Sunday, June 6, 2010

Back to the future

We all hear it too often – how ‘advanced’ the next generation is! How ‘different’ they would be

Am sure most of us have heard our mother say “we didn’t have the guts to speak in this way with our parents… you do not respect elders”. Our parents thought that way about us, mothers today would think the same way about the next gen.

Is it really true? Is the next gen going old world norms as we call it or are we heading backwards albeit in our own fashion?

The other day during a casual discussion, someone pointed out how probably in the next few years to come kids would address their parents with their first name and ‘mom’ ‘dad’ would be passé. One of them retorted… How can they! Absolute disrespect… we are going the American way…! Surprise my friend... even my grand mother & her siblings used to call their parents by their first name! And I have heard that there were more like them in their day and age.

The other day I was watching Swami & amp; friends… the classic by RK Narayan... it was interesting that the story set in a small town in pre-independence era had a protagonist who can pass off as a kid of today with changes in his attire. Independent, individualistic (he refused to go to the school because his principal punished him… forced his parents to accept his decision – talk about pester power!), friends meant the world to him; image conscious (borrows a ‘topi’ from a friend because his upper class friend Rajam is visiting him) the list can go on… so are these values really ‘new age’?

Talking about kids... many people believe that today’s kids are smarter than their age… that they are, but mostly due to increased exposure that they have in today’s generation. Just look at the architecture our forefathers have come up with (without the help of technology which the new age architects have), most of today’s discoveries are some where based on and / or are possible because of our forefathers’ inventions.

Realization dawned on quite a few post the cult movie 3 Idiots, that one should follow ones heart / passion & not make a career of what their parents want them to do, the new age gyaani went on to say how its excellence that is to be pursued and not winning over others – and that’s the new gen moto? Well, following your passion or hobby is definitely an “in” thing today… but is it really a “new” thing? Though I wasn’t born then... I am not sure if in 50s and 60s… it was believed you need to be an Engineer to gain respect and status in society. What was revered was excellence in your field of choice – be it a scientist, an administrator, a politician or an artist… you had to be excellent and you would be revered for it. It was “excellence” and not “winning over others” that mattered then – isn’t this what most of us loved about 3 Idiots?

So does it mean times have not changed? It would be wrong to conclude that way… times have changed, and changing too. ‘Idealism’ has made way to ‘being practical’, ‘grey’ is more prominent than ‘black and white’… ‘Materialism’ has replaced ‘simplicity / simple living’. The articulations, definitions of all these terms and values have changed with time… but still this is the age where AOL is making waves (old wine in a new bottle, anyone?). May be that’s why wheel symbolizes time… ‘kaal chakra’ because it comes in a full circle.

So, leaving it open for discussions with a nagging question on my mind… in future will we see more of ‘new age values’… or will the ‘best of old world values’ get recycled?

Written by : Aruna Priyadarshini

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