Young Anglo Indians stump elders
FREEWHEELING Proposals such as having more parties during the meetings, urging parents to be more broad-minded in various matters, having less expectations from their children - the Gen Next was not short of advice to the seniors
PATNA: Few members of any community are known to be as free with children as the Anglo Indians. So, when the Anglo Indian elderly gave their young ones a chance to speak out publicly what the Gen Next expected of them, a volley of suggestions came flying thick and fast.
From proposals like having more parties in meetings, to urging parents to be more broadminded, to lessening expectation from children - the Gen Next was not short of advice, as some 58 youths participated in a lively panel discussion on ‘Peers, careers and cheers’, organised on the final day of the annual general meeting (AGM) of the All-India Anglo Indian Association (AIAIA), at a posh hotel here on Sunday.
However, Barry O’Brien, one of the country’s leading quizmasters, who anchored the panel discussion along with moderators Shayne McPherson, Michael D’Cruize and Ralph Craven, was not one to give in easily to the suggestions. “So, you want your parents to allow you to bring boyfriends home and not look at their watch when you return,” he retorted, much to giggles and cheers from the audience.
With youth blending perfectly with elders of the community, the bonhomie and camaraderie had to be seen to be believed. Shedding all inhibitions, the youth sportingly answered anything the moderators threw at them. Right from talking about boyfriends and new-found girlfriends, to inhibition of marrying - either within or outside the community, to in-laws forcing one to wear conservative attire or turning a veggie, hosting the spouse’s parents in one’s home for good, the good and bad of nuclear family, to whether parents encouraged children to have more Anglo-Indian friends, good and bad influence of peers, to talking about various dance forms like the Foxtrot, Walls and Jive, to making the young ones speak regional languages like Bengali and even the local Bhojpuri dialect - it was a freewheeling discussion, enjoyed by all and sundry.
They also spoke about how ‘language was flying at home’ - its influence on children, and how smoking, drinking, drugs in college had become fashion statements. Some even shared their nightmare of working at call centres, et al.
Given the fact that the threeday AGM was a runaway success, the youth wanted the schedule to be extended to a week-and-a-half. Some even suggested having separate twoday session for youths. Barry O’Brien was one up on this as well, as he told the youth, “When we were your age, we wouldn’t get the opportunity to sit on the dais and share our views like this with elders.”
Among the young ones who made a mark with their candid comments were Merissa Cowell, a student of Notre Dame Academy and Trish Knight - both aspire to be journalists; budding dancer Natasha S Cowell, Daniella D’Cruize, Gayle Galstaun, who dreams of becoming an IAS officer, karate practitioner Elizabeth Smith, Tanya Rebecca Sahu - a student of Notre Dame who wants to pursue law, Georgina Galstaun, Milur Fleming, Desiree Gamble, Dessidre Flemming, Ryan Mawer, Vivian Reeves, Lysander White, Ritesh Leslie Alberts, Russel Floyd Knight, Floyd Peters, Paul Godfrey, Trimoty David, Bernard Schowner and Lyson White.
Moderator Michael D’Cruize aptly summed up the event, when he said, “All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night, their dreams become vanity. Young people who dream by the day with open eyes and act accordingly stand the best chance of realising their dreams. May all your dreams become reality.”
Here one will do well to recollect Abba’s famous number - “I have a dream, a song to sing To help me cope with anything If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail I believe in angels Something good in everything I see I believe in angels When I know the time is right for me
I’ll cross the stream - I have a dream…”
Young members engrossed in the goings on at the AIAIA conference in Patna on Sunday.