Friday, July 13, 2012

BLENDING THE OLD AND THE NEW....


On my way to work I was browsing through the youtube and came across some beautiful Punjabi folk songs. Suddenly it brought back all those precious memories of my childhood and a sense of nostalgia surrounded me.
Listening to some old Indian folk songs on a foreign land brings in me a feeling of glory, patriotism and sense of belongingness to my motherland. I consider myself blessed to be born in the 80s, raised in the 90s on the Indian soil and still surviving in the 21st century to be a part of the globalization and advancement. My generation witnessed the best of both the worlds.
We had the bliss of playing hide and seek on the streets, dancing in the rain, watching he-man and Spiderman on television, sitting in an ambassador, eating orange bar and chocobar, listening to the good old tape recorder and talking on the telephones (landlines). We were probably the last generation to watch Ramayana, Mahabharata and Chitrahaar on television, to see Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi on news channels, survive even without the internet and mobile phones (which is next to impossible in today’s world), make our project work without the help of computers, using encyclopedia.
Our generation entered the enigmatic 21st century with a bang, which brought with itself, the rise of the modern era, the merging of east with the west. We are the first generation to use the cable and the internet, yahoo chat rooms, networking sites, mobile phones, laptops and flat screen televisions. The society might refer us as the ‘confused or the mixed generation’ but I believe that we are the ‘bridging generation’ who understands the significance and charm of both the worlds and bridges the gap between them, which I feel is a huge liability in itself.
While the turn of the century has made our lives easier and convenient, it has buried the fragrance and essence of the old world deep down somewhere. Though we could feel the emanations sometime but sadly, are starting to forget our roots and heritage. People (Americans as well as Indians), ask me why do I celebrate the Indian festivals like Diwali and karvachauth even while staying in the United states and I always tell them that these small but important rituals like performing the Lakshmi pooja and decorating my house on Diwali, and keeping a fast on karvachauth for my husband, insinuate my purpose of being, shape my identity and bind me to my roots. Though I could not celebrate these festivals with the same extravagance like my grandmother used to do but the zeal and the spirit is matching. Whatever something I could do on these occasions, brings in me an anonymous sense of gratification and joy. Some might refer them as superstitions but I feel sometimes these harmless superstitions play a vital role in keeping our good old traditions alive.
While my heart fills with pride thinking about our magnificent and mesmerizing motherland, I cant help but ponder that will our next generation be a part of these traditions and customs? Will they ever come to know about the significance and depth of our rich and diverse culture? I am not talking about the theoretical aspect, which they might find out through the internet if ever they are interested. I am talking about the practical or emotional aspect, the pride of belonging to our motherland. I believe it’s our duty to pass on this legacy to our next generation and work in a tandem manner with them so that they don’t shy away from these values and carry them forward to their next generation with pride and respect, as I earlier mentioned that we are the ‘bridging generation’. We have a delicate responsibility to foster our rich heritage, preserve it and gift it to our next generation. Sadly the possibilities look meager as we ourselves are forgetting them and nullifying their importance. It is said that a person reaps what he sows and this applies to all of us. Now we are the ones who have to decide what we will sow in order the get the best harvest. Isn’t it something to ruminate over?

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