Written by Nandini Sethi
“You know kids, back in my day…” I heard the collective groans of my 4 grandchildren, seated by my feet as I was comfortably perched up on a throne-like chair, sipping on milky tea, something my doctors strictly instructed me to avoid. But, like my grandparents, I too am stubborn, and am going to live every minute of the remainder of my life a little spontaneously.
“Hush kids, I know no one respects their elders, but for my sake, at least pretend do,” I requested them. Out of love and admiration for me, they nodded; I assumed they nodded, albeit unwillingly.
“You kids have it too easy these days, back in my day, we had to drive our own cars when we wanted to go hang out with our friends!” I began for the 20th time that week.
“Do you know what hard work means?” I alleged, “We had to write our own essays and articles for college submissions. There were no softwares to write them for us.”
I could see the persisting nonchalance and boredom in the expressions of my grandkids. As a man for the older generation, I was responsible for carrying out the ‘this new generation is good-for-nothing’ tradition.
“Our cars and trucks still worked on roads! Can you imagine the road traffic? At least nowadays the traffic is distributed between road and air”, I sighed.
“And what about those smartphones we used back in the day? Have you ever even held one? We never had the luxury of checking our notifications and scrolling through our feeds through some new and fancy chips you have inserted in your bodies.”
I didn’t care that nobody was interested in my monologue. I continued anyway, “we had to attend school, an actual place with actual teacher, not just the online classes you attend with your fancy iPad pens and shared screens.”
“And we had real deliverymen come drop food to our doorsteps! We had to walk all the way to our doors and collect the food, no drones dropping it off!” I exclaimed.
“And, this one will really surprise you-” but my big moment was cut off by a sudden bang, the signal that my father had pushed my room door open, fuming with anger and frustration.
I ran away from him, picking up my laptop as a shield from the shoes he was throwing at me.
“You brat!” He screamed. I saw my mother run in to my room, to see what the commotion was about this time.
“Are you wearing my night kurta? What were you just doing? Pretending to be a grandfather and berating your grandkids on all the hardships you had to encounter?!” he was fuming.
“No, dad, I-”, but I was only met with a chappal to my head.
“Only 20 years old but wants to act like he has the world on his shoulders!”
“I’m sorry dad, I-”
“You think you have so many problems? Back in my day, we walked 20 kilometres in the snow, sweating profusely, to reach our school in the scorching heat! All on foot!”
Here we go…
“And for God’s sake! Please leave my future great-grandchildren alone!”