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MIDNIGHT'S GRANDCHILDREN

How young Indians are disrupting the world's largest democracy

India is at an inflection point. Its vast young urban population has come of age in an era of economic reform and rapid development. “We’ve known nothing but opportunity,” says Stacy, a 21-year-old ad copywriter in the megacity of Mumbai. She and her friends want the Instagram lifestyles of their global peers, but struggle to assert their independence. A generational culture clash is taking place. Old certainties are crumbling. The institutions of marriage, family and workplace are all being tested. Tradition and modernity do battle: Dates are fixed on Tinder, but most marriages are still arranged. 

 

Some enlightened companies are ripping up the rulebook to build more meritocratic workplaces. They encourage autonomy, but their employees find it hard to adapt. Brands have to rethink what loyalty means to young consumers faced with a tsunami of choice.

 

Based on extensive research and more than 50 interviews with young Indians, business leaders, and brand owners, Midnight's Grandchildren decodes the forces shaping modern India. The delta of change is enormous. Many young people are ill-prepared. The book offers context and practical tips for businesspeople keen to understand and participate in India's millennial moment. 

MEET THE
CHANGEMAKERS

In a traffic-choked tier two city, 20-year old Jay has borrowed money to buy a secondhand motorcycle. The two-wheeler is much more than a means of getting from A to B. It shapes his identity and powers his ambitions. The fintech startup providing the loan is breaking the mould of traditional lending. 

Kanika is an entrepreneur who returned from the USA to her native state, Tamil Nadu, fired up by the huge potential of digital India. From a bijou bungalow in a hip Chennai suburb, she’s using technology to reimagine the massive wedding gift market. Across town in a glass tower PK, an HR leader, is using Hofstede's theory to transform a traditional manufacturing firm and fashion a unique work culture. 

 

Shantanu is a marketing guy who made the journey from rural Rajasthan to urban Mumbai. He’s forged a  reputation by capturing the mood of India’s newly flush consumers. 

 

The country is witnessing a boom in consumerism. Online furniture store Pepperfry is giving young homemakers more than sofa options. It is one among many new brands offering alternative lifestyle choices. Low-cost carrier IndiGo gives freedom to first-time flyers with an edgy, style-conscious product, and is the fastest growing airline in the world’s fastest growing aviation market. Beverage maker Paper Boat is tapping a taste for nostalgia by reinventing of old-school flavours. Foreign companies are present, too. Quechua is ubiquitous in the Himalayas, with a perfect mix of style, functionality and value for money. 

 

Midnight’s Grandchildren tells the stories of millennial Indians, breakout brands, and the way Bollywood is morphing to reflect the interests of young India.

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