Offbeat. It’s a word that gives us goals to be different, to stand out, be bizarre or unconventional or anything that sets us apart. It’s a search for our individuality that pushes us to explore beyond the ordinary, to go against popular custom.
Off late though, it can get pretty hard to tell the difference between whether you are really being different or simply following a trend? Because what was considered path-breaking and unique in 1999 could, in today’s times, be rather ordinary. Older generations may still be coming to terms with several concepts that millennials have adopted as their own, but let’s stop pretending, at least among ourselves, that everything we do is original. Chances are there’s someone before you who has been there, done that, and also recorded it on Instagram. Happy catching up!
Travelling to lesser-known places
Just search for “Offbeat places to visit in India” and you will find a minimum of twenty websites wholly and solely dedicated to give you the best curated list possible.
Public interests now lie in backpacking to tiny unheard, unseen, unknown places and explore it. So much so that it’s become a trend. Now everybody is either going for a road trip to Ladakh, substituting Goa with Gokarna, or trekking in Kasol, consequently putting a whole lot of pressure on these places and often eroding their offbeat charm.
Don’t believe us? Here’s a Buzzfeed essay that highlights just how much pressure unprecedented tourism has put on the tiny town of Leh, after the massively successful Three Idiots was shot there.
Not just that, the ease of travel in present times has also turned a whole host of people into travel bloggers, a breed of millennials who claim to ‘travel for a living’. Which brings me to my next point..
Doing something ‘different’
Gone are the days when career options were limited to Engineer, Doctor, CA or Law, if one wanted to succeed. And, therefore, gone are the days where career options like Writing, Photography, Filmmaking, Digital Marketing, etc were considered rare and offbeat.
Radhika S. Bhatnagar, an MBA student who wants to be a copywriter says, “Everyone pursuing a mainstream course is somewhere dreaming of getting that excitement from their work. These supposedly offbeat opportunities give us that today, and therefore, it’s possibly why they’re not really offbeat anymore, except maybe to our parent’s generation.”
We all have that friend in our Facebook newsfeeds who is wine tasting in South Africa or watching the Northern Lights from Alaska. The truth is that more and more millennials today are simply doing what they want to do without worrying about what people will say or think. As a result, even their families are finding a semblance of security in previously unheard of career choices, which adds some normalcy to these roles.
Gone are the days when being an atheist called for a huge rebellious spirit or created too much hungama. Millennials today, even those from conservative societies in India, are learning to question their beliefs in religion and looking for answers in science or humanity.
Ayush Nathani, a student of engineering and an avid reader, recalled a very appropriate quote by Richard Dawkins, “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.” Among themselves, millennials rarely discuss the topics of religion or God anymore, and the age-old brouhaha over being a non-believer is no longer a thing.
Even though this concept is not yet completely accepted by Indian parents, the children have fully given into it. The old-world conventional ‘shaadi ke baad saath rehna’ is slowly dying away and there is no big deal about it.
Live-in relationships are like testing the waters before actually getting into it. More and more couples today are opting for live-ins, either as a replacement to marriage or as a crucial test before it. From a practical perspective, it makes a lot of sense: it’s the balance of spending enough time together while also gauging your respective domestic temperaments. In fact, even our Supreme Court has claimed that live-in relationships are now an acceptable norm in society.
So, the next time you’re biking to Ladakh, quitting your job to take up pottery, waxing eloquent on being an atheist, or moving in with your partner, remember, there’s no need to make a Facebook fuss over it. It only means that you, too, are part of the mainstream now. Welcome.