Posted by: Neeraj | November 15, 2009

Why the twain shall never meet?

There is this thing called the generation gap which has been talked of so often with the people on each side of the twain failing to understand the other’s view point. I am afraid that with time this gap will increase, at least, between the next couple of generations. I say this because we still need to do a lot of catching up with the West and most of that will happen over the next 20 years. One of the main reasons is that with technological advancement, the water that flows under the bridge has become faster and the gap between the two generations increasingly wider.  Let me try and explain with a few examples.

The major reasons for a difference in opinion between my small town grandfather and a big ambitioned father could have been moving to a bigger city with better work opportunities, though both of them would have in principle agreed to the concept of marriage, children, staying together and forever in a large joint family. Both of them would have respected their elders and treated themselves as the king of the house, and agreed to the tradition of not paying so much attention to their wives and kids and always acquiescing with their elders. Since both lived in an economy that did not provide both understood the concept of frugality and would have scoffed at the idea of wasteful spending. Then, religion and politics would have been something they would have indulged in throughout their lives considering them to be an important ingredient for a fulfilling life.

Then came my generation. With the opening of the economy came disposable income and the freedom to give life to our dreams. So we began to differ more vocally with the older generation. The concept of neutral family and an independent house began to gain weight. With money came the influence of money and the need to possess more of it. So, the women of the house began to venture out and enjoy their new found freedom. Television by now had become an important part of each household.  What our generations passively witnessed and never realised was the impact that would be made by the advent of the computer, the internet, email, IMs, the cable tv and the mobile phone. And while we were busy enjoying the fruits of a new India order we happily copulated and produced the new, more advanced mutant of the species called humans.

The new generation is technically far superior and work intuitively with technology, not afraid if they see a new gadget everyday. In fact they thrive on new things, be it the latest version of Windows , Google chrome, a vanity url on FB, reading news online, sitting all the time on their computers. With technological advancement they  know so much more at their age than we did at ours and the pace at which they gobble anything new makes the already big gap, bigger. This new mutant is more assertive, more knowledgeable, sexually liberated, has an opinion on almost everything, feel an AC, a computer, an internet connection and a mobile as accessories indispensible for living. They have an entirely different interpretation of the traditional definition of the words respect, elders, family and independence. They are a socially more responsible, non-infringing  people who believe in the mantra of living their own life without interference and advise.  Above all, they have the confidence to take on anyone in the world which the older, docile, diffident,  hierarchy-respecting generation never had. And the biggest difference is in these new skills/ attitude that we still struggle to acquire and the inherent ease and spontaneity with which the newer generation wears them.

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Responses

  1. Beautiful post!! The skill/attitude that you said is inherent in the newer generation is because they do not have to struggle for food shelter, clothing as our forefathers. The necessities now are health, education, electricity and connectivity. The fear of survival has gone and which gives the strength for risk taking and hopefully will lead to newer inventions/ventures.

  2. you’re a writer!
    little did i know.

    btw, it’s the air of the era we’re born in develops our perception.

  3. Very well written and composed.

    Neeraj, between generations there always has and will remain a gap but have you ever wondered what never changes and I am more than sure will never change?
    I guess it is “Aspiration” and ” Nostalgia”.

    People of any generation aspire to have the best the time and technology provides them at that moment of time, so for our great grandfathers it would have been a horse or a horse driven carriage, what he would have aspired to have.
    For next it would have a bicycle then a car etc.
    So no matter to what generation you belong to your aspirations are limited to the “best of your time within your possibility and your ability”.
    So in this matter nothing has changed deep inside the generation gap, some where on surface level you do see changes.

    Now, as you meet your aspiration with difficulty, you find that you are already through the “TIME” and what you are left with is “NO TIME” and you are left all alone. Hence comes the “Nostalgia” is picture, as that is the only thing you are left with.

    So what ever you did, what ever you saw and what ever you achieved and in whatever way you achieved it becomes important to you and here starts the clash of ego and generation gap.

    So I feel it is not the technology, or gadgets or any thing which is the core reason of generation gap.

    Sujeet

  4. Very well written Sujeet. Without your realising it almost became a blogpost itself. Yes, I understand your perspective too. But as we transit from the younger generation to the older generation (more true for you than me) we should try to remember this and not lose perspective and try hard to bridge that divide.

  5. @Sujeet — Nice catch .. cant agree more ..

    @Neeraj – First Zero Percentile is awesome ….next albeit we have generation Gap between our father /grandfather..The affection remains same ,unlike westerners who detray from their clan …. but if your upbringing between 10 to 15 yrs is in abroad, then its hard to imbibe that culture ….but with more accesible technology and western lifestyle.. you never knew ..whats in store..


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