Saturday, July 08, 2006

what GAP?

warning: this has nothing to do with that fashion label.... read on..

you know, the other day,

my mom and me got talking.. and looking through her school and college pics, made me realise that the so called generation gap, is not aboutdifferent ideas, or attitudes.. hell no... ask you parents how their teenage days went.

they would list their favorite music, which would include western music, they would have tried experimenting with their looks, clothes.. they too, like us, would have believed in same illusion- that we discovered what love feels like..

only the names would have changed.. the bell bottoms of yesterday, have become the pedal pushers of today( i can hear the divas, goin- " pedal pushers, are like, so yesterday!!!")

the elvis and beatles have been replaced by today's pop assembly line icons.. ( fact is though, none of today's greats, could hold a "candle in the wind" to the greats of those days)

the cary grant and gregory peck has been replaced by the tom cruises of today( dont worry, i cringed while writing this line too)..

point is though, that we grow up, believing that we are so unlike our parents, that it's next to impossible to make them see the truth( " You wouldnt understand dad, you have never been in love!")..

but as i looked at my mom's photo, where her 'gang'(her words, not mine) and her, posed with their arms around each's shoulders, i was struck at how yours truly too, had taken a pic in the exact pose...

i think it's time we acknowledged the truth of our predicament.. the fact is, there exists not a generation gap, but one of communication..

few of us have the ability, to carry on a conversation, entirely in one language.. sooner or later, english or hindi, will make their presence felt..

and honestly, if one were to read the english that our grandparents had to endure, at their school level, i am not sure how many of us would emerge unscathed, from the rigours of spellings and grammar.

nothing can be( should be, could be, actually ;) ) greater proof of this, than the mushrooming of the english speaking classes all around you..

i see some students, handle math and science with ease, but tremble at the prospect of entering the group discussion or public speaking opportunities..

and how many of us could actually speak for an hour, without some expletives creeping into our talk? very few of us, i am sure..

and let's get started started on the most essential area, which has become non existent almost, today..

the art of letter writing..

growing up in an era of TV, and phones, and mailing and chatting, it's not a surprise to me, that the basic and beautiful art of letter writing, has become a relic of a glorious past..

reading the letters written by my dad to his dad, i was struck by the beautiful composition of it, and the symphonic structuring of the letter.. when i asked him, on how he could come up, with such poignant verse, he had a simple observation to make.

" each letter, to me, representd an oppurtunity, to communicate with someone, to tell them, what was my current state of mind. and such opportunities presented themeselves rarely.. maybe once or twice a month, if you could save enough.. so, each letter was crafted with care... i approached it like a scripting session.. made rough copies, re read it, and read it again.."

they took care to see to it, that each letter was one worth cherishing. and such handwriting!!! sigh! seeing the letters my parents wrote to each other, in the months following their engagement, i am entirely convinced, that insofar as handwriting goes, i am truly the black sheep in the family.

but i digress. the point i am trying to make, is that in today's times, we take every thing for granted.. but somewhere down the line, in the pursuit of ease of communication, we lost the penchant for the beauty of careful prose..

think over this.. ten years from now, what will remain of the chats, or conversations that you have had? mere text files, subject to the horrors of magnetism..

you can never wrap them up in cloth, to be looked at again whever you wanted.. you can never look at a computer screen and become wistful.. somehow, paper is the best medium for making one thoughtful..

sure, we have made tremendous economic and social progress..but still, somehow, we have become stilted, when it comes to making our fellow beings, understand what we wish t tell them..

imagine this.. even today, if in the office or class, u see a person who is extraordinarily proficient in english, the most common epithet that is bestowed on him/her is " shakespeare"..

400 years have passed, yet he remains the benchmark, by which we measure the lingual abilities of people.. and find everyone, wanting...