Generation Gap

Way back during the late 1960s, I heard of this term for the very first time, in a live TV show. I was a teenager then and my father explained it to me. Since then over a span of over 40 years I have come across it many times. Every time I came across something that could be termed as a generation gap, I found a different meaning of it. This is the term that spans over innumerable realities of human behaviour.

But that was the 60s and 70s. We now have got a totally different world around us. This is the world that our generation had never thought of when we were teenagers. Everything around us changed so fast, that we failed to understand most of the new practices which entered into our lives, but since we found it difficult to adjust ourselves, the upcoming generation adapted to it instantly.

Living in this world presently, my generation in fact come across such social hurdles, while dealing with our children, which I am sure our parents had never faced. The most unadaptable development for me are the technical advancements of this era. I feel no shame to say, that I failed to cope with the technical advancements of the present times.

In fact what else you can you expect of a person who for years considered the computer as the elder brother of typewriter. When I first started using a computer way back during the early 1990s, what fascinated me was the increased swiftness of typing. But what I missed the most was that unique sound  of carrying the carriage of the typewriter after changing the line. My fingers that were used to hit hard on the keyboard, for more than 20 years, found it difficult to hit the key softly. That was something adding femininity to the typewriter. I found the new generation to go all out for the computer without any difficulty, while I still struggle on my PC.

The generation gap is indeed too wide when I see my children typing messages on their iphones with great speed, whereas I still cannot forget the ten fingers touch system of the typewriter.  The more I try to write a message with a single finger on the mobile phone, the more I get confused and commit mistakes. I remember, my daughter had learnt the basics of computer on the PC , before joining the primary class.

It took me years to adjust myself to the mobile phones. The new 1990s and following generations, born with a mobile phone, are accustomed to this. What widens the gap between the two generations is that I still miss the unique sound of dialing on a telephone set of the 60s. Mentally and psychologically I still live in the world, where one telephone set was sufficient for the whole family.  Where the same telephone set would work for years and years, without any need to be changed. I never found them broken. On the contrary the new generation cannot think of sharing their phone with anyone. They cannot even think of sharing their mobile even  with their friends. Sharing their mobile with parents is totally out of question. That’s the social aspect of the ever widening generation gap today.

We, the oldies are living in a totally different world, whereas they, the new generation, is living in a totally different world. It is almost impossible to bridge the gap so enormously widened by the technical advancements of the present times.

I would like to close my  column with a latest incident. A friend of mine from Pakistan sent me a message asking me to speak to him on What Apps. I had never used What Apps. So I asked a young friend of mine  to teach me some basics of this application. She very quickly explained to me everything, whereas obviously I could not understand even 10 percent of what she had told. After she left, I tried to use it, but failed. The other day I asked her again to help me. She did, but I again failed to understand the whole. The other day, I decided not to ask for help anymore, and tried to speak to my friend on What Apps. Indeed I succeeded after struggling. I spoke to him twice. It was a long chat. When finished, I told my young friend that I had spoken to my friend and I had learnt using What Apps. A bit quizzed she asked for my mobile set and checked it. She burst into laughing when she saw that I had phoned my friend from the normal mobile line, and not from the free What Apps application. The result of the generation gap cost me a nice amount. It also made me realize the seriousness of the generation gap.

Life is going on, and the gap between the first and the second and the third generations is widening with each passing day. It’s fooling ourselves to say that this gap would stop widening. It would continue widening. Each generation would live through a new world, but still living inside their old world.