Youth of Yore and Today

children-with-smartphoneShe sat with her eyes glued to his every move, completely aware of nothing else around her because all that mattered was whether he could make it across that canyon. She could almost hear his heart beating faster and faster as his deep blue eyes widened with the realisation of the enemy’s approach. The horses got closer and closer. “One leap is all it’ll take, just do it!” She shouted in her head. “Do it!”

And there he went. Sprinting towards the edge to make his jump with the desert dust around his feet rising with his every step. He pushed the ground as hard as he could and he was in the air… A low rumble of drums erupted as he reached for the opposite ledge mid-air… Oof, those strong magnificent arms. “Will he make it?!” she asked aloud.

“You will never know” a voice said following the TV screen going blank.

She quickly turned around, to find her Mother with the remote control in her hand.

“That was supposed to be the best part, Ma! Give me the remote please!” she shrieked, attempting to grab it from her.

“No.” she said as she walked away, with the thing’s batteries.

“MA!”

Her mother turned around with that expression that she knew oh-so-well. The one that preceded the ‘what am I going to do with you’ speech.

“Honestly, what am I going to do with you?”

Oh no.

“You haven’t done anything productive in the past four days and the first week of your summer vacation is over! You’re always in front of the computer or glued to the television in an air conditioned room, without which you claim you will drop dead.” And then came those words that she, along with every other teenager of her generation dreads  “You know, when I was your age-”

Groan.

” Kids these days! ” ,”You know, back in the days when we were your age” and phrases alike bring on what most term ‘selective deafness’ to most teenagers of this generation. However, one does begin to wonder if there is any truth behind what the adults claim. Looking at what my parents used to do when they were my age, I find their days rather uneventful, with the exception of tales of being chased for plucking mangoes from an angry neighbour’s special tree. And thus begins our analysis of the summers past and that of now in an attempt to decide which generation was/is better off.

Then was a time when there were no air conditioners or computers. If there was ever a need for some music to listen to, it was never a problem even without the existence of iTunes. One simply had to run to their balcony or a friend’s and serenade the crows and trees around them. Boredom never really stood a chance. A ‘fun’ idea always involved staying out of the house all day, running around and returning with faces at least 4 shades darker than they were originally. There were hardly any eat-outs or movies with friends; malls weren’t yet born and their days were never too crowded to fit in a good day’s play outdoors. Tuitions and extra classes were close to unheard of ….In short, life seemed a lot simpler than it is now. “You children these days… Always so busy! You really should stop and smell the daises sometimes, child!” an elderly neighbour chided me.

Well, save for the lack of daises in Chennai, I do believe my neighbour had a point. An average teenager’s day involves rushing through a day with multiple plans involving socialising or carrying out work concerning academics.

Our daily habits, lifestyles and the number of decisions we’re allowed to make for ourselves and so on, are significantly different from the way things worked around 40 years ago and these, adults say, have a lot to do with the state of youth mindsets today. In short, we end up growing up faster than we should. Speaking of growing ‘up’, we should also note that obesity statistics today are much higher than what they were… blame it on the changed lifestyles of the youth.

And then we have what most believe is the only advantage we have over the previous generations- technology. Keeping in touch with souls far away has never been easier! But has this ultimately spoilt us? Is there any point in social networking when we ignore the people in the very next room, our family who turn strangers? Times did indeed seem simpler when Apple and Blackberry were just fruits. For with more and more research into the harm caused by mobile radiation, we find that the more the Apples, the more number of visits to the doctor’s!

(See :  An apple a day keeps the doctor away)

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