Indian Prime Minister, Modi was recently put to task by some university students. He was asked to share his view on climate change. Now, Modi is not like Trump. Trump would flatly deny climate change is real despite all the scientific evidence supporting it. One can understand Modi’s handicap; he has not had the experience Trump gained from denying Barack Obama’s nationality.
Modi’s argument runs like this: that global climate has not changed, instead it’s us, the earth’s population that has undergone change. Human beings living in these turbulent times are to blame, he said. We suffer a lower tolerance for cyclones, hurricanes, flooding, heat waves and record breaking snowfalls. Had comic Trevor Noah not subverted the apt expression used for a long time to communicate disdain for the weak hearted, Modi would probably have simply said, ‘Modern man, you have become pussies’. According to Modi, we are weak cry-babies unlike our ancestors who were tough as nails, warriors who could wrestle a bear, punch an Elephant drowsy and dislodge the jaw of an attacking crocodile. Modi thinks that our climate is not changing. We the people of the earth are becoming soft; our tolerance for the extremities has suffered probably from eating too much processed food and using digital communication. How could this Instagram generation, the Facebook inmates who Tweet about every single bodily movement face something as awesome as the climate? Maybe Modi is right.
Recently I gave up on a mission to play match-maker to a brother several years my junior. My experience led me to mourn the loss of human kind as we knew it. It marked my acceptance that there are no more men on this planet. My first act of astonishment was born or realizing that this young generation cannot recognize a ‘through pass’ even if it is glaring straight at them. Like a goal shy striker, the young pair did not even realize that they I had actually set them up. How dumb can you be? After an elaborate and ingenious scheme that I had set up that had them speaking on the phone the youth called me to ask, if I had set her up? If? If? You get a call from a man you had been warned would call you, and you ask if it’s a set-up? What is a set up in this modern age? Does one need to tuck two strangers into bed before they realize that the stars have been deliberately re aligned to provide them a speaking and ‘getting to size each other’ opportunity?
The problem with this microwave generation is that, they are used to instant everything; coffee, noodles, pop-corn, micro-wave dinners etc. They expect things to happen within the time it takes to play a jingle. They do not appreciate what cultivation means; that a seed is planted and given time to germinate. That the planter must tend and wait, wait and tend before the first piece of growth breaks the surface. You get ‘connected’ to one another, two strangers and you cannot tell that this a scoring chance. You are like a football striker poised before goal fondling your goolies, the through pass has been strung your way while the goalkeeper has lost his footing and is on his belly, away from the goal-mouth. The striker is still feeling his goolies unperturbed. What ever happened to love at first sight? To chivalry and smooth operation? Is this entire generation visually impaired?
Today’s youth give up too soon; they have no staying power and no patience. The art that ensured that their parents hooked up was premised on persistence. Back in those glorious days, you asked for a date and you were dismissed with a, ‘Not today”. What did that mean? It suggested that you stood a chance to be luckier the following day. You knew that you were being blown off because no girl agreed to a proposal for a date the first time she is asked. The, ‘not today’ could last several months, but there was consolation in the knowledge that the day would come; good things came to those who wait. The youth today would interpret, ‘not today’ to mean, ‘over my fuckin dead body’.
An interested lady gave a time frame unlike one who was not; that one simply told you, ‘No’ and if you persisted she asked her bigger brothers to give you a beating. Older brother were always very willing and eager to oblige. It was as if beating those who bothered their sisters was God’s plan for them. When brothers beat an unwanted suitor they did so with the knowledge that their turn would come sooner rather than later.
The most bizarre event to watch is this generation on a date; Preying-matis have more exciting courtship. They will both be on their phones each of them would be sending text messages to their friends providing a minute by minute update on how the date is going. The boy would be telling his ‘boys’ that the date was happening swimmingly while the lass would be enthralling her girls with how insipid the date is. No conversation. These nitwits do not know how to make conversation; they do not know how to joke, converse and laugh. With vocabulary reduced to, ‘Ikr LoL, LMFHO’ what do you expect? How do you voice an emoji? They are busy seeking approval from others when they are supposed to be selling themselves to the date. If they cannot tell whether the person sitting across them on a date is nice, and whether they like them or not, what can they actually do for themselves?
The discussions they have border on “My father has…my mother is…my brother goes to …my sister has been to …” You wonder what about themselves? Conversation at a date used to be about you and not what people connected to you own or do. Back in the day when the climate respected the young men and women one made a pitch for themselves. Partners were more interested in what you were bringing to the relationship and not the gold, frakenscence and myrrh your family owned. No one then was interested in whether your father went to a prestigious school or college forty years ago. No one cared which elite primary school you attended or if the gynecologist who birthed you had a PhD in childhood diseases.
It seems that keeping a conversation light, witty yet intelligent is a receding art like the polar ice cap. Today, there is direct approach like Le Bran James heading to make a dunk. Nothing is left to the imagination. Getting to know someone includes questions like, ‘When did you get your first periods?” “Do you still have wet dreams?” ‘Do you enjoy getting wedgies?’ ‘Does your scrotum always itch?” Gone are the days when you entertained that thought that the women causing your heard somersaults did not defecate, or fart and if such an abomination happened it did not smell; she peed tropical mix juice and her fecal matter was black forest cake in taste, texture and aroma. You never openly discussed her halitosis or period pains and your running stomach or attack of crab-lice.
With hind sight, one must agree with Prime Minister Modi that indeed humankind has changed. A conversation-less date mediated through digital gadgets and emojis, peer opinion surpassing personal judgement and instead of body-image, body-damage is repackaged the same way. Trump denies the scientific narrative on destruction of the polar ice shelf, Modi would argue that match-making and climate has not changed what has changed is the youth.