Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Those days and these days

I am beginning to think like my 90-year old grandmother who passed away 20 years ago!!
She had this habit of recalling the glories of the past – those days when sugar was in abundance and women bathed in milk for a clear complexion. She talked of the prosperity and placidity in the lives of people and mourned the death of values.
I usually regarded her nostalgic recollections with a bit of skepticism. But lately, I have started reminiscing on ‘my good old days’. It must be due to my own advancing age or because things have gone from bad to worse.
...There was a time when we girls wore sarees at the age of 13. Thus draped in modesty, we were banned from talking to boys over the compound wall and sent only to girls’ schools or colleges. Even the male teachers were the dilapidated to-be-retired sort. Graduation was considered an accomplishment to hook a qualified husband. Then followed a bedecked, bejewelled presentation before a number of eligible bachelors, shortlisted by parents. You either agreed and got married or you didn’t and were subjected to many more such ‘exhibitions’. But a ‘yes’ from the boy was considered too good to spurn.
Things have changed now. Girls and boys mix freely and often look alike. Girls want to be career women and marriage is last on their list of priorities. Choosing a life partner is their prerogative too.
...There was a time when a man was considered eligible if he had a steady job, a four figure salary and parents loaded with money. Now, a girl looks for a guy who has a house, a gas connection and a ration card. She is more worried about his RH factor than about his lineage. As for the boy, he is not interested in his bride’s ability to sing and sew. He wants a ‘convent educated’, working wife and if she’s a green card holder, nothing like it! It’s a passport to Eldorado, without having to do TOEFL & GMAT or GRE.
...There was a time when girls went to their ‘mother’s house’ for delivery. They sat wrapped up in a shawl, chewing paan, eating badam, and gulping down large quantities of milk, while a dayi took care of the baby.
Now, mothers get discharged from hospital three days after delivery and go groceries shopping the next day and to work from there They live on salads and fruit juices to get rid of fat accumulated over nine months and end up getting a back ache.
...There was a time when a student who scored sixty percent, was considered brilliant. All she/he did was attend college, study hard and do well in exams.
To-day, a student has many more things on her/his plate. She/he attends classes, then attends coaching classes, then does correspondence coaching problems .She/he has to then look for question papers being sold at various points and when she/he gets 95% after all this hard work, she/he is considered an average student with little chance of getting into professional college!
Yes, I have seen better days and quite likely that my granddaughter will write a similar piece on her later days, thirty years from now.