By Vijay Phanshikar :
TO many people, there may not be anything amiss in the spectacle -- the get-together of more than a hundred college boys and girls for an end-of-the-year see-off or farewell event in a city hotel. The programme was over and they were in the process of leaving -- taking selfies, group pictures, saying ‘good-bye’ to one another. Yet, there was something to be concerned about, deeply worried about. The theme colour for the event appeared to be black. Therefore, most boys and girls wore black -- varied dresses for girls and white-long-sleeve-shirts-upon-black-trousers for the boys. So far so good, one would say. But the problem was with the dresses most girls wore -- terribly short, very tight in many cases, and offering no appropriate cladding in most cases. As they moved about meeting people, their apparels slipped up and down, baring their young bodies in undesirable manner.
“That is the fashion of the day,” somebody in the hotel lobby muttered in disgust. What kind of fashion is this -- one may ask -- that is designed only to highlight what is culturally an anathema? How can the families allow their girls -- daughters, sisters -- to wear such scanty dressings and move out? Don’t their mothers see the danger of such exposure of their little ones in public? Another question that comes up as regards such gatherings concerns spending. True, how much should one spend on what is a very personal question -- where nobody else should have an opinion. Everybody is free to spend as per his or her wish or capacity to shell out bucks. So, from this point of view, there should be no problem. But, should there not be a sensible limit on spending by school and college students? For, as the loud-thinker guessed, each of those kids must have spent at least Rs. 3,000/- for that event, in addition to the cost of those shockingly skimpy dresses. Is such expenditure justified?
When will our youngsters learn the importance of frugality as a classic virtue that can endure a whole lifetime? Finally, the discussion does veer round to the issue of culture. What kind of culture are we promoting by way of such dresses and such expenditure? The loud-thinker is aware that some people may say that once in a while, such expenditure may be allowed for youngsters. But is that really the case? For, the loud-thinker has seen many youngsters spending unjustifiably big sums on themselves. Where do they get that money so many times? And why do the families allow the youngsters such liberties? Don’t they realise that there is a major difference between freedom and liberties and licentiousness. For, when abused, freedom become liberties -- which is an anathema to good societies. Possibly, the loud-thinker is outdated in his views -- some may say. May be yes. But he is sure that allowing our youngsters such liberties is actually inviting a long-term social and cultural disaster.