Consumer Pulse
- Youth in
small town
India give
wings to their
unfettered
desires on
social media
Priyanka Matanhelia

As I made my way through a maze of narrow alleyways, I felt that not much has changed in Varanasi. It still is the veritable holy city, where the day begins with the sound of temple bells and ends with the aarti on the banks of Ganges. Through the day people line up at the temple to pray. The street animals, cats and dogs, continue to litter the streets, yet are revered. However, I was in for a surprise, when I met the young women in Varanasi. Despite growing up in a traditional set up, these young women are a far cry from the stereotypical definition of traditional Indian woman dressed in salwar kameez, with kohl lined eyes and hair tied in a plait.

Living in the ancient holy city like Varanasi, has not deterred these women from embracing modernisation and being a part of the global world. Being at the cusp of adulthood, these women harbour a dream of carving a career for themselves and achieving fame, rather than settling for the comforts of the bonds of matrimony and living an ordinary life.

Shruti, who lives in Varanasi with her parents and sister, has already begun acting on her dream of becoming a fashion designer. She has not only completed a course in fashion designing but also organised a fashion show in her college. She chose to do this despite her mother’s disapproval. Since her immediate reality is confining, it does not provide her the freedom to pursue her dream life so she uses social media to discover her imagined self. On Facebook, she expertly crafts her image to be the celebrity, she aspires to be.

This is Shruti’s Facebook profile picture. Dressed in a white short dress, she stands in the middle of a group of boys she hired for modelling for her fashion show.

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