranger at the airport yesterday ask me, What happened? Did you fall down?

    Mocking others in their presence especially is just not on, whatever age or category they belong to.

    And courtesy and consideration for others seem to be disappearing in most age groups:(


  24. dipali says:

    (Seeing my arm in the cast and sling, I meant)


  25. Sue says:

    K, it’s not a generational thing, IMHO. I saw many of my friends/schoolmates/uni mates behave pretty much the same way when we were kids. Some of us got manners socked into us at some point, some just didn’t. Dada and I were mocked because of our politeness but we didn’t dare behave otherwise, our parents would have skinned us alive.

    I wouldn’t say I don’t see manners in the next generation because I do, just like I find that middle aged aunties are the worst behaved in shops and public transport.

    I think it’s more a people thing. Some people have good manners, some don’t. I’m not dismissing your premise entirely because I do think nobody really teaches kids manners any more, but some do learn them while others never do.


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Sue: Point taken. I think it is becoming alright not to be polite. And its them middle aged aunties who push and shove in public transport who probably are teaching their kids by example that it is perfectly okay to behave the way they do. I would sure like to meet some nice, polite, considerate teen boys though. Really. Havent seen any of the species recently.


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