Monday, May 25, 2009

The Learning Curve

Of late, Mom has started taking a keen interest in the Internet. Nothing too fancy, no facebook or digg or blogging. She just turns on the computer, connects to the Net, clicks here and there, and reads content.
Press the Power button on the CPU, wait for Windows to load, click on the Broadband icon to connect, and click on Internet Explorer/Firefox and just get cracking! Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? And here comes the strange (to me) part... The above instructions are simply too difficult for Mom to understand!
This often leads to some rather nasty altercations between her and me. Here are some excerpts:

Me: "Oh come on! How difficult is it for you to understand? Just click on the box next to 'User Name' and start typing there..."

Mom: "You raise your voice at me one more time and no lunch for you, young man!"

After several days of such heated discussions(to euphemise that is; "screaming our lungs out" would be more applicable) I decided to take a step back and think about it. What seemed so damn simple to me was obviously very difficult for Mom. And the reason was painfully obvious. It wasn't that she didn't want to learn, it's simply that she couldn't. The learning process slows down after a certain age.
However, this is not the end of the discussion. It is only the beginning. Our parents tell us so many things that simply don't make any sense to us; don't waste the food on your plate, don't wear torn jeans, don't forget to turn out the lights, and so on and so forth. We fail to understand the reason behind those statements... Because for the same reason as our parents are unable to pick up on new technologies, we cannot pick up on old wisdom.
They tell us to not waste food because their parents often had trouble arranging for two square meals a day.
They tell us to not wear torn jeans because, way back, in their childhood, our parents often had no option but to wear torn handed down trousers.
They tell us to turn out the lights because they didn't have electricity.

And naive as we are, we call our parents stubborn, miserly, inconsiderate, while they call us thoughtless, wasteful, and (as in my case) threaten to not make lunch!
Now, I won't be all goody two shoes and say that I listen to what my parents tell me all the time because I'm not and I don't. What I will say, however, is that there always is a reason for the way people behave.
And as the next generation that we belong to, we must never stop questioning, we must never stop trying to find the reasons to why things are the way they are. The Learning Curve must always be climbed. For the generations that are to follow will think the same of us as we think of the ones before us.
Like they say in French, c'est la vie. Life goes on.

10 comments:

Abhishek Saha said...

You are right! Many a times we tend to classify our elders into the 'Technologically Backward' section, especially when they are slow to understand how to use a digital camera properly, operate your computer or even setup the DVD player / music system at home. I used to wonder whenever I was home why mom used to always ask me to setup the music system; why she couldn't do it herself. But then I have slowly got used to it. :)

Marie said...

I wonder what keeps us going - our "so called" wisdom or the lack of it!

Even at this age they still are going strong without relying too much on the modern gizmos which are just making us lazier!

Subhayan "Wrahool" Mukerjee said...

quite true!!! my mom's started orkut ing, and though i don't have a profile myself, i'm guiding her through it, and any thing loud from me, and she gets pissed off ... i love that though!!!

http://wramblingz.blogspot.com/

u might find my blog interesting

Amit said...

You are right on the mark man. I have the same kind of experiences with my parents...:D

-- Amit (xlri)

Abhishek Joshi said...

@Pseudo: I know you identify with the post... We all go through the same issues with adapting to new technology each day. The other day, I saw the remote to a Sony DVD Player... Took me 5 minutes to figure it out! Wonder what's gonna be my state 20-30 years down!

@Jinu: You're right... our parents try SO damn hard at learning new stuff, while we GenX-ers need Tutorials and Help Files and what not!

@Wrahool: Thanks for commenting, mate... Your blog totally rocks!

@Amit: :D ... What more can I say?

Shishir said...

My parents decided Orkut was the best way to keep in touch.

Then they saw the photos uploaded on my profile.

Within 2 days I got a lengthy phone call from them on the disadvantages of smoking, drinking and pot.

Since then they have stopped Orkutting.

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Simply Ridiculous said...

Haha.. We share the same experience.. I couldn't get my mom to figure out how to use my laptop even after an year!!

Gautam said...

very well said we must never stop questioning ....n our parents thought us and now its time we do something for them...:D

www.meanderingoddyessy.blogspot.com