September 30, 2023

By Ahmet Abdulaziz……..

At the age of 62, I think I am from a very unique generation. Yes, I am talking about those born in 1940s, 50s, 60s 70s. Though some prefer to call us the old generation,  I always  prefer to capitalise on some positive points of the issue.

The new young generation, never understand what we used to do without internet or mobile phones or television with innumerable channels, or how enjoyable it used to be to travel in old style heavy slow buses. Or how  a newspaper used to be published in the absence of online transmission of news and photos. etc etc etc.

Yes, the new young generation can never understand all this, however we try to explain it to them.

I can never forget the day when my father borrowed a portable tape recorder from one of his friends, and brought it home. That was perhaps 1961 or 1962. I had just started my primary school. I still feel the sensation that I experienced when, for the very first time, I heard my own recorded voice on that tape recorder. My father took it to our grandparents home and my uncles and aunts etc. were extremely excited to get their voices recorded and then listen to them. That tape recorder remained with us for a couple of days, and during all those days our relatives and family friends used to come to get their own voices recorded and then listen to it. It was a marvellous experience that indeed only our old generation have experienced. The same sensation could never be felt by anybody again.

As a child the record player had always been a point of my interest. Although we did not have one in our home but, however, a friend of my father did have one. I loved the way the long arm used to take the needle off the record when finished, the way another record dropped down in place of the old record and the way the arm brings the needle back to the starting point of the new record, and the record used to start playing. That had been a fantastic sight for me, at that young age. I still cannot forget the artistic movement of that arm of the record player.

Most of the youngsters of today have not even seen a telephone set, like the one that we used to have during the 1960s.  How can our generation forget the sound of grrrrrr grrrrr that used to come out when the telephone number used to be dialled. As a child I used to run to pick up the phone whenever the bell rang. Our generation witnessed the change in colours and models of the telephone sets. The telephone sets used to be put at a specific place in the sitting room, within the reach of everyone at home. Now presently we see mobile telephones everywhere in the rooms. On the bed, or on a table or chair. There are people who take their mobile phones along to the toilet too.  They can never understand how much we used to be careful while handling  the telephone sets.

Do they know, what it meant to ride in a Chevrolet  Impala car?  They were very long with the sides of their rear like huge fins.  We do not have those types of cars any more. The present days are of small and economical cars. We do not see cars with hand gears. Rather the very latest generation do not even know how to use the clutch and floor gears. They now drive automatic cars. I remember the first car that I bought. It used to have a huge steering wheel which needed a lot of physical force to turn round a corner. It was difficult but enjoyable, since there was a lot less traffic with less speed in those days when compared to present. Of course not to forget the horns. They were of different sounds, just like we have now different ring tones on mobile telephones.

Indeed our generation had the distinction of living through the ages of black and white television. The year was 1967 or 1968, when my father bought a television set. The televisions were just newly introduced in that period. There used to be only one single channel, which was operative only for 5 hours every evening.  As young children we all used to wait the whole day for the evening to sit before the TV and watch LASSIE or THE AVENGERS.  The Robert Vaughn/David McCallum – Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakın duo in THE MAN FROM UNCLE were the heroes of our times.

Now with innumerable channels available to be watched round the clock, the present day youngsters usually find it difficult to stick to one particular channel for a long period of time. My children usually leave the television remote saying that there was nothing worthy of watching. The abundance of alternatives have led to lack of interest, whereas the lack of alternatives in our days had kept the interest alive.

These and many others are the factors which make me feel that I belong to a very special generation, which happened to observe the way the abundance of technology has led to loss of interest among the young ones. Is the new generation paying the price of technology. Did we also pay that? Yes we too did pay, but not as much as our children are paying. This is why I once again say that I am lucky to be part of a very special generation. Yes the generation of 1940s,1950s, 60s, 70s is a special, lucky and unique generation.




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