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Friday, June 18, 2010

The generation Next

On a recent visit to the Indian capital, I was traveling by the Metro. It was a morning trip to downtown Delhi and the train was slightly crowded. Not that there was no seat available, but I decided to avoid the effort of locating one and settled for a standing corner near one of the doors. My journey would take around 20 minutes. I was standing alone and therefore had nothing particular to engage myself with; so, I decided to look at the people traveling by the train.

There were many young people – boys and girls. Most of them were probably going for their morning classes and were busy with themselves, with various kinds of gadgets – cell phones, MP3 players, Ipods, handheld games and so on. They seemed hardly bothered about their surroundings. There were many middle-aged people too - like me - and there were a few old people, like the one sitting opposite to me alongside a beautiful teenage girl.

The girl was engrossed with a gadget in hand and two ear phones were occupying her ears. My eyes were coming back to her repeatedly. By the standard of my generation she was dressed rather provocatively. And, by the standard of morality of my generation, I was almost leeching at her. These are the member of “Generation Next”. Self-centred, ambitious, very sure about themselves, ready to speak their minds, very apt in handling gadgets, living in virtual social networks somewhere in the Internet, disconnected from society and without much care for social norms. They live in a material world and values and morality are getting a hard beating in their hands – I often hear people say.

At the next station an old fat woman laboured into the coach and started looking for a seat. She positioned herself in front of the old man beside the girl. The girl, so far totally engrossed in her world and gadgets, suddenly stood up and offered her seat to the old lady. The lady mumbled something in a token protest. She eventually took the seat as the girl said that she was to get down two stations ahead. The train crossed the next station and the next one was for the girl to get down. She did not! Neither did the fat old woman. Both of them traveled till the last station where we all got down. The girl was obviously lying about getting down two stations ahead.

I got a first-hand feel of “Generation Next”. They are not disconnected from the real world; it is just that they do not like it. They are not devoid of values; it is just that they have a different kind of values – modified and better than ours. At least they are not hypocrites. The middle-aged men flocking the coach did not bother to offer their seat to the frail old lady, but the so-called Generation Next girl did.

This world is in safer hands, I believe.

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