After every seven years, you are a new biological person. Defining the boundaries of a new generation is a difficult question and doesn’t have any objective criterions. As against the present times, a man released after 30 years in jail in 550 AD wouldn’t have had to deal with the strangeness of cellphones, cable-TV, high rises and short skirts.
In Indian context, I would say that those born after 1987 are the current generation. They don’t know that Door-Darshan was simply called TV, those driving Maruti-800 were considered rich, they probably have never heard about Cibaca Sangeet Mala and the SurTaaz Bigul, and they didn’t witness the emergence of Sachin Tendulkar. By the time they were five, the waves of globalization had begun engulfing the country.
You hear a lot of “Kids these days are so smart” chat these days just because they know a lot and can play with gadgets. They absorb a lot of filth shown on TV. Life used to be simpler in those days when we just had Ramayana and Vikram-Baital for our fantasies.
My younger brother (Bala) and I used to have Yudhha with bow and arrows. It was a pattern with every game that I played to win while he played for fun. However, one particular day he was extra ferocious and caught me by surprise with his Brahmastra baan. The moment I died, he walked two steps towards the wall and shouted “Pushpa Varsha”. Three kids were waiting with flowers on terrace and threw them on him chanting “Dhanya ho Bala! Bala ki Jay ho!” Watch this video to gain the perspective.
Inspired by the Olympics of 1988, we used to have a fight-hour everyday after the school which included boxing, karate, kushti etc with strict rules like no pinching, hair-pulling, ijjat se khelna (pulling down shorts) and no going to momma crying after getting beaten. The last rule used to be broken sometimes or to shut him up I had to carry my brother on my shoulders (Vikram-Baital style) while he used my ears to navigate left and right turns. To begin pillow fight, we used to pretend as if we are laborers carrying heavy sacks (pillows) on the back and looking up at a fictitious aero-plane in the sky. Then we would collide and shout at each other “Abe saamne dekh ke nahi chal sakta” and then in rage, attack each other with our sacks.
Whenever there was any chat of naughty toddlers at home, my mom would start “Humara chotaa bahut badmaash tha…” When I confronted her once for any tales of my childhood adventures, the only claim to fame was “Isko to jahaan chodd do, 2 ghante baad wahin baitha milta tha”.
And then there were trips to villages, where we ran around in fields in 45 degree Sun, sat on bullock carts, bought 5 paisa burf-ka-gola and saw death been taken lightly. There was no need to divide players while playing cricket. Caste did it for us. It used to be Patils vs us. I was in a pretty good form in one such match and when I played a shot high in the air on leg side, the Patils shouted “Sursyaaa, Catch Ghe” who was supposed to be fielding there. Suresh becomes Sursyaaa in Marathi. However, Sursyaa was shitting outside the boundary at that time. For 70% India, the whole world is a toilet. I am probably the only batsman in cricket history whose catch has been dropped because the fielder was squatting to answer nature’s call. I wish I could show that video to bowlers when they angrily scream for catches that even a fifteen footer couldn’t have taken at the boundary.
Given a choice though, I would like to be born in present times. The only disadvantage I see is that there is a lot of borrowed wisdom nowadays due to easy accessibility to knowledge. It is a painful experience to read about a 14 year old blogger impressed by Ayn Rand’s philosophy since she was eleven. I am not against 14 year olds blogging and reading books. In fact, not very proud of myself that I read my first book at 19. But they must be shielded from stupid ideas until they acquire the abilities to judge them.
Taking things to be cool because they are western and different happens a lot these days. In Kharagpur, I once entered into the room of a friend who was shouting “We Don’t Need No Education” with Pink Floyd. That was the age when many of us spent days with drug, masturbation and rock n’ roll. Ok, replace drug with alcohol.
My reaction to that guy was “Saale nakli. Din me 25 ghunta padh padh ke IIT clear kiya hain. Abhi Stanford me Ph.D. ke liye apply kiya hain. Sun-na hain to sun ye gaana. Lekin feeling ke saath chillane ka natak mat kar.” I mean seriously. I don’t get the head-banging people over here do in rock concerts while listening to a number on Vietnam War when they can’t even locate it on the Map, let alone know reasons behind the lyrics. And they yell with rage “Daddy what you leave behind for me..”. Bhai , bharat ek parivarik type ka desh hain. We have mostly loving families here who want to leave behind as much as possible for their kids. The only single parents you would find in India would be Preity Zinta in “Kya Kehna” or Sushmita Sen in adopted reality. Teenagers here stay with their parents and the only ones who are independent and start earning by the age of sixteen, usually don’t have access to such songs.
Recently I read a blog of a teenager who was 17 and worried about getting older. She already has doubts that she would die a lonely dame. Let me recite a recent incident for her. Bala and I would be going home next week. We’ve been playing cricket on our terrace since the time it was built. Bala told me that when he informed Mom of our plans to come, she said this to the maid “Baai, chat (Terrace) achche se saaf kar dena. Bahche aa rahen hain. Cricket khelenge.” Of course, if my mom would have had her way, it would have been our kids for whom the terrace shall be cleaned.
PS: Preeti has tagged me here with the title of the post.