Sometime back, there was a debate on Samadooram, a talk show on Mazhavil Manorama. The topic was the changing nature of colleges in Kerala, specifically the waning influence of arts and creativity in general. Panelists included a student politician, a regular student, a college professor, a socio-cultural commentator, a literary figure, among others. Among the various sub-topics discussed were the rapid increase in number of colleges, the pressure on students, the internet revolution, the effects of changing societal and familial conditions, with several aggressive comments on how the earlier generation should give way to the new, rebutted well by the older panelists. All the panelists, and many in the audience gave varying perspectives on the subject and it became a very interesting albeit noisy debate, which brought out several moments of generational difference.
When the Roadies spoof became a rage and a discussion topic, I remembered tuning out after Season 1 because I just couldn’t understand the entire exercise. I also understood that for some reason, it meant a lot for a section of the 18-25 audience, and that it was a big deal.
It made me think of what has changed, beyond the passage of time and why. I realised that the entire ‘intent’ of various phases in our lives had changed. The innocence of childhood, the new found freedom and the process of evolving a world view during college have all given way to a single point agenda for the child from the time it is born. The intent is to mould a creature that can survive the peer competition and whatever else the world can throw at it. The changes in education and the college atmosphere are IMO, by-products of this.
The paradox is that thanks to the internet, this is probably the best time for an individual to explore and make the most of his interests in life. It gives you the freedom and the tools to be the person you want to be. Unfortunately, it is quite possible that at a young age, they don’t have the confidence (or even the clarity of thought) to choose a path. They are guided by society’s norms, norms which have a benchmark of ‘success’ that rarely accommodates the individuality perspective. The ones who break these shackles get to live a life.
until next time, grown down