For last stage of teenage, the onesFor last stage of teenage, the ones

For the purpose of this article I would like to redefine adolescents as the ones who are in the last stage of teenage, the ones who are about to reach their twenties.These adolescents grew up in the same set of circumstances that I have been but there’s a difference. I also grew up with the same mobile phones and the internet, but my level of preoccupation with these gadgets was much lower than what I encounter today.While I tend to get preachy, I must admit that more than the youthful arrogance and the know-it-all attitude, it’s the insolence of this generation towards the elderly that has caught my attention. For them empathy as a virtue remains in the answer papers of all those exams which shall take them places, of all those rants on online platforms, blogs, quora, reddit and what not!The group is ambitious, sensible, and not entirely spoiled by technology, as the subsequent generation is. But this is also the group that was born in the more mature, neo liberal India with Neo liberal values of capitalism.  They are more individualistic, are go-getters; they aim for the stars and are rational; they place relationships below their ambitions.  This goes against the collectivistic tendency of the Indian society, and amidst the friction, the old and elderly are neglected.This neglect not only comes from the new dreams made possible by the growing development and urbanization, but also the borrowed western cultures they imitate. For this particular generation, the primary source of their knowledge has been the Internet, and not their grandparents.  No values from moral stories, folklore or anecdotes were imparted to them. Hence the wisdom that comes from the experience of these people was seldom passed on to them. The Internet provided them all the answers, helping them bust many myths, superstitions and belief systems. This created an aura of superiority around them that only access to information gives. They didn’t require their grandparents for that. Hell, they proved them wrong over and over again. They were not fooled by stories of gods and ghosts, talking animals and magicians, unlike me. They knew everything, yet knew nothing of the joy of being carried in the wonderland of imagination, of the immense possibilities, of stories, of culture, and of the pearls of wisdom that age alone can bring. Yes, some of them were still living with their grandparents; nuclearisation was just taking roots, but did they benefit from them? Probably not. The old, on the other hand, in these families felt left out, neglected and understood that if they had to get any more attention they had to fight for it. They became bitter in the process and never got along with the young. If they could not like their own grandchildren, how could they like the rest of them. They were all alike, each trying to be unique by doing the same thing that everyone else was, things they considered “cool”. The old would complain about them in all social gatherings they managed to get invited to, be nasty and would try to teach them a lesson or two whenever they would get a chance. They found that this generation had lost its values, their ego was hurt because of the lack of recognition they were subjected to- at homes and public places alike.This mutual mistrust between them frequently led to many skirmishes in the family, like the battle for the remote control of the TV!! If you meet the adolescents (the ones I mentioned) and ask them about the elderly, the kind of negative reactions they provide, as if the latter were a bunch of irritating people with no job to do, are truly disappointing. The elderly as customers, coworkers, relatives, were avoided at all costs, detested and shunned!  On the other hand, the elders have the same perception of this age group: a totally lost spoilt brash generation, with no manners, little tolerance, no wisdom.Hence the fight continues… and who is to blame?You cannot preach to the young ones that they have to take care of the old aged people based solely on moral values. In today’s world where morals are getting redefined one cannot expect empathy to be generated from youngsters towards the elderly. They didn’t play any significant role in their early years, the bond was never made, there was never any mutual understanding. Maybe the parents are partly to blame, maybe the Internet and technology. The damage is done. Live with it. Now perhaps old aged homes and geriatrics can take over. “Why are you staring at that stupid thing all the time?” asks my grandmother, pointing at my mobile phone.Grandpa comes to my rescue. “She’s studying; can’t you see?”Grandma retorts, “These mobiles can’t be trusted; what’s there to learn from them?”Yes, the mistrust is there. And it runs deep. Thankfully it’s not between me and them.