Sins of the Fathers

October 4, 2008 at 12:42 am | Posted in BULLY, Issues | 1 Comment
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Needless to say, things were quieter and slower when we were young.  Information [news, in those days] travelled slowly, if at all. ‘Shocking’ events and ‘startling’ developments were unknown. Life was more peaceful; but then, others have made that observation about those times, earlier. The annual Bihar floods used to be seen at the cinema theatre in the nearby town, many months after the event; and often, after drought had replaced the floods. Now, it is second by second beaming. Remember the Mullaperiyar coverage in Malayalam channels.
Though those great times of blissful tranquillity are gone, we of those times are still around, in our late fifties or later. We have been tackling the changes around us in lifestyles and attitudes by laboriously transforming and painfully adapting ourselves. Some of us are still in paid employment and have to perforce learn new things to survive.
But the TV, Mobile phone and Net revolutions of the past decade or so are emotionally too much even for veterans-in-submission like us. We do not get to read newspapers [because we have to watch the TV News as if performing a pious vow], to receive letters through the post [it is all either Emails or SMS], to meet our relatives at their homes at any time [all are busy meeting job targets or watching TV serials] or to talk to our children and grandchildren except through the phones. We face all these bravely and in wordless anguish. But there are certain things yet that hurt us very badly indeed. Call them value-systems modifications or whatever. Humane-ness’ leaving humanity is sad at any age or time.
 Do good to all everywhere – used to be taught to us as children. You see someone hurt or in trouble in your neighbourhood, school, or on the way; you were supposed to stop, enquire and help. No longer so, it seems.
You try to help any child or teenaged girl at home or on the streets now; chances are that your name and face might later be flashed at the world as a suspected or accused in a sex scandal. You listen as a good neighbour or colleague to some wife in marital trouble; you are accorded the same treatment by the current society as a home-wrecker. You cannot even a crack an impotent’s middle-aged joke in your office, if there is some woman in the vicinity. The Harassment Committee might get a new Case.  Count yourself doomed for disgrace if you feel like helping to train some raw female recruit of your daughter’s age, in the office.
And daughters in law! In our days, it was okay for the husband to once in a while, lift his hand against the shrewish wife. Women were like children, to be protected; and disciplined for being mischievous or obstreperous. You used to make up for it subsequently in ways passionate. Today however, if your son is infuriated into so much as shouting at his wife, he goes to jail; and you accompany him into the cells as the cruel in laws and conspirators or abettors.
Out on the streets, women police constables dress up [as loose women?] and wait at the bus stops. Smile at them in an elderly way – if you see someone without a smile, you give him/her one of yours – and the police whistle blares out. Your family and neighbours then get to watch from their drawing rooms, your being produced in Court the next day for indecent behaviour in public.
An old friend from the village rings you up and asks you to put up his grandchild [on some short Course in town], with you for a few weeks. You are only honoured to be asked and agree immediately. Son comes home in the evening and you tell him about it. Both son and daughter in law emit unspoken resentment. Son asks you to first check if the boy takes drugs or is involved in some militancy. Daughter in law hints at possibilities of the boy’s being in some rape case and being wanted by the police. You meekly ask them whether nobody can be good anymore, and whether everyone in the world has to be so necessarily evil. Is black the only hue in the universe now?
These might be an old man’s irritating whining about modern things. Yet, one cannot but help feeling that this generation of our boys and girls have turned into inhuman machines after imbibing the fighting spirit of their computer games. If anyone or anything is not quick enough to deliver for them, they go into paroxysms of rage. Cynicism is the normal outlook; trust and compassion is suspect and deviant. Only their computers, mobile phones and TV screens are to be trusted. Siblings and parents are aliens. It is almost as if they do not have humans at all in their closed world.
It is not a free-er world that they create with their individuality, though. It is a world of exploitation. Look at the new-gen businesses. Employment is exploitation and management is bullying there.
It might be that the sins of the fathers are being visited upon the sons! Fortunately, we do not have much longer to live.

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