Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is my generation insane?

A very sad thing happened this Monday morning; a classmate of mine passed away in a car accident along with her mother, her grandmother and her brother, while her father is admitted in the hospital, fighting for his life. She was not a close friend, but then we have been studying together for the last twelve years, so the incident horrified me. May their souls rest in peace forever.

Generally, I would not be writing about such a sad incident; this is not the kind of news that one bandies about. However, I read a comment in one of my father’s blogposts that hit me hard, and induced me to write about this. Another classmate, a boy, has commented on the post saying that some of his friends were joking and laughing over the accident, as if it were a funny and trivial issue!

The boy wrote in his comment that these boys either have no feelings at all or are confused about what they feel. I will go one step further and say that these boys are bestial. This though would be an insult to animals, since most animals try their best to save a brother in trouble, and often express grief at the death of a member of the  tribe. Jim Corbett has rightly said in one of his stories that if the laws of the jungle were prevalent among human beings, we would be living in a much more civilized and humane society. The boy also wrote about his Biology teacher who jokes about how accidents can help control the population explosion in our country, and says that one or two dying now and then is not a big deal. This really frightens me. In the primary classes we were taught to think of our teachers just like our parents. If I had parents who had such perverse and psychopathic thoughts, I would surely have lived in constant fear for my life. These people are parents too, and I always feel sorry for their children. These are the parents who convince their children that the only reason to be alive is to get marks and get admission in the IITs. And these are the parents whose children can laugh when they hear about a classmate’s death.

I am a member of the generation in question, but since my parents have gone against the herd and consciously brought me up with a different set of values, I often get nasty shocks at my classmates’ behaviour. A very common and seemingly unimportant thing that everyone has witnessed sometime or the other is how youngsters occupy the seats in public buses while the aged remain standing. I remember once a classmate and I were returning from a tuition, and we had both been lucky to get seats in a packed bus. Moments after we had sat down, an elderly couple entered the bus. The man had a bent back, while the woman was limping and was obviously in pain. I immediately vacated my seat, and looked at my classmate, expecting her to do the same. But she kept staring pointedly out of the window and did not budge before I actually told her to do so, and then only because she was afraid I would otherwise haul her off the seat, which I am physically quite capable of doing. She got up unwillingly, gave me a glare and turned away, muttering curses under her breath! Since I have spent such a long time studying in a girls’ school (and those are actually much nastier than a co-ed or a boys’ school; I do wish some more girls/women would have the guts to acknowledge that publicly) I can think of dozens of other such instances which show how frightening the minds of many of these people are. In fact, I would not like to stay alone in a house with a great majority of them for my own safety. There’s no saying what one of them could do to take ‘revenge’ for some imagined hurt or just for the fun of seeing someone else hurt.

So where exactly has society gone wrong to have brought up a generation of teenagers with such warped and retarded senses? We have Art of Living classes galore, and Value Education is compulsory in most schools. In spite of that, we have teenagers who have little or no moral sense and responsibility. In fact, given enough power, I am sure we have a number of potential Hitlers and Stalins amongst us! I know for one that many of them, the girls especially, will grow up to be the worst kind of parents whose only contribution to their children’s lives would be making them miserable.

I often discuss this issue with my father, and we wonder about where the real problem lies. One thing that both of us agree on is that these teenagers have been simultaneously spoiled rotten to the extreme and been subjected to endless irrational restrictions right from childhood. I have had a very different childhood, where my parents have treated me like an equal, and so I have been given the same freedom as well as the same duties and responsibilities that they have. Today, I am obviously very unlike most of my classmates in my likes and dislikes, tastes and preferences, hobbies, and my entire lifestyle is a puzzle to them. Many of my classmates have this idea that I have to live under military discipline and my parents run a concentration camp at home! Otherwise they simply cannot fathom how a teenager could NOT enjoy partying, shopping, gossiping and willingly do things like reading, housekeeping or studying! With the kind of mentality that most of these teenagers have, and the kind of marks- and looks-obsessed, unscrupulous environment that they have grown up in, it is little wonder that terrifying accidents get such disgusting reactions from them. I can now understand how the Romans could enjoy watching ‘games’ like chariot racing and gladiator fighting. People like to say “Nowadays the world is becoming so bad and ugly”, but in reality the world has always been like this, and people have always been saying the same thing, be it four hundred years ago, or a thousand. That’s my only consolation: only a tiny handful try to be different, always, everywhere.

However, there is no denying that good people are still around. While some boys felt like joking about the incident, another girl has organized a prayer-and-donation meet in an orphanage in the memory of the deceased this Friday afternoon. The girl is my classmate, and is someone whom I always took to be a typical senseless teenager. I must say I am pleasantly surprised. All I wish is that we had more people like her around. That would have made the world a much happier and more peaceful place.