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You Only Live Once

Yolo: The new teen motto


At one time, the mantra used to be 'Study hard for IIT. You have your entire life for games and girls'. Now, it's 'You Only Live Once'.

Last week's trip to the mall changed my life. No, not because they were giving glucose biscuits free with a 1 kg pack of Bournvita at the supermarket. Excellent offer indeed, but that's not the point. What happened that day was bigger. Much bigger.

Here's what happened. There was a teenage boy arguing with his mother in the electronics section. He wanted her to buy an expensive collector's pack of GTA games for PS3, priced at about a quarter of a kidney. She refused, saying it is too expensive and the game is morally corrupt. The boy's response confused me. He said, "Come on mom, YOLO. " I was like, "what?", and thought maybe he was saying "le lo", but 5 minutes later I saw her dragging the cart away and him running behind, shouting "YOLO" loudly inbetween hysterical sobs.

I rushed home and a Google search told me that YOLO stands for "You Only Live Once". It is apparently the new mantra for youngsters. In our time, it used to be "Study hard for IIT. You have your entire life for games and girls. " Seems like now, it has changed to "You Only Live Once. Why waste time on studies or other such crap?"

At that moment, I took the decision that I need to be cool and start using terminology that kids use. Then when junior grows up, we could play good cop-bad cop with him, with me being the cool, empathetic dad, and his mother the one who says no to everything.

That evening, when the wife stopped me from eating the third gulab jamun after dinner, I smiled at her and said "YOLO baby. You Only Live Once. " She started laughing, called everybody and took the gulab jamun, which was at that time about 3 milliseconds away from my open mouth. Later, as me and mom fought for the TV remote when she was settling down for Balika Vadhu, I tried my usual lines against the serial and she came back with "So what beta. After all, YOLO. " I heard the wife giggle from inside the kitchen. Not cool, man. The women are ganging up on me.

I have started calling the experiment Operation Rahul given it is all about youth, and also because it hasn't produced much results yet. I suggested to the wife that she should gift me the latest iPhone, which I am told can also work as a portkey, time-machine and defibrillator. It might cost as much as one of the smaller states of India, but then, of course, You Only Live Once. She countered by asking me to buy her a diamond solitaire heavy enough to double up as a paperweight. "YOLO", she said. "Chalo", was my response. The woman was probably Chanakya in an earlier life. So smart.

But I was never one to give up. I have since worked hard to perfect my usage of the wonderful word that almost made it as the word of the year. Watch Skyfall over a weekday, bunking work? YOLO. Eat a chapati with peanut butter? YOLO. Get inside the lift at a 40-floor apartment building and press the buttons for each floor, while other people look on? YOLO. Get increasingly menacing looks for the next 10 minutes. Awkward.

Just when Operation Rahul was starting to feel like fun, disaster struck. I was driving to work and rear-ended a Scorpio with a 'Jat Boyz' sticker on the rear window. Saying YOLO and attempting a high-five nearly got me killed before dad dragged me away and emptied his wallet as a gesture of goodwill.

Now let me try jumping off the roof of my house. I have a feeling I can fly if I concentrate really hard and visualise Katrina Kaif sitting in a tree drinking Slice. If not, well, You Only Live Once. YOLO.

Rapper Drake made YOLO cool after he used the catchphrase in The motto, a track from his 2011 platinum album, Take Care. In the song, Drake justifies his numerous sexual escapades by saying he will "only live once" and needs to make the most of his night.
YOLO was among the shortlist for the Oxford English Dictionary's word of the year. It was beaten to the title of Word of the Year, which was awarded to Omnishambles.

The author blogs at amreekandesi. com and tweets as @amreekandesi

Reader's opinion (3)

Nolimitsankit Jul 23rd, 2013 at 18:41 PM

at last i have read it completely after all YOLO :)

Saddam FarooqDec 14th, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Nice and hilarious..make us feel old..well request to the writer ..daily doses like this will surely uplift the spirit ..please come back from the Vacation ...its almost a month and no new article:(

Prasanna ShankarNov 21st, 2012 at 00:35 AM

lolo ! i mean lol! enjoyed that one !

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