Keep the pace or else…


Generation gap is something most of us experience almost in every walk of life. Be it home, workplace, college campus or even a public place, ‘seniors’ are seen giving a scornful look to the GenX. While elderly people think youngsters are forward, for the latter elderly are always orthodox.
One such interesting discussion unfolded in my family after a birthday party. Veterans in the family felt out-of- place at the retro theme party. Dressing, games and food serving style were as per the theme. Of course, some ‘funky’ ways were inevitable though those couldn’t relate to them found them ‘weird’. That party was a hot topic in my family for a couple of days as the orthodox had something to debate.
One of my aunts, who had probably not understood relevance of the theme, jumped the gun. “What kind of the dresses are they wearing? The birthday boy’s mother should be in a saree or a nice Salwar suit. Bell-bottom doesn’t make sense…”
After she set the tone, there were many to follow suit. All in all, the veterans termed the party ‘too modern’, dressing and jewelry ‘intolerable’ and games, dances and entrainment progarmmes ‘uncalled for’. Even as the aunt was hitting the roof, one of my sensible sisters stepped in. “Gone are the days when everyone dressed the way you liked. Where did you have any innovation since your world revolved around sarees and gold jewellery?” she said unable to take their extreme comments.
I was keeping mum. To draw me in, one of the aunts asked me my opinion about the party. I told them what I sincerely felt. ‘‘Dressing shouldn’t be divided as traditional or modern, Indian or Western. Decency is the key factor. It all depends on everyone’s profile and how an individual carries oneself. How do you label me traditional or modern if I wear an ethnic dress but refuse to display jewellery, which I don’t like to do?’’
Interestingly, there is a lot more to this generation gap than what meets the eyes. Here is a girl, who is working with professionals and still those modern people consider her more modern for her overall opinions, dressing and indulgence in smoking and drinking. Though people don’t react, the girl raises eyebrows. For many, she is an epitome of modernity. Surprisingly, I heard her expressing her astonishment over ‘today’s generation’.
For the previous generation, this girl was ‘height of modernity’ and for her today’s teenagers were ‘a touch too forward’. “They are exposed to everything so early. Their concerns, talks and everything are way different from ours when we were their age ….”
Ways and mannerisms keep changing. To me, the parameters we apply for the ‘generation-gap’ are inadequate. Dressing sense, mannerism, driving, smoking, drinking, jewellery, is life all about these things? Has modernity anything to do with age? It’s an outlook.
We evolve from generation to generation and yes, there could be some sort of degeneration on some front. Those who keep pace with time don’t feel out of place. Again, changes within a generation are subtle. They may not always be visible.
The terms traditional and modern are not enough when we talk about generation. Something we call modern today would be traditional tomorrow and today’s modern-most person would be tomorrow’s orthodox.
Blessed are those who can perceive subtle changes and go with time and rare are those who think ahead of time, regardless of their ages. 
-KanChan

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