Author tracks tales of India's technicolor youth

Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:22am EDT
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By Anuja Jaiman

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A scriptwriter living with his girlfriend in Mumbai is put on the spot when the disapproving parents turn up. A doomed call centre worker lives in a cloud of numbing drug addiction financed by his high salary.

These are just a few of the lives chronicled by author Palash Krishna Mehrotra in his non-fictional account of the changes that have swept over India over the last three decades, specifically how the lives of its youth have changed.

"I thought it would be interesting to write a book about the youth in the 80s, about a journey from socialism to capitalism and all the changes that came about," he told Reuters.

"I wanted to write from the perspective of someone who has been here all throughout, grew up here and how we reconcile these two worlds - the one we grew up in, and the world we came of age in."

The result was "The Butterfly Generation: A Personal Journey into the Passions and Follies of India's Technicolor Youth," the second book by Mehrotra, who at 36 falls straight into the age group he is portraying.

At the start of the period chronicled in the book, India was opening to Western markets, bringing about a stronger economy that led to a technological revolution.

Socially, people began moving away from traditional elite careers of medicine and engineering, experimenting with the humanities and the arts. Youth culture began to come to the fore as control by family elders weakened.

"People living on their own, new jobs, (the) single life. All this has happened in the last ten to 15 years," he said, adding that he tried to avoid a preachy tone.   Continued...

Girls cover themselves from rain in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh August 11, 2007. REUTERS/Ajay Verma