Monday, December 24, 2012

Childhood now and 20-25 years back.

The other day at office, a few of my friends over lunch were having a discussion on how our generation was when we were kids and what were the advantages of those days.

One thing that we debated was on the art of relationship building, how our generation (age group) built that talent.

In those days, when I was a kid, I used to get out of my house myself, make friends and play with them safely. From where I hail from, the friends that I had then are still mine. They continue to be who they are.

How did they become friends? Not like how it is now. None of our parents brought us all together and said be friends. We got out, we shook hands, became friends, formed a team, bought a team bat, sticks and ball, played together, went for matches (ball bet matches). Nobody taught us how to become friends or how to be careful from people who are harmful. These instincts were ours and only ours. We even knew each others strengths and weakness (there was no luxury of coaches), who will bat up the order and who will bowl the first spell and so on. This of course did not stop with Cricket. When there was football fever, we did the same with that game as well. Of course, everything in the localized games as well like the Bambarams, killi thaandal, Koli Gundus, Ice Numbers, Medu pallam etc.,.

We built the art of team building, knowing each others strengths and playing accordingly to the situation. No matter what happened (like losing the ball bet matches) we all stuck to each other as a team and we ensured that we bring our pocket money to buy the new ball! We knew how to survive as a team more than with the team we build in our corporate world (I mean no offence here, but the politics of corporate world is a separate topic altogether)!

Our friendships did not stop there alone. We went to build relationships with each others family and eventually we become family friends. We took our friends family as our family, our moms, our sisters, our brothers. Was it not a good example of building relationship?

Back then we had one bat/kit for the team and often it used to lie in some one's place depending on whose parent was less strict. We could move in/out of every one's house irrespective of how rich one was or if they had a girl and so on. There was trust in everyone and everything (of course once the trust was established). 

While I cannot complain on the current system where we talk to our neighbors on the social media than personally, we talk to our friends over phone, chat and email than again personally, sometimes am scared. I see a lot of parents complaining that their children do not get out of their houses and play and that they need to force them out. For we ourselves do not have any great relationship with the neighbors, how would we expect children to do that? I'm scared because I wonder what it would mean to Nilaa in future. Would she have the instincts to build the skill of building trust, relationship and team? 

Each child now has a bat/ball on his/her own. Where would they have the life's training of how to build trust and respect? I'm concerned that the current generation may not have the instincts of adjustment and for all I know the families are get increasingly more nuclear not just from a joint family context but with the decision of single child concept as well. Back then, when TVs were rare we used to accommodate our friends and even their families into our living rooms to watch Chitrahaar, Oliyum-oliyum and even Ramayan/Mahabaratha. Not to forget the cricket matches (Reliance World Cup - 1987)! We did not have remotes to fight for and when there was a conflict, it was resolved. Now, we have TVs in each room literally for the sake of conflict avoiding. How do we learn the art of conflict resolution?

I know I may sound a lot paranoid here by jumping on to various topics, but I feel my concerns are genuine. I hope that this generation picks up the instincts to know whom to trust and build trust with them. They learn how to build relationships and also know how to sustain them. They know how to build teams and live with them.

I know I have good people around me because of how I was brought up when I was a child; how well my family supported me; how well my friends responded, but most importantly, the initiative was from me. Everyone else supported.

I hope I support Nilaa in this aspect. I wish she has good people around her by virtue of her own choices and actions than our (Leelas's and mine) wishful thinking. 

Hope is the only cure to all problems. :)

- Raj