These days children of many wealthy citizens visit psychiatrists in New Delhi. Sanjay Chugh, one Delhi psychiatrist who sees 3-4 young patients a day says “these children are often brought up being told that they have nothing to worry about and that money can take care of everything”. Protecting children from hardship has been a trend in the developing world, but their interpretation of “hardship” may have taken a new meaning, for example, making children learn that there is more to life than fancy drinks, new toys and branded clothes.

Super wealthy have always been part of the Indian city scene. The extended family structure in the past provided occasional opportunities for children to visit villages. Interactions with less fortunate members of the family brings a sense of being grounded. Radhika Borde, a social scientists compares her glamorous lifestyle as a college student to her childhood in Jharkhand and says The India of dirt, danger and determination that I saw as a child was far more interesting. This was the India of villages, village politics, poverty, many smiles, laughter and strong social ties,”. Her peers are not as fortunate. They can only opt to fly out for a continental vacation when they feel bored for Delhi life.

Mr. Chugh says many young patients are depressed and in denial. They suffer from a need for instant gratification, feel the emptiness within, and are addicted to alcohol and drug. Psychiatrist’s description of these youngsters reminds one of the youngsters from the post Beatles era. Young westerners turned towards the east for its rich spirituality and thus found some anchoring through it. It is an irony that the depressed youth in large Indian cities such as Delhi live amid this spirituality, donning their blinders!

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