Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Of the old and new..

To start off, have heard a lot of people making fun about older people. Right from school days. He is a thatha, she is a paati. And any kid who talks a lot is a paati. And then recently I met someone who said, the moment you know that someone has started talking a lot, that means he/she has mentally retired.. especially when they start with "in my days".......

Actually at my age, even I feel like saying during my childhood, and during school, and those were more or less my days. Older days. Nicer days. Happier days.

The times spent with grandparents and older members of the family was wonderful. I learnt to play stuf like 'Chozhi', Pallankuzhi, and something with tamarind seeds, I forget the name, where in you throw a seed in the air, and while it is airborne, you grasp one more from the ground and so it goes. I seriously doubt how many people my age know about stuff like this. Actually how many can pronounce the slokas properly, the Sanskrit way, instead of...a common example, my mom has always been called Bathma, for her name is unfortunately Padma. Anything starting with P, T, and in my case, C, you are done for. P becomes B, T becomes D, and C becomes S. So there is Badma, and Nadarajan, Sinmai so on and so forth. And my best friend. Yasaswini. I remember the way she used to cringe when someone mispronounced her name, which was almost always> Yasaaawini. yasasasaswini, hundred more variants, and this was when we use to be on stage and some guy wil annouce our names, and the next name to mutilate will be mine. And I used to end up giggling must to the iration of my teachers.

A lot of this has come to pass because we fail to respect the older generation. Just because we are younger, we have to tsk tsk away anyone who is older by a minimum 15 years.

Children nowadays dont know how to treat a Guru during Vijayadasami, when during school, I remember mom used to buy small mementoes and give them to teachers and take their blessings. And why dont children know about it? Thanks to their parents. mm maybe this is off topic a bit, but I had to put it down as well....

How much do we know of history from our grandparents? Of how life was? and like their view of why we had to bathe after a solar eclipse, and in almost all brahman houses, the concept of "patthu". Not many know the answer, and of the few who do, its guesswork, something that has been imagined on their own, or sometimes, they have logically thought of it and come to the right conclusion, and a handful know it from the horse's mouth. Talking of super imagination, I once knew someone who thought, Holi was celebrated with Turmeric and Chilli powder and then they came about doing it with artificial colours. And this numbskull went on arguing how he is right. Hm.... better not say anything more than that. How many of us know why we celebrate some festivals a certain way, the rituals, daily life?

How about simple stories like, for example, if you dont keep your peppercorns in place, and lose them, they will roll away and tell stories about you, dont eat too much raw rice or it will rain during your wedding, so many small beautiful things. Now I wish I could get back in time, or wish my grandparents were with me to unravel more about their lives. But its not to be.

My grandfather did all there was to do, owned mom's native village worked in the army, went to Jail during the freedom movement, starting a printing press or a newspaper I am not so sure, even made a movie, I found to my surprise, everything .. his must have been some life. And then my Grandmom. She was not as smart as Thatha. But she would just talk about so many things. And tell me stories, tell me not to draw the blanket over my head while sleeping, teach me the " Urugaadha Vennaiyum Or Adaiyum naan tharuven, ennaalum en kanavan ennai vittu piriyaamal irukka", and tie the nombu charadu on my wrist while I used to think, why I had to say this when I dont have a husband, and the best of all, she used to peel the skin off seedless grapes for me to eat.. check that out.. !! Of course to my mom's horror. Paati couldnt speak a stich of English except saying Chemistry and she was awfully proud of it, and later she could say "seedoaun" for sit down. It was great fun. I can almost imagine her reacting to stuff if I had to put down every thing that she said here.

And present gen children dont have the luxury of listening to stories from their grandparents. Most times its the clash of egos. The elders feel they are not respected and the youngsters feel that they must stay in their 'place' and not interfere. So much of wisdom and knowledge being lost. So much is already lost anyway. Most of us dont even have the time or patience or inclination to talk to our parents, forget the grandparents.

I decided to write this because my best friend's Grandmom has started blogging. And this may well be a missing link. I wish all older people start blogging to share their world from the days of yore, the world through their mind's eye and as they perceive it now. I only wish all grandparents of the world are introduced to this. No better way to preserve culture, at least as far as my small brain goes. At least for all those disinterested people, there will be hundreds like me who want to know of them, know them.....

And for all those who keep calling people mama, thata, oldie, you know, to generally poke fun at older people, I think its such a sad state of mind. Come on, how much longer will it take to be at the same age as they are. And I bet that we ll be a more miserable lot than the present older generation. Because our children are a 100 times better or worse than we are. And what goes will come round a 100 times better or worse.

Yes this is also saying in other words what I learnt, I guess all of us would have learnt in Std. 1. Respect your elders. I sincerely believe that their wishes prayers and goodwill, is the greatest protection and I guess there is always space in our skulls for more knowledge, even if it is trivial.

3 comments:

thennavan said...

For older people blogging, check this out - http://earlydays.blogspot.com (the oldest Indiblogger) :-)

arvindh said...

You may find the book "Number our days" by the anthropologist Barbara Myerhoff interesting. She writes that people can relate to kids better compared to senior citizens because they have been through that phase. However the oncoming old age is, for most people, difficult to contemplate.

praveen said...

Nice to see even older people getting to share their thoughts.As chinmayi aptly put it, this is the best way we can get to know bout our customs.....