Monday, January 19, 2009

Buzurgon ne kahan hai ki...

I got a chance to spend a considerable amount of time with my grand-uncle (my grand-father's brother) in the last week - his illness being the reason that I was off blogging for the past 7 odd days. In-depth discussions and debates, logical arguments and counter-arguments on a variety of topics have been the characteristic of this relationship. One such topic of discussion was the generation gap and what are the differences that prevail between his generation and mine and hence, are we truly better off than our fore-fathers... We discussed this topic thoroughly, touching on science & technology, religion, politics, economic and social changes and a host of other subjects but what stayed with me was the New-Indian-Middle-Class-Nuclear-Family that has emerged in our generation. So what am I talking about? Let me elaborate...

A lot of my friends are getting married in 2009 and hence, marriage is a common and favourite topic among us. And today, all the Dulhes want their Dulhaniyas to be qualified and employed. The couple would want a dual-income set-up to be financially strong and independent. After marriage, they want to spend atleast a few years away from their immediate families, giving time to each other to understand and adjust to each others' comforts and concerns, valuing their freedom and independence. The joint-family system has given way to the nuclear system where the definition of a family is limited to Hubby, wifey and kiddi(es). They are in control of their lives, demanding that parents relinquish their 'interferences' and give them space. They lead a fast-paced life-style, battling traffic, board-meetings, presentations and managing responsibilities at home. In my home, I may do my laundry after midnight, may give marathon amount of clothes for ironing every two weeks, sleep late, buy groceries and provisions every weekend, do epic amounts of cooking for the week etc. To my parents and grand-parents, it looks to be an undisciplined, chaotic life. But, to me and loads of other married, working women and men, it is a convenient way of life since it is the only time we have. Men no longer can say that they will not contribute to the house-work. I think the relationship is much more equitably balanced, with both the partners sharing the load. Couples no longer want kids within a year of marriage. The Dual-Income-No-Kids is increasingly becoming accepted. Time is very precious and so weekends are strictly reserved for family and couples dislike intrusions by neighbours, bosses and even relatives and friends.

The hand-phone, SMSes, e-mails have increasingly become a part of the couple's daily life. I have my hand-phone in the power-on mode 24*7. It is a compulsive need to be connected all the time. Same goes for e-mails. I have friends who refresh their inboxes every 3-4 minutes to check for new mails. Scraps, twitters, commenting on blogs are the norm today for keeping in touch. Orkut, Facebook, chat rooms and other social networking sites have seen record memberships due to this new surge of online netizens. We no longer read news-papers. E-paper, news sites, RSS feeds, Google Reader keep us more updated than never before. We buy flight / train / bus / movie tickets online, send flowers and e-cards on special occasions through the Internet, read digitized books and do video-conferencing as if we were born with these skills. We are way more comfortable with living with loans and credit than our previous generations.

English has become the universal language. What with a rise in inter-state marriages and it being a common work-place language, couples transcend linguistic barriers to speak the Queen's language at home as well. Popularity of yoga, power-yoga, meditation, Art of Living are on an all-time rise, being directly proportional to increase in stress in our lives. We love to immerse ourselves in reality shows - Bigg Boss, Indian Idol, Nach Baliye - where we feel a sense of God-like power and control by voting, deciding the fate of the contestants.

The vegetable markets have given way to retail stores and super / hyper marts where all provisions are available under one roof. Branding matters a lot to us - we are more quality conscious. Instant foods, Ready-made Masalas, 'Just-add-water-and-serve', 'Heat-and-serve' are our savers when we have sudden guests / reach home too late to cook / traveling and there is no-one to cook / don't know how to cook :) All the secret tips and yummy recipes which my mother had inherited from her mom / mom-in-law will be lost to my next generation. There is no Handing-Over-Taking-Over (HOTO) as we call it, in HR terminologies, when an employee resigns. I may be able to teach my daughter how to multi-task between her career and her home, how to pick up the veggies which can make quick dishes, which appliances are mandatory to run a home (vacuum-cleaner, dish-washer, washing machine, refrigerator etc) but I will not be able to pass on to her how to make elaborate meals which take hours of preparation; how to sew, mend, knit, embroider; how to keep a house spick and span; how to give effective child-care without the aid of a maid / play-school / crèche / day-care center... These were a given in the generation of my parents but today, cooking elaborate dishes is a relaxation and embroidery is a hobby.

There are so many subtle changes that differentiate us from our forefathers… are we really better off than they were - well, in some ways we are. Our life has become convenient, more comfortable and more connected, we are more aware, educated and have access to vast information at the click of a button but unfortunately, we do not have as much time to enjoy it, given the stress and strain of modern city life.Technology has given us ease but we have become more demanding and less satisfied. We today, not only want a television but it has to be a 39” plasma HDD TV with 450 stations, a DVD Drive with Blue-tooth connectivity and split screen technology. I think we have got used to a fast life where we may have physical comforts but deteriorating mental peace and perennially short of time.


  1. u kno everyone...b it ol or us...liked or like d way they lived or live...wid thier own definition of comfort

    wid generations d gap is bound to come...but yes we can neva match up to d kinda peace of mind that used to exist...we wake up in d middle of d night worryin abt even a nice ac room wid all d facilities can give us dat...we have come too far ahead or rather we have gone too far away

  2. Yeah there's bound to be a wider and wider gap as we advance and we have newer generations coming up, not just new generation of people but a whole lot of new generation gadgets as well... we would probably seem bewildered with what the next generation has to offer, just like the present gets baffled with us! People want to live more for themselves than for anybody else and frankly, I don't see anything wrong with it... but that's my mindset and everybody may not agree with me!

  3. I wouldn't like the food part to change.

    "Mummy logon ka recipes" are so good :-)

  4. Our life has become convenient, more comfortable and more connected and worse, more complicated! :(

  5. Nice ..... Its high time we spread the message of lost respect to our elders ........

    Its a new generation thing to spread the right message via blogs ......... :)

  6. I have always felt that we discuss these things because we have something left in us of the earlier generation. Think about your children. They would have seen only the present generation, and would actually think living life this way is the only way.
    I have always felt life is complicated by comparisons, and by looking at standards and benchmarks.
    Live it the way you want . But respectfully.

  7. i know this completely out of context but..
    you actually do all that work???

  8. This was an excellent post and timely. There are vast differences in both generations. I lay somewhere in between. Though I was handed down some skills from my mother, I adopted my own to better fit my lifestyle and today's times. Because we live in such a high-paced society we have become more skilled in living more efficiently and smarter - who wants or can spend three hours cooking a meal when they work a full-time job, really? And, as far as using credit, I have to say that is how I live. To me, it is far more convenient to carry a card than to carry cash. Some of the old ways are good, as well as the new improved ways. We can certainly learn from both.

  9. I so loved this post and it reminded me of my grandmother and the way she used to talk abt all this with me.

    I completely agree with you on all points... I myself wonder wat will I pass on to my next generation!

    Wonderful post.

  10. @ mayz : Agree. Just as they say - Money can buy you a bed but no
    sleep... no amount of advancements are worth sleepless, disturbed minds.

    @ Akansha Agrawal : I agree to an extent. If living completely for oneself is possible in its complete sense and that brings peace of mind,it is great. But we are social beings, bound by our responsibilities towards our families and so we can't (and don't want to, really) get out of these ties. Sure, with tech advancements, there are more wonders that are in line but in all of these, I hope we don't lose out on our core selves.

    @ Anish : :) Absolutely, Maa ke haath ka khaana is THE BEST!!!

    @ sawan : It is how you see it, actually!

    @ Rahul Viswanath : Yeah... blogs are one of the better ways of communication today

    @nsiyer : I believe in the policy of live and let live but we do need role models and for most children, they happen to be parents in their growing years... I hope we can set such standards for our children to emulate...

    @Jinxed Pixie : :) Yup, I enjoy it thou, 'coz I have a life-partner who does an equal share of work and its fun to be a home-maker for the few hours outside my office!

    @ Rebecca : Completely... we need to take the best of both the worlds.

    @ Harshita : Thanks!

  11. well with convenience comes a set of compromises, which we make and then not even ponder over. it isnt compromise for most because they consider it routine. think over it, do u not compromise your health happiness heart and soul over the conveniences?

  12. so true!

    the cartoon at the starting of the post made me go lol

    and one more thing to add to this weird things list gen x does

    they say 'L O L 'in conversations too instead of actually laughing

  13. whatever happened to "simple living and high thinking"! Its a sign of the times.

  14. wow.....beautiful much in sync with todays times....i think most of us can identify with the fast paced life that you have so vividly much as we lament about the declining family values because of nuclear family concept, it is something we need to thrive today...

  15. hey dew! very nice post.. and i so loved the picture you have on this post. its awesome! :)

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