Friday, March 4, 2011

The power of gossip

I remember those nights, when we visited relatives during summer vacations... Women of the house would complete their work for the day and huddle up for a siesta. But that is the time they would catch up on gossip.

As kids, we would be around, not officially part of the group, but yet there, listening in. No one shooed us away.

And, strangely, instead of making us bitchy - okay, it did make us bitchy too - it also taught us rights and wrongs in a way a parent can never teach a child.

Today, we don't like gossip - okay, okay, officially we are above gossip - but we have no means to communicate rights and wrongs to our children, to tell them how to handle different situations. Theory can never work, it was through case studies that these little lessons were passed on. Now we deprive our children of these classes. Are we right, or wrong?

This thought was triggered when a friend of mine called to complain about a close relative of hers. After a minor, common surgery, that relative was kicking up a fuss and her mother was unable to cope. My friend has children of her own, preparing for exams. She cannot step into the relative's mother's role.

But as they thrashed this issue at home, my friend's elder daughter - also a fusspot - learnt a valuable lesson. The pain of having fussy relatives.

Parents can give lectures, and then feel frustrated that their children are not listening to them. A gossip has the advantages of being exciting, indirect, and long-lasting because more than one viewpoint is shared.

Long live gossip.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shrinking world, longer distances

Aeroplane, train, bus, car, bike.
Wired phone, mobile phone.

All have shrunk the globe. Today, a person living across the globe knows what's happening here within the second. One can travel to the other side of the globe in a max of 48 hours.

And yet, the distances between our hearts have become longer. The sense of belonging is much less, and we have but a few minutes to spare for our friends and relatives.

Is this what growing up is all about?

Is it worth it - this growing up?

To leave people behind, to leave friends behind, to leave family behind, and think only of the self?

Cartoon of the day: A 2-yr old sits up in the bed and says, "I discovered a truth today. I am the centre of the universe."

Monday, February 28, 2011

Where is the time?

Once while interviewing dancer Alarmel Valli (on phone), she mentioned how as children they would travel long distances by bus and walk to attend the programs of senior dancers like Yamini Krishnamurthy, watch the entire show and return late at night. The context we spoke in was different, but I loved the image she created and I could visualise large groups of people of mixed ages walking at night, with not much street lights, but bonded by one purpose, one interest.

I couldn't help, streets are well lit, we have personal vehicles - 2-wheelers, 4-wheelers; we have more public transport and more venues even closer to home.

And yet, sabhas are almost empty when shows happen - regardless of seniority of the dancers.

Over the years, we have lost what they had - time. Where does it go? Why does the mundane become more important? Are we less interested in the arts - of any form? Except movies today, nothing else can make us leave our comfort zones to visit a theatre to catch up on a play, a dance performance or a music concert. Our children expect to be entertained or fed as the rare show we attend progresses. We cannot wait for the 10 minute recess between two programs.

Have we lost the ability to appreciate the classical art forms?

What are we passing on to our children?
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