Tag Archives: cinema

‘Youth’

18 Jul

This is a translation of a blog post from noted Tamil writer Jeyamohan’s blog.

Translation from: http://www.jeyamohan.in/?p=29055

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Dear J, 

Read your essay about monsoon travel. A beautiful experience.

I think it is great to go to places of such natural beauty. I am not sure if it is okay to write about them.

Our youth have a different mindset. They will go to such places with beer bottles, drink and ruin the place with broken bottles.  I am reminded of the ‘Elephant Doctor’.

Till we get a generation with atleast a little bit of civic sense and sense of beauty, it is good for these places to remain hidden.

Saravanan

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Dear Saravanan,

True. We saw it in Parunthuparai. There was a group of youth. They didn’t know what to do in such a place. They yelled, ran around here and there. They drank with the car stereos blaring film songs in the background. They removed their shirts and danced.

All over the valley, broken beer bottles thrown by people like them lay in heaps of shards extending till the forest below. The next day, Saturday, we saw policemen on the way using breathalysers to catch drunk drivers. This menace has grown to such an extent.

We were speaking about it. The youth really didn’t know the beauty and importance of that place. They didn’t understand how to be happy in that place. They were not used to such things. That is the problem.

In Ooty, one can see young lovers from villages act like couples in movies and get ‘romantic’. It would be funny. In our culture it is nearly impossible to see a man and a woman speak, get used to each other and court. Hence young couples do not know what to do. The only thing that teaches are movies. Hence they do that.

This gang is similar to that. They too do not know what to do in this place. what they know is Tamil cinema. They do what people do in such movies. They think that they are ‘having fun’. 

An important reason for this is the way our youth have been brought up. Appreciation, sense of beauty, civic sense, intellectual outlook – these things should come from the two institutions of family and educational institutions.

In how many of our families do we teach children to appreciate any art form? Do we teach the basics of an intellectual outlook? Or atleast teach them to behave with grace in public places?

Our families are mostly places to cook, eat and sleep in groups. Even relationships contain selfishness and violence. Our families only create the impetus to earn wealth in their children. Education is considered a path to earn this wealth.

Our parents continually speak to their children for the creation of this impetus. They do not teach anything else. Only if the child learns something on its own. That is very rare.

When I visit some families, a certain fear will creep into my heart. One cannot see a single trace of anything we consider culture. A few pictures of deities, textbooks, a TV – that is all. They do not have any cultural education at all.

All the cultural aspects we possessed as traditions have been discarded as useless for ‘development in life’. We worship Europe and America. But neither do we learn any cultural practice that a European or an American has.

There is nothing to say about educational institutions. They are like factories. They can only create machines that can work and earn money. There is no room for culture and art in them.

I have noticed an average American receives basic lessons in music and drawing in his family background itself. His educational setup trains him to read books and discuss them.

Think about it. Does our average youth have any contact with any medium? He has no familiarity with music, paintings or any such art. He cannot even read a book and understand it. He cannot even read a good open page article in a newspaper. He cannot even concentrate beyond a few paragraphs. If he observes any art form for even ten minutes, he will lose patience. He will conclude that it is ‘boring’.

He cannot go beyond textbook recitation. If he completes that phase, he will do his tasks properly. He will learn by rote whatever is required for that. All else has to remain within his small boundaries. Simple and ordinary.

Otherwise, he will attempt to simply reject or ridicule it. Since his friends and acquaintances are all similar to him, he feels that it is the ‘normal’ world. Everything else appears to him as unnessarily complex, crazy and dull things to him.

From his childhood, the only medium he has known is Tamil commercial cinema and TV that dips into the same to cook up its programs. His cultural education consists of seeing ‘Kadhal Pissaase Paruvayillai‘ on TV and dancing to it rotating his hips at the age of two. Even this movie business is only till the eighth standard. After that, a tough ‘tuition’-life. At twenty five when he completes all this and raises his head as a social being, his cultural standard will be the same as it was in his eighth standard. How can we blame him?

Here, ‘youth’ means not to have a lasting interest in anything, to lack a basic training in anything – in short, a shallow person. ‘To have fun’ means to be foolish, insensitive and lack public sense. If four or five ‘youth’ congregate in a public place it is almost like a monkey brigade.

These ‘youth’ remain like this even when they go to America or Europe. They do not learn any culture or public sense there. One can even say that they dont even live there. They create a small ‘youth’ society there and live within in. There too they know only cinema gossip and beer bottles.

Anybody who tours America or Europe once can notice youth enjoying nature subtly. They undertake various adventure trips. They trek to peaks. They cross rivers. They go to forests to stay without any conveniences. They cross long distances alone. Those methods of appreciation are very vast and beautiful.

I have not seen our youth do any of these. They are oblivious to such things. They think American culture means dancing to film songs with beer bottles in hand. 

Our youth do not learn anything from any medium including the Internet. Once when I was in K.P. Vinod’s home, I went into Facebook and Twitter through his account to see what our people speak about in them. The same cinema, the same politics, petty gossip. There too a ‘youth-circle’ has come up. They cannot take up anything else.

I have noticed the average American or European youth is diametrically opposite to this. They possess basic taste, reading and debating skills. Also, there will be a great interest in a particular field. I have see many who were listless. I even know youth who can be described as ‘hippies’. But I am yet to meet an American or European youngster without basic culture. It is not clear from which cultural background our ‘youth’ has sprung out of.

A few months ago, I had gone to a Chinese restaurant in Chennai called Mainland China. In that restaurant, around fifteen youth were giving a party to some among them. I was noticing what they were conversing. Unbearable foolery. Petty jokes. Petty cinema titbits. Loud laughter. Their body language mimicked America. The quality of conversations what one would encounter under a village bridge.

Atleast they could have spoken in Tamil. But unfortunately this was a techie crowd. Hence English. The person with me was a European young man. He was a film animation technician. I saw he was also listening. ‘I cannot bear these Indian youth. I dont wish to speak to any of them beyond a hello’, he said.

I was hurt. ‘These are humbugs who never learnt beyond their means to earn. But there are othe types of youth here too’, I said. With the extreme graciousness of the West, he said ‘I wish to meet them’.

I angrily said ‘We have started only now. These are youngsters brought up in the midst of fears about the future in an entirely materialist manner. They do not possess their families’ cultural background. Nor do they have their educational background. But the upcoming generation wont be like this’.

Its my belief. What else to say?

J