Radhanpur/Patan (Guj): The state highways are smooth but the journeys are long and arduous for the youths, some underpaid, some jobless, and most looking for a better life. So they take refuge in their cheap China-made smartphones, mostly encased in plastic, shutting themselves off from their problems, plunging themselves into the virtual world.
Prince Parmar is on one such bus, travelling to Gandhidham, a town in Kutch district, from Patan town. The 23-year-old son of a landless farmer works as a “supervisor” in a garments company in Gandhidham for a meagre salary of Rs 10,000 per month.
“And they deduct half the salary if you take even three days off,” Parmar, a Dalit, says.
While sharing his angst and frustration, Parmar suddenly asks this reporter, “How much do you earn? What did you study?”
As Gujarat prepares to vote in the second and last phase of the election on December 14, Parmar's question takes on added import, reflecting not just the many worries of youth in the state but also sending out a message for parties competing for power. A recurrent highlight of a nearly 550-km road trip across north Gujarat is the Gujarati youth's curiosity about the world of white-collar jobs.