The term ‘generation gap’ as we all know is a big, dark, plane of frustration as we all have grown up. Hours spent in listening to the the glories of R. D. Burman, Morarji Desai, Satyajit Ray, Dhyan Chand, Amitabh, J. F. K, Castro, the Gandhis and so, who are praised to be the cultural stalwarts of supposedly the best era ever have been the subject of momentary pretentious admiration, flaunting retro lifestyle, unspoken silent curses and even impulsive disgust over anti-feminist, racist, orthodox, incapable people (not Indira and never J. F. K. of course) who couldn’t handle it and went away so fast (Big B excluded), so short.
Given the speed of today’s life, generation gap is the only sole truth you can feel as late as you wake up, sometimes at noon, with Ma’s jeers at our lazy routines and a completely messed up and hopeless, inbuilt biological clock. Worshipping the neighbour’s daughter who goes to the tutor’s at five in the morning, the milkman who’d ring the bells at six, the sun’s rays that helps the body synthesise vitamin D at seven is what you’d call our Kausalyaa Suh Prabhaata in the south and the morning Hanuman Chaalisa elsewhere. Thumping, meaningless and loud electronic music, fashion that is the bible of inappropriateness and unawareness which has stemmed up all the hatred for Twitter have been given a deaf ear and blind eyes. Why so?
Ever wondered if all our folks were praised by the hour for being so conservative, active and mannered? Or were they at all? Yes they were, taken. Is that ALL that was expected of them? Was something even expected? No. I dare not speak anything about the people who were well gifted with middle class lives when education was a scarce privilege. There are some hard hitting truths that our elders would never accept. Let’s say people who were born in the sixties and spent their teenage in seventies and eighties. Unemployment was the skyline, tuberculosis was the new age plague, tobacco smoking was a publicly admirable swagger and lifetime longevity was something either unknown or ignored. High infant mortality rate, a dozen kids every home and the way they treated women. Foreign investors were looting the country blind. They’d set up Carbide factories, pay the labourers shit, reap all the profits, subtly colonize the young nation’s economy in fields that were supposed to be our strongholds and answer irresponsibly when there’d be a disastrous gas leakage that’d kill thousands and affect generations to come. Bureaucracy was run on corruption. And youngsters were fighting untold, painful and a life threatening wars inside, against a society that would never let them fit in.
Directionless and bleak, countless lives were lost. Good, honest, students and youth that were taught to dream. Dream well and dream big, but were never provided with the syllabi, to always dream of a career that would require academic excellence. To always dream of a life under your father. And to always dream of a woman from your mother’s preapproved list of daughters in law. Healthcare was as far away as Mars and the States was as far away as the Moon.
Fast forward some three good decades, all you need to say to sum it all up, is smartphones. The magical, hard to believe, miraculous portal that will show you nothing more than another portal. Well, I’m not here to say anything about the internet. I hardly mean to say anything negative about it. I’m talking about smartphones. Glass slates, the modern day windows to take a peep at your neighbour’s room. Smartphones took illusions to the best level. Illusions that we, solely, have created, about ourselves. Again, I do not mean pretention. Pretentions are outwardly fancies and whims, which are aimed at achieving your description of perfection. Illusions are your barricades, set up as per your procedures. Silent lessons of pain, happiness, morphine and cyanide which push you through the hour to protect yourselves, is the illusion you create. Consciously, yes. Sub consciously, yes. It’s your basic way of life day in and day out.
One thing that I’ve learned so far after silently observing people in adversities (not many, but enough) is that society was never there. It’s a big, fat lie that we have been told from day one. I’ve seen nations, friends, races, castes, creeds, crews, political parties, regions, states, teams, families, communities but never, not even once, a society. You would be bobbing your head hard if you have felt what I have. I’m saying this out loud. And the one thing that made me say this was a small time electronic music critic, Kodwo Eshun’s book ‘More Brilliant Than The Sun.’ It’s a simple book which only aims at breaking every single norm that primitive jazz musicians had set, to create the futuristic true pulse music machine, “The Futurhythmachine.” I loved the way he let me lash out at Dean Morgan, The Beach Boys and Frank Sinatra for the way they moulded words to be the sole requirement for music because of which electronic, advanced genres of rock and pop-country music has difficulties getting accepted all over.
Sorry for getting dragged away. The point is that music has impacted smartphone users more than anything because it fulfilled our lust for melodies as they are readily available for a download, just a click away. We began searching for meanings through sounds. Background scores started to affect us more than songs, at times. That’s when I saw a direct relativity between jazz music transformation and the Indian youth and their barricades.
No matter how much we miss having a physical friend to talk to, we’ll always accept a WhatsApp contact and a Facebook friend as a substitution. I myself have a friend with whom I have shared everything, since the last two years. I know there is a person who is called so. Never have we hung out. Maybe waved a hi here and a hello there. I perform well as a WhatsApp contact they can lean on, and that is where some of their darkest secrets spill out. For you won’t know when there is an oil spill inside an oil rig. It’s a cycle. We all know, how in a virtual friendship, there is a submissive profile and a dominant profile.
Step 1 : Sub feels sorry.
Step 2 : Dom feels safe.
Step 3 : Dom feels happy.
Step 4 : Sub feels sad.
Step 5 : And before you can guess, the Dom is in a crisis again.
Return to Step 1.
And texts, words and chat screens have become our virtual reality. I say it again. Technology has offered us something far more resourceful. Connectivity to minds, not people. Minds that freckle, alter, hide and stand out bold. That can connect with a sense of oneness. It eliminates the pre written laws of civil communion and let’s you assume avatars as you love. Again, not pretention but mere self gratification. Unity is a mere description. But it begins at the level of a simple conversation. That said.
Our ability to accept betrayals, farewells and goodbyes readily is a coral curse, but a crux-al boon. And is how, someday, we shall present our children with not a society to fit in, but a utopian world to be proud of, where they won’t need to fit in. Never feel low about not fulfilling the parenthesis of perfection. We don’t aim at perfection in our physical self, but in our lives. Be a rebel. Terrorize the normal. Guerrilla warfare was meant for you. You already have a Che inside. Always be glad that you love at the speed of light.