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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Life as we knew it...

'Change', they say, is the only constant. I've never actually understood this line, so now whenever I hear it, I go, 'whatever that means'. But it still happens, right? There's change. More so when you're finally feeling comfortable and you don't want to move for a long long while, change will happen and begin a new process of 'adjustment' all over again. During a particularly boring guest lecture, I was reminiscing about the way life was when we were kids. (Not that I don't listen to guest lectures, but this one had exceeded the 'too boring' category) How it was so different from what it has now become. We were different. I guess it's because of the different ways of living (thanks to 'modernization') and because of the differences in our thinking as we grow up. Agreed? 

I'm yet again typing on impulse (I still haven't checked with a psycho-doctor for my priority issues :P) and I'll try to make it short as I want to get off the laptop to do important stuff like assignments (ahem). Okay, to read books. There, I said it. Happy to leave me embarrassed (not!)? 

1. Technology/gadgets
I'm going just 15-20 years in the past. OK, make that 15. I'm 20 and I'm pretty sure I hadn't started noticing 'life' as soon as I was born! Back then we had one landline phone set in a small shelf on a huge multi-purpose shelf and as far as phones go, that was that. The kids weren't supposed to pick up the phone if adults were home (which was always) and even if we did, we were made to learn basic 'phone etiquette' so that we wouldn't end up embarrassing our parents in case their boss(es) called. We turned teenagers and gawked over the Panasonic mobile handset that belonged to dad, very happy that we wouldn't again have to call up his office and have to listen to 'please wait while your call is transferred', whenever we felt like talking to him. And the best part? Everyone was always happy. No issues over missed calls, no fights over cell phones and we still stayed very well 'connected'.

Just thinking about the scene as it is now, gives me the shudders (the real ones, it's not just a phrase). Talking about how it is with us, who saw the landline phase and the entry of cell phones, I guess we're still handling it better (talking only about the sane ones). We all have our own cell phones now and personally, I feel we should get one only after school. It's such a distraction. I mean, yes, we do easily 'connect' and we have so many 'apps', those that can even count the number of steps we take while walking, but it doesn't mean we'll die without them. That's part of the reason why I'm still stuck to my basic Nokia. I just don't want my life to be dominated by a device that might just stop working tomorrow! I can't believe how we are so dependent on them now. As for the poor generation that's being manufactured born in the recent years, those guys have really been unfortunate. One, they see their parents so engrossed in cell phones that they want their own as soon as they start their 'boo baahs'. Tell me, don't you go all 'awww' when you listen to a young mom telling you how her 1.3 year old can effectively operate a mobile phone? I admit, I say 'nice' on the face too, but I actually feel disgusted. Do you even know how harmful it can be? 

Thanks to alarmingly huge developments in this field and due to the increasing 'trends' among kids and adults alike, kids as young as 10 years old own a Blackberry (I've seen!), gush proudly about how they spend their weekends on movies, trying different restaurants in malls and shopping. I'm not saying it's wrong, but why don't you take kids to parks and monuments, national museums, scenically beautiful places and natural wonders? But you get them playstations when they're hardly 5 (I've seen, again!) and then crib about how the kid doesn't do his homework. Puh-leez! People shouldn't be allowed to be parents unless they pass a test on 'effective parenting'! We're just creating machines, not people! The biggest drawback of this 'too-much-gadget-use' is the lack of empathy or 'people' skills they have. 

What's a life when you don't know how to think beyond your own self?

2. People, relationships and friendships
I'm almost on the verge of an angry outburst as I think about this. It's so sad! The external changes in the environment, in people around us, in our life, definitely bring a change in us. I'm not exactly the girl I used to be when I was in middle school, not like I was in high school, not like I was in college, maybe not even how I was yesterday (after a lot of thinking, I know it's true). We change, everyday. Most of it comes from the new way of living. We've found out simpler solutions and so we don't exert as much effort as we would have before. We don't mind sending kids for tuition even if they don't need it because everyone else is. We give expensive cell phones/iPads/iPods to our teenage children on their birthdays or just on days they get their report cards instead of that good old family outing and a toy they've been wanting forever! ('we' is a general term, don't take the pain of racking your brains trying to understand how I could have teenage kids :P) But then again, the kids don't want toys, do they? We've exposed them to so much of technology, they simply understand it as an imperative part of their lives. We've become more 'I-centric' than being 'We-centric' and we're just making our kids learn the same. 

Pic courtesy: Google ji!

Why have you ditched the joint families? Okay, don't live with everyone, but why move out from your parents' place? You don't live in the US or UK or other western countries. And don't tell me you actually don't miss their presence. Besides, your kids are missing out on the most important aspect in their lives-the love of grandparents! 

With simpler ways of living, we respected each other more. Relationships were formed not on the basis of the number of gadgets you have or the car you drive, but depended on what you are as a person. You said 'Hi' only when you meant it and got a reply with a warm and welcoming smile. You were happy, really, very happy. And then you decided that materialistic things were more important to you, that you could hit your kid easily if he made a scratch on your car's shiny boot. Really? Are you even human now? Just feel like sharing a personal example. I was small and loved to be creative. I loved crayons, paints, modelling clay, sketch pens and markers. And walls. I made a small drawing on a wall and turning back, saw dad. I guess I would have felt ashamed. But the next thing I remember, we had walls with scribblings (my younger brother would have obviously participated) and scratches and drawings done with crayons and pencils all over the room. It stayed like that for months! Or more, I don't know. The only restriction was that this activity was confined to one room- the main entrance, the drawing room. We had relatives from the US visiting us that time and one of them remarked a shocked 'What's this?', to which dad replied with a smile, 'Well, it's a drawing room'. :)
I heard this from mom while I was pestering her for incidents from the past. I'm willing to make a bet on the number of people these days would do this.

Coming to friends, it's relatively so easy to make friends as kids. We don't see how they look, what car they drive, where they live. We just see someone playing on the team we're put into and we're friends! Done!  We never ever think of what another would think if we make someone a friend, if we talk to anyone because we feel they have a lot to share that we'd like to know. It's simple and pure. And then we grow up and if we're some lousy 'Benetton-only-wearing' person, we'd probably be with similar people. We make friends strategically. Even bad, we like to make fun of people! (As if we're perfect our-self). We think we're superior and others are just stupid and not worth our time. Sometimes when we see another talking to someone, we wonder if they have any hidden motives. Maybe they're being friends because it'd be easier to do your work? Or maybe because they're interested in the other? Where is the 'we' of our past, where we never even considered such mundane things? 

Look around, there's a lot to see. People are good, and decent and simple. If they're handing out sweets randomly to our kid, it doesn't always mean they're thinking something weird. If they're just trying to talk/be friends, doesn't mean we over-think it. Stay cautious, but don't be harsh on the poor souls who might not even think that way! Grow up, but learn, too. 

Appreciate those who want you to smile. They're never the ones who'd ever hurt you.


  1. Loved loved loved this post Ashna... I can relate to what you are feeling right now. Anger is perhaps not the right word though as I feel disappointed!

    This is one of the main reasons why I feel I was born in the wrong time. I should have been born sometime in the 60s to enjoy 80s as my adulthood rather than be in this selfish world. The meanings have changed so drastically for everything including love :')

    1. Haha!! The feeling is mutual! Yes, that's what I hate the most. That the definitions of love, relationships and friendship is so different now. It's just not the same. :|

      Thanks for reading and for the lovely comment too! :)

  2. completely agree with you........I too am sad about the tehnology things delving deeper in our lives than it needs to, specially with kids.
    sorry took it up late, had a few priorities :-)

  3. Though I do relate to the whole post, I feel bad and sad, more than anything, about the instigation and commercialisation of 'I, Me, Myself'. We, human beings, are supposed to be social, and not that 'social' which means establishing your image and importance of your self in the society but the social which means caring and helping others without any prejudice.
    And it has gone missing from all the so called 'forward' societies. 'Me' only creates virtual happiness whereas the real happiness is in 'We'. :)

  4. Agreed!
    The fear calling a crush and have his parent answer the phone.
    Or worse, a crush calling us and having our parents answer.
    The prank calls to random numbers.
    The clouding of telephones seem surreal somehow.

    ❤Not Just My Allegories❤

    1. @ Priyaa: I'm glad you agree. And no worries! :)

      @ Usama: Agreed. Love your lines! If only we could learn to live. :|

      @ Anisha: Hi! Welcome to my blog. :) I'm happy to know you share my viewpoint.

  5. I could actually connect with this one. I was born in a joint family of more than 15-16 people. Since My brother and I were twins, I was raised up by my grandmother. I used to be a good child ( even now sometimes :p) so mom wouldn't mind to share her love with grany. But soon we had to depart because dad's brother's hurt him to such extent he left his home. We started our small family in a rented house for 6 years. That changed me completely. I was never like how I was, mentally, emotionally it challenged me. I had to grow up being independent because by then mom started giving all the attention to my little sister who was just 3 when we shifted.

    We three children would page our dad to get chocolated on his pager when he was out of town. All we did was call up Customer executive, give the code and message. And tadaa daddy would get it. Then came mobile. big sized and then small sized. My first mobile was panasonic. I Wish i never had a mobile in my life when I was in 9th grade. My setbacks are because of it.

    I have seen many of my friends changing. So because of their reaction, I too changed myself. I wanted to be happy not waste time on people who did not deserve it.

    Loved your take on we-centric rather than i-centric. I think you should go through Neil Postman's 5 important things one should know about technology. Will give you much better insight on so called technology.

    Sorry a little big comment. But couldn't resist. :)Good one, simple and connecting.

  6. It's actually overwhelming to have learned so much about you. Thanks for that! As I never had a cell phone while in school and I saw other kids with them, I guess I can understand what you mean. There's a difference, actually. You just grow up too soon.

    I'll definitely go through Neil Postman's points! Thank you so much for this wonderful comment. Loved every bit of it! :D


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