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Decoding The “Generation Gap”

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“Oh God!! As if lectures from our professors and parents weren’t enough, here comes this guy with another boring lecture on a topic we hate.” I know this is exactly what you must be thinking on reading the topic (minus the expletives!!! 😉 ) but just give this a thought, how many times have you been told by an elder “Your generation just doesn’t get it, you guys are very different!!” I bet you have heard this many times. Remember Love Aaj Kal, the movie? Didn’t that too deal with the same topic? So now I hope I have been able to convince you to dig your teeth into my article and solve the mystery i.e. the generation gap.

Now, the generation gap is something that is felt as much by the older generation as it is by us, the younger generation. Both sets of people find it tough to understand this phenomenon. For us to understand this “gap” it’s essential to put ourselves in their shoes and understand the world our parents have grown up in. Now imagine you have spent your teens and youth in a time when there were no mobile phones, no colour televisions, only black and white television sets, no malls, no “discs”, no pubs, no multiplexes, no McDonalds or Dominos or KFC, no computer (leave apart internet), no Pulsars or Yamahas or Hayabusas, only the old trustworthy “hamara Bajaj”, no Honda or Toyota or Volkswagen, only Fiat and Ambassador (Maruti came in later) and so on (hard to even imagine isn’t it!!! How did they survive?). The list is endless. I hope you guys get the drift. Now imagine the world of today and it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that the world has turned 720 degrees since those days. The world of today changes at an ever increasing rapid pace. The competition today is cut-throat. The stress is much higher in magnitude and comes much earlier in life. It’s tough for our parents to understand these complexities of modern day lifestyle since they never faced these dilemmas in their youth. The lifestyle in those days was much more “simpler”. They sure had their own set of difficulties but not of the kind we face today. If life in their times was international test cricket, today it is IPL T-20.

So now having understood the problem we must look at some possible solutions to bridge this gap. In my view both the older guard and the young ones have to take some steps in order for this to happen but the more important role is that of the younger generation. There are two attributes which I believe will tremendously help us in understanding our parents better. The first being patience. “Impatience is the new life”, screams the new tagline of Airtel broadband but trust me our impatience is the root cause of most of our problems. Patience is required in explaining to our parents the situations that abound in the present day world. The issues, the problems that we face will be understood by them only if we explain these to them and give a patient hearing to their advice. We must realise that our parents have greater experience and have seen much more of life than us. I am not saying that you totally surrender yourself to their advice, not at all. To the contrary, I would encourage a healthy debate. This brings me to my second attribute, communication. Seems a bit silly, doesn’t it? But by communication I refer to a healthy and productive conversation where both our parents and we express our opinions backed by logic and rationale. Not expressing our views saying that “my parents wouldn’t understand” is not the solution. The onus is on us to make them understand and have a debate, not an argument, with them. If such conversations become a regular feature of our life I am sure that day wouldn’t be far when all of us would consider our parents our “best friends” too…..