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By Niti Singh

Last week, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman stirred a hornet’s nest as she laid the blame for the slowdown in the economy—particularly the automobile industry—on the changing consumption habits of millennials, who prefer to take Ola or Uber rides rather than own a car. A rash of memes and jokes on social media and Twitter made it clear that this diagnosis of the economy had not gone down well with the netizens. #BoycottMillennials became a trending topic on Twitter for two days.

Taking up the hot subject, a leading Delhi newspaper did an entire page on how the “lazy, entitled, opinionated millennials had become the world’s favourite punching bag”, quoting headers of past stories in The New York Post and Business Insider blaming millennials for the mess in various other sectors too, like the restaurant industry, real estate, precious stone jewellery, and so on.

But there’s one industry that’s booming—and that’s the happiness industry. One can’t navigate any social media site without an ad cropping up of some motivational guru or the other in town who knows how to calm your body and your soul, for a fee costing a few thousand rupees. The pictures of fully occupied halls, that’s flashed on their Insta pages, shows what a thriving business this is.

If I happen to miss my yoga trainer’s appointment, even for a day, I am told in plain terms what harm my reckless habit is causing him, as his coming over is a favour that I must learn to appreciate and respect, and he would have earned many more mega bucks in the same time slot at a corporate class meant to de-stress employees threatened by various ailments due to deadline pressures and lack of raises. After all, happy employees translate to better productivity, and that leads to more profits. So, it makes sense to have workplace happiness workshops.

Next time in his class, I take more interest in breathing in and out, as that I am told, is the sure shot way to boost mind and body health.

Going by the window displays, the bestsellers in book stores must be the happiness guides, or books that help you keep calm and re-order your life caught in a web of responsibilities and spiraling debts.

As a mother of a teenager in college in a foreign university, I have enough to worry about and good reason to reach out for happiness groups. Many times in dread of night, caught in an anxiety attack, I can’t help looking back to the times when social media had not taken over, when simple indulgences brought in greater happiness, and all one looked forward too, for entertainment, was Doordarshan programmes in the evenings. But then, you can’t turn the clock back. So brace up, and invest in happiness. It’s the millennial remedy for the bad times.

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