KARACHI: I was at Chai Wala one evening, having nutella paratha with my older gen relatives and a Careem dropped off a gaggle of young, hip thirty year olds. The girls had thick Huda level eyebrows and green lipstick and the boys had non-sulphate man buns paired with small, floral shorts. They were loud in their jokes, quick with the selfies and refused the breadbasket. My aunt openly stared as only desi aunties can, with a keen determination and mouth slightly agape, and loudly inquired if this “naya Pakistan”. I looked around confused, wondering if Imran Khan had also heard about the tacos, but all I could see were a gaggle of fully committed desi millennials.
The millennial obsession is a global one, so why wouldn’t our social media astute youth catch on and embrace their birth year. Broadly described, it’s someone who was born between 1981 and 1997, so technically I just make the cut for this hip group. This doesn’t mean all Generation Me are equally hardcore and I myself have only adopted the easy, self-serving traits. Regardless, astute branding and marketing teams are targeting this sub division and their behavioral patterns. If you’re confused whether you’re part of the elite M-crew, take this little quiz and figure out if you need to work harder for that underground party invite.
Answer Yes or No to the following statements:
1. #willworkforcupcakes. Did you have a hobby and made it into a business? For example, after college you moved home and instead of getting a job at a bank (like your father told you to), you decided to de-stress by making cupcakes. Your friends totally loved them, so you opened a Facebook/Instagram page and started baking on order. Now you have locations all across Pakistan, manage a team of over a 100 people and meet regularly with your social marketing manager and accountant.
2. #gymselfie. Do you invest at least a third of your income and 60% of your time into working out? Your personal trainer needs to have graduated from an elite private school, speaks English and can be invited to your next party. You should also have at least one Whatsapp group dedicated to discussing your macro intake and your daily sweaty, Lululemon clad workout.
3. #sorrynotsorry. Rich desi millennials do not give a shit about “log kia kahnege?”. The gals are not worried about getting a good rishta, the guys aren’t concerned about annual bonuses or making partner and whole Scooby gang are probably having sex. You should be swearing openly, smoking in front of aunties, taking yourself seriously as an influencer with candid tank top photos and calling out misogyny on a daily basis.
4. #whatsapponly. Does the sound of the phone ringing signal impending doom? Millennial speak is limited to WhatsApp, Facebook messenger or Instagram. Your language and speech patterns translate directly into GIFs, emoji and excessive use of hashtags. Your primary communication device is the iPhone and you intend to sell blood plasma or a kidney to buy the latest iPhone X in October.
5. #noexpectations. The due diligence and forward planning you employ to construct your friend’s circle is worthy of the Pakistani Military. Friendships in millennial speak means a carefully curated crew of besties who are on trend, interesting looking, ambitious and don’t have curfews. They have to smoke hand rolled beedis, pair their Uzma Center kola puris with Gucci, know at least five out of the closet LGBT individuals and definitely DJ to obscure Russian indie bands. Their Insta following is over 10K and totally complements your social media. Just don’t expect them to actually be there for you if you’re in the hospital, depressed or are having family related issues.
6. #nomnomnom. You are really into food and take your gastro experience seriously. Your travel plans revolve around trending restos, which can range from imported hotdogs at Easy to the nihari at Burns Road. You also cook once a week and take carefully plated food content pictures with appropriate hashtags. Buying organic and completely banning processed food in the kitchen is a prerequisite, unless you’re having a #cheatmeal. However, these basically exist to show your vulnerable, weak side to the world, similar to posting a Rupi Kaur poem.
7. #fashionista. Your wardrobe is carefully engineered to break all fashion rules but also look incredibly cool. You will mix Zainab Market crop tops with designer label pants and accessories bought from bazaars are mixed with family heirloom pieces fished out of heavily guarded bank lockers. The style and fit of your outfit typically defies convention and cultural norms. Your hair and make up looks like you just rolled out of bed but is carefully applied, sometimes even by a make up artist you found lurking in the back of your salon and trained to millennial standards.
8. #futureisfemale. The average millennial is politically savvy and demands their vote to count. No hiding in their lux drawing rooms for these Acumen scholars, this Generation Me expects the government to give back. As taxpaying members of the work force, millennial are connected to their ground realities. They care about education for all, are proponents of animal rights and keep religion in the private sphere.
9. #travelbucketlist. When you’re earning your own money and don’t answer to anyone, you get to make pretty interesting travel plans. So what if your phuppo had to be hospitalized for high BP because she heard you’re going to Skardu with three other members of the opposite sex? Your insta stories were on fire, you crossed 200K followers and you got free airfare from UpNorth Airlines for just a few content posts. Anyways, your mom doesn’t complain because she’s too scared you’ll get your own apartment in defense.
10.#coffeeislife. Do you schedule meetings at Mocca? Millennial are the most entrepreneurial generation (yet) with low overheads and high profit margins. Coffee shops are the new offices and networking is the new business plan. You don’t need to wear a suit to the office or need a name on the door to start your own business. It’s all about co-working in style.
If you have answered yes to six 6 or more of these questions, then Mubarak! You are officially a Rich Desi Millennial.