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Photographs by Imdad Barbhuyan


“For a generation that prides itself on being connected and aware, standing up and fighting for change, and questioning traditional blueprints for leading our lives, Gen Zers, like everyone else, have their own set of challenges. In an age where constant and vast amounts of information are available to one and all, one can either feel lost in the competition and performative online exhibitionism fuelled by feelings of inadequacy or, conversely, more at home in the digital space.

Spending most of their time online, Gen Zers have to constantly juggle between digital dependency and being present in the physical world. Digital identities most often do not (or cannot) align with offline selves, especially when you come from a small town, as I do, and that significantly affects mental health.

Most of the youth I’ve talked to in Guwahati over the last month (including my sister, cousins and people I met through Instagram and on the streets) expressed a shared sense of feeling lost and helpless, like they are merely a grain of sand in a vast desert. With little understanding of how the world worked in the pre-internet era, they can’t fathom a different reality. Coming of age during the pandemic adds another layer of complexity.

Through the images, I wanted to depict some of the challenges of living through such a time of change.”

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