Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Generation Gap?

The one thing that every young person is sure of is that the old suffer from 'generation gap' sickness. The old, of course, are equally as sure that what the young suffer from is 'chronic disrespect'. Despite the fact that I belong to the 'old', I am here to prove, conclusively, that 'generation gap sickness' IS the truth. What is more, I shall call upon my good friend Billy, the Bard, also known as William Shakespeare to help me prove my point.

There is this piece of advice Billy has a parent give to his son and, in modern days, a more utter set of absolute stupidity masquerading as advice can never be heard. If this does not prove that what one generation thinks of as the epitome of wisdom is arrant nonsense for the subsequent generations, I advise you to take recourse to your shrink and, if possible, just do not emerge into the world again.

There is this scene in "Hamlet" where Polonius advises his son Laertes about how he is to comport himself.

See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.

Huh! What did the man think I would do for FB status updates and tweets. If I keep silent about my thoughts, the world would think I am dead and start mourning me (rejoicing is more like it, maybe, but allow me my illusions).

Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade.

Hmm! Whatever happened to "What have you done for me lately?" I mean, I may have tried the adoption of a few friends - based on how copiously they have admired my blogposts - but if I grapple them to my soul with hoops of steel, how am I to disentangle myself when they stop their commenting?

Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.

Yeah! Right! Now I cannot even go around yelling at people for known and imagined slights - what did the man think FB existed for? And, what does he mean 'opposed beware of thee'? When I find too few Likes on my status castigating someone, I am not allowed to gracefully vacate the scene by apologizing? If I follow this crap, 'unfriending' me would be the world's favorite pastime.

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.

This is antediluvian advice. WHAT? Listen more, talk less? Get yelled at but do not yell back? Is this man for real? If I followed this, I would be drowned in an ocean of words AND every Tom, Dick and Harry (This is once that I won't get the women yelling at me for not using every Jane, Tess and Mary) would take turns at yelling at me for all the injuries done by people at whom they dare not yell.

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.

Now here is a fine piece of advice. I have no clue how it is in France, but the 'apparel that oft proclaims the man' is unlikely to fit in to 'thy purse' - unless you are Dhirubhai Ambani's son. And what is that guff about 'not express'd in fancy'? Dressing up IS all about fancy. Just remember those tail coats - did anything resemble fancy dress any more than that?

Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

Fine - lending IS a dicey affair but does the man mean that I should not work in a bank? AND, ever heard anything as stupid as that last line - 'borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry', indeed! Does he even realize that we scrimp and save on everything in order to pay our EMIs? That, but for those loans to be repaid, most of us would enjoy more leisurely lives and not work as hard? It is borrowing that keeps the world running at a hectic pace and the chap thinks it would 'dull the edge of husbandry'. Nonsense.

This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

THAT is the crowning stupidity of this piece of advice. Whatever gave this man the idea that anyone would not want to be 'false to any man'? I mean, just imagine the entire swathes of the economy that would be destroyed. What a dull world it would be with no marketing professionals, no advertising, no financial advisers - all of whom rely on the fact that the Truth is injurious to the health of Society. AND, if you agree with this idiocy because you are none of the above, stop and think. Without advertisements there would be no TV and no social media - now does THAT pinch? AND, everyone knows that, to lie convincingly, you must first convince yourself that it is NOT a lie. Which means that this advice ought to be 'to thine own self do lie, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not be caught out by any man'

The fact that this advice proves so inappropriate does not prove the existence of generation gap sickness? Why so? Ah! You think that Billy used this in THIS play to prove the conclusive insanity of the advice, considering the number of people who go insane in it, and die, kill or get killed? Hmm! That is YOUR point of view. Me - I think it is conclusive proof - so there!

Whatever else we may disagree upon, on one thing we shall have perfect agreement. From that day to this day, parents are very generous with advice and niggardly with money when children would prefer it the other way around.


  1. Wonderful ....I'm sure that the bard would be happy seeing this modern adaptation of his lines... Just to add one more...

    "God has given you one face
    And you make yourself another" ----- What do you think the photoshop and other editing tools have been invented for ? Everybody wants at least 200+ 'likes' for his/her DP on FB... :-P :-D

    1. Exactly! And what does he mean by 'another'? :) We make ourselves another 500 or so :)

  2. Er... To be or not to be on fb now...to buy or not to buy in those sales. So complicated billy made it for us now. I might as, well retire into an ashram now and not get out till I've earned that halo around my head

    1. Hmm - there are a lot of people who have made me feel that I should open one - Ashram, I mean :)

  3. Oh wow, this was thoroughly enlightening and entertaining. Such fabulous interpretation for modern day scenario especially FB. I bow to thee. Ouch the last line :-D.

    1. Thanks Rachna! Not yet Ouch for you with the last line. I think there is still time for that as far as you are concerned :P

  4. What modern day interpretations- Loved them all! You should start a series of this kind! Keep them coming! :)

    1. Series, hitherto, have not been a huge hit in my blog :P

  5. Polonius, perhaps would give different advice in today's age. I am assuming he would be on Facebook too. Intelligent yet witty interpretation.

    1. Exactly, Alka! See, what a change of generations does to your advice :) Generation gap, QED :)

  6. Ah! There was a time in my life (read: school) when I knew this poem by rote!! and how I loved it! I even sang it to make it sound like a jingle....I got transported to those lovely times!!

    Anth mei..."Hence proved".... if he were to write it now, he would have to reverse everything....give every man thy voice but not thy ear.....take every man's censure but finally make them conform to your judgement...so on and so forth....

    lekin, Sureswa.....arre ittusi baat ke liye billwa ke paas jane ki ka jaroorat hui gawa? humka poonch lete, humar ghar ma dui baccha log hai, jo humka baar baar ye sasuri generation gapwa ke barey mei yaad dilawat hai!! humhe bata dete na?

    1. Bata deta, par humka yekinwa naahin hua ki parents bhi generation gapwa ko accept karat hain :)

  7. That truly speaks of a generation chasm ! The bard certainly didn't live in FB times where the entire world wants to know even if you burped :D The age of narcissism is here, move aside humility and lets leave it for the bards of yesteryear.

    1. Humility? Need to see if googling for it yields any results :)

    2. @themoonstone - The world does not care two hoots about whether we burped or not but we have to let our FB "friends" know that we burped since that is the only way they know we still exist :)

      @Suresh - Another entertaining post. If dear Billy had lived in these times of FB and twitter, he may have had written differently :) Now, that is an idea for a blog post... err but wait you already did his job for him :)

    3. Ah! Making one of your rare appearances on my blog Shiva? :)

  8. You have enlightened me and opened my eyes to the foolishness of W.S.
    But I must say that my four children love all my unwanted advice and are proud that their mother saves her money for a rainy day instead of squandering it on their every whim.

  9. loved your take on W.S's work but ain't it sad thst we live in these times when such beautiful advice is rendered unfit for adaptation in our everyday lives ...but i knw many who still have principles in life ....but seriousness aside i absolutely am in awe of ur work., few minds can work that way,i wonder where you get these ideas from.

    1. Thanks, Seema! I don't know myself - they just come :)