PROFANITY IN EVERYDAY CONVERSATIONS

“She’s my bitch!” 

“Yo wassup dawg?!”

If you’ve been around in the world (of course you have) you’ve heard the above statements that have become a sort of fashion statement these days. ‘Hip’ girls and boys referring to their friends or their boyfriends/girlfriends thus and without any qualms too. Note that the intent in the above two statements is not to ridicule or slander, but to express affection for a friend instead. I don’t know when and how this started but weren’t those two words supposed to mean an insult? At least I would be very offended if someone called me a bitch. I don’t suppose this shift in how we perceive these cuss words came about because our generation was suddenly swayed by a sense of brotherhood for our canine friends. Nope! But used affectionately or in a derogatory way, the context doesn’t make their usage any less offensive. They’re both representatives of how profanity has permeated into our everyday parlance.

Profanity today has seeped into our everyday vocabulary to the extent that some things are best described only by the use of derogatory terms. For example –

Shit happens.

Life’s a bitch.

What an ass!

What the fuck is that?

Profanity has shifted, or should I say has been promoted, from being something used only to cause offence to something that sometimes conveys an idea best. But perhaps this shift in how we perceive the use of profanity now is the reason why we hear so much of it in everyday conversation.

Remember the time when you would get a stern look from elders for using terms as mild as ‘stupid’ and ‘shut up’, while today ‘shut up’ has become an equivalent for ‘seriously’ or ‘really’? When language starts to accommodate ‘foul’ in the ‘fair’ category it naturally leads to a downfall in the quality of language and the smudging of lines on what is acceptable and what is not. There is a reason why language from old books and period films sounds classy and sweet. Its because such allowances in language were not allowed then; a bitch meant only either a female dog or an insult to a woman; no other meaning to that expletive was allowed and entertained and the usage of the latter was frowned upon. What’s more, people considered it a part of good manners to keep their tempers and tongues in check.

When language is courteous, foul language automatically is kept under control because its use is considered taboo. But when language starts to get discourteous, starts passing off cuss words as normal usage, ‘wassup bitches’ is what you get and since today we are being trained to see these cuss words not as an insult, therefore even a derogatory ‘son of a gun’  sounds like a phrase used for appreciation.

But why do we use profanity? What makes its use so compelling? We’re all humans, we’re prone to getting angry and letting our mouths run loose along with our imaginations and getting creative with expletives. In some cases, it is even considered cool to use foul words, but what I don’t understand is why we use them at all? Forget about all the morally right reasons for not using bad language and just for a minute concentrate on the practical uses of foul language. What do you get?

Beyond the perverse joy of watching someone’s face fall and getting a kick out of it, or letting off steam, foul language really doesn’t serve any purpose because – 

A.  It doesn’t get the point across. The one being abused closes his mind to any attempt at conciliation or a fair argument thereafter.

B.  It makes the user sound uncouth and vile.

C.  It’s a waste of time and energy because it resolves nothing.

Oh, but it feels so gooooooood, did you say?!

I know that! I’ve been there, done that too. But apart from being branded a ‘bitch’, I didn’t accomplish anything else out of using profanity. I lost plenty though – friends, goodwill and face. I was the proverbial smart mouth who everyone liked to steer clear of and it was the reason why I drove myself into a lonely place. Coming out of that place was tough, and I’m still trying to mend the bridges I tore down.

As someone who’s been both at the giving and receiving ends of profanity, what I’ve come to learn is that using foul language is like using sarcasm – it’s perceived as something cool and witty, but is actually an infantile preoccupation of an egotist who does not have control over his emotions. Sure in some circumstances, both foul language and sarcasm are deserved, but I would say in most cases, a greater revenge would be to laugh in the face of your abuser and never give them the satisfaction of letting them get under your skin.

Coming back to the original theme of this article, the allowance of profanity in everyday conversations has led to a degeneration of language because we have taught ourselves that it is okay to use foul words even for expressing our appreciation or love. It sets a wrong precedent for not only our generation but even the ones coming after us who would only learn that there is no ceiling to how foul-mouthed you can be because by then the lines between courteous and uncouth words would have blurred to the extent that terms like ‘bitch’ would be regarded as both an appreciation and an insult. When we ourselves make such allowances in language we do not have the right to point to the younger generations and cry foul. Can you really blame a teenager who calls her friends ‘bitches’ or ‘dawgs’ when he/she has seen others do the same? Its unfair to them.

We should either clean up our own act or shut our eyes and ears to the degeneration of language and consequently the degeneration of our morality. Restraint on language also translates to restraint over temper because the use of foul language is a kind of vent for a frustrated soul, so that if you keep it in check, chances are your temper too will subside quickly, but if you over-indulge it, soon your hurt ego will not be sated by the mere use of foul language. It will deviate to worse alternatives. Not to generalize things but an example is that of an abusive parent and one who controls his tongue.  Who do you think is more likely to beat down his own children?

We need today to teach ourselves and our future generations that while expressing our love or anger is alright, the use of profanity to do so is absolutely unacceptable. The languages of the world are rich and flexible enough to provide enough room for creative expression without resorting to the use of bad words. If your tongue is sweet it will only invite more sweetness from others. Nobody likes a barbed wire.

Featured Image: 1820796 at Pixabay

GENERATION GAP = COMPLICATED LIVES

What is the most common thing that we are habituated to listen to from our elders?

“Humare zamaane mein aisa Nahi hota tha” which translates to ” It never used to be like this in our times”.  Simply put they are hinting at the Generation Gap.  I am slowly making a place in that league though 😁.

What is the simplest explanation of “Generation Gap”?

Well, my ingenuity 😉 says Generation Gap is the difference between Nokia old model handset and I-Phone 8 ( don’t ask me specifications, I am a loser when it comes to that 😀).  Here is a glimpse of what I meant:

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Source: Google

iphone-8

Source: Google

Now let’s imagine the older Nokia model be the generation preceding us and the I-Phone being our generation (how stylish!).

Just like the features of a basic phone the thoughts and the lives of previous generations used to be simple yet with strong ideologies.  In comparison ours is smart generation with razor sharp ideas but shallow thoughts. Intrusion of technology, quest for logics, paced up lives, virtual connectivity, widening distances (emotionally) are few traits that stand to explain our generation.

Talking about this particular issue reminds me  that few days back me and my school friends were having a chat on WhatsApp.  We were discussing about the serious environmental issue, pollution to be precise, Delhi is facing.  Discussions lead to one after another issues to crop up to be discussed.  One of my friend then quoted how bizarre our lives have become.  From buying groceries to payment of different expenditures; from sending gifts to wishes – we do everything online.  The underlying reason being “an attempt to save time”.  But the irony is 24 hours seem to be less.  We are always busy and time is always a scarce commodity.  All I could do is to stamp her statement with an agreement.

On contrary our parents never had access to all the luxuries (read technology) we are bestowed with.  It never mattered what’s the purpose – be it buying groceries or payment of electricity bill, a personal visit to every place is the only option they had.  Yet they balanced their work-life-relationships beautifully. How? Well that’s a mystery it seems 😀.

Our over indulgence with technology which includes internet have left us paralyzed to the extent of not imagining our life without it.  Flip the picture, the generation preceding us still happy and accommodating enough in the absence of things what we call necessities.  They still believe in building  and maintaining relationships on personal level.  Don’t believe me?  Ask your parents about their neighbours, they might be still in touch and we are not even aware who is our neighbour.  Who is better connected then?

A generation who doesn’t believe in Repair and Reuse Well words like Repair & Reuse are used in connection with or as synonyms for Miser. If phone is not working chuck it, so is the case for relationships as well. “Move on” comes comparatively easy than “Repair” or “Give it one more try”.  Increasing peer pressure, undue importance attached to show-off and depleting patience levels can safely be accredited to the imbalance in our lives – be it an imbalance between income and expenditures or brittle relationships.

Neverthless, we are proud of our competencies and strongly believe that we have come a long way in making our lives better and comfortable.  At the same time we are constantly under an impression that the generation before ours is rigid enough not to accept the good points we have to offer or have offered.  In that case we have no right to expect our successors to think differently.  This friction is endless.

As I said “Friction is endless”, because view points change from generation to generation.  Truth is our lives are complicated in contrast to what we believe.  Availability of processed / readymade foods or ability to do online transactions don’t define simple life.  Rather emotionally we are entangled and health is anyways screwed up.  What else then we can boast of?

How to mend the Gap? Acceptance of follies and seeking a little guidance always helps.  It’s not about just learning how to manage time but how to build and maintain relationships that could ease out the complications we are witnessing.  And who knows we can pass on few tips too 😀.  So next time when you want a recipe ask your mother or mother-in-law rather than quickly turning Google pages.  Communication helps to mend the differences and you would see that experience speaks.

Have a good day.

THE CREATOR DOESN’T PLACE BOYS AND GIRLS IN A HIERARCHY . . . THEN WHY DO WE?

Empowerment of and investment in girls are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights”

-United Nations Resolution 66/170

In 2011, as the result of youth advocacy around the world, the United Nations declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. Its mission is, “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.”

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When the divine Creator shapes boys and girls, He doesn’t place them in a hierarchy. Then why do we?

Physical and functional differentials are not meant to be indicators of disparity along the social ladder. The stereotypic impressions that tug along with girls (especially in South Asian countries) is that, they are liabilities while boys are regarded as assets. Generations have gone by, education levels have leaped high, girls have proven their mettle in any field you name – still the ill-treatment towards girls lingers on.

True that societal change doesn’t happen overnight, but in the case of attitude towards girls, even decades haven’t been enough! Not many realize that female foeticide is intentional murder of the girl child. The dowry system flaunted by the rich has become a noose for the poor and the middle-class who fail to meet the demands of the sucker grooms and their families. Trafficking of little girls before they attain puberty, underage marriage, forced prostitution, kidnappings, sexual assault (at home/in the workplace/by strangers or trusted people) are the demons each girl child has to live in fear of.

In the context of Indian culture especially, a girl’s birth is said to be for “another’s household”. Case after case has shown that girls take very good care of their parents even after marriage. Still the age-old statement hardly changes! A girl is taught to endure hardships in life, to be adjustive and accommodative, to be less demanding and ‘homely’ because “who knows what type of house she will go to one day”. Aren’t these traits to be equally inculcated in boys as well?

Recently, a friend on the marriage-way shared how her parents don’t bother whether she gets a loving and caring husband or not, as long as the boy has a job in a high position and belongs to the same caste. Her mother’s words being, “a girl has to be under the feet of her husband whether he hits her, kicks her or burns her.” How unfortunate that these lines come from a woman! One feels helpless before people of such mindsets who feel that anyone who raises their voice against such things is without values.

Well for people like these and mindsets like these, observing a day to mark the significance of girls, their rights and their dignity, is so very essential to drive home some vital truths.

“I tell my story, not because it is unique, but because it is not. It is the story of many girls.” Malala Yousafzai (Winner of Nobel Peace Prize 2014)

Malala Yousafzai chose to continue going to school even against the threats of the Taliban and as a result took their bullets in her head. After repeated surgeries, today she is up and about, encouraging girls around the world with her story of survival and voicing her protests against the inhuman and unjust treatment meted out to girls.

Let me tell you it’s not easy to live in Malala’s shoes! It’s not easy to live in the shoes of any girl who has been violated, who has been meted out differential treatment, who has been forced to give up on her rights and wishes and desires, who has been sold off for money, who has been made to believe that she is unwanted, who has been reduced to a commodity to be used for pleasure and then discarded.

It’s a tough world for girls. Can you and I resolve to make a difference?

The theme for International Day of the Girl Child 2017 is – “The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030.”

Statistics say that there are nearly 600 million girls aged 10 to 19 in the world today, each with limitless individual potential. However they are disappearing from public awareness and the international development agenda. Between inequities in secondary education to protection issues, adolescent girls are uniquely impacted. The UN Women believes that investing in adolescent girls can have a formidable ripple effect to create a better world by 2030.

Let’s resolve to bring these disappearing adolescent girls back to the visibility radar. One small effort in this direction would be, to be effective role models in our attitudes towards girls. Remember the next generation is watching! Let’s teach our boys while they are small to treat girls with the dignity that is due them. Let’s determine not to watch any shows or movies that objectify women just for the sake of entertainment. Let’s resolve not to be a part of any crass humour involving girls/women.

Little by little, step by step, hand in hand, we can be the change we want to see.

 

PURITY OF INNOCENCE IS LOST

Hello Everyone,

“Childhood is a golden phase of life laced with innocence – try to keep it intact”.

When I look at the kids of this generation  (yeah I can use this word “generation” as I am already over three decades) I find them very smart, competitive and raring to go. Be it studies or other than that, there is always a rush.  And I have this question at back of my mind “What’s the rush?” Why is there a rush to win at any cost?  Why is there a rush to grow up too fast too soon?  Who is prompting it after all?

I am 31 years old and strongly feel that I belong to a different era.  An era of Tom and Jerry, Jungle book on Sundays; an era of carrom board games during the day time and badminton in the evenings during summer vacations.  And the most important and beautiful aspect of that era is “innocence”.  Fights were there but sans guns,  questions were there but relevant to the age and never absurd, competition was there but never ugly.

Now when I see kids of this generation, I am amazed and sometimes agonized too.  They are way smarter and informed than what we used to be.  A six-year-old kid of this generation is a pro in surfing net than me and you.  A ten-year old kid talks about a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship, a fifteen year old is old enough to experience smoking and by the time eighteenth year arrives, well they are already ADULTS!  I can bet on that.  Is it the smartness or loss of innocence or childhood or an era of adulteration where the proportion of purity of innocence is disappearing with every passing generation?

Thanks to the nuclear family set ups, intrusion of internet in lives, impact of television, never-ending chase of goals resulting in less family time, peer pressure…. Our kids are at risk of losing their childhood faster.

I would like to support my argument with an example. Yesterday I was watching a random movie which showed a kid of around ten-year old teaching hero of the movie tricks to woo a girl.  I was irked by that because this is something unexpected from such a young one.  In an article from the social media that I read about a month back, an Eighth class student poisoned a classmate just because the classmate happened to score more marks in examinations.  This is outright repulsive and disturbing.  Increase in number of Juvenile Crime Cases of all sorts all over the world by leaps and bounds is an indicator of the issue that is grave and needs to be addressed.

What and Who is responsible?

Television, I am not kidding:  Talking about the impact of television on young minds, it is really worrisome that most of the cartoons viewed by children showcase guns and wars and nothing is funny about them.  This provokes the violent streak in them.  Recently while surfing the net I came across few articles that showcased the concern of parents whose kids are watching a particular cartoon called “Peppa Pig”.  The central character of the series is a very spoilt and ill-mannered child of a dysfunctional family.  And imitation which comes naturally to kids are imitating Peppa and it’s unacceptable (read rude) tone and behaviour.  This is concerning the kids of younger age when they have a more fertile and impressionable minds.  It’s nothing short of polluting their minds and thoughts.

Parents please don’t push your kids too hard:  It’s all about competition nowadays.  Too much emphasis on competing is making it unhealthy for the kids.  Parents want their kids to excel in every activity.  You may be thinking how it could be considered as something harmful.  There is nothing wrong in letting a child pursue his or her interests.  There is nothing wrong in letting them compete or participate in events concerning their interests as long as it is only meant to boost their confidence and develop their interests to the perfection.  In this perspective, I would like to mention about the plethora of  reality shows which showcase kids of as young as 3 years doing stuff like dancing, acting, singing etc. in the full glare of camera.  Purpose – to be famous; to earn money; to rate your talent.  I condemn it wholeheartedly.  I don’t see a reason why the burden of parents’ dreams are dumped upon tender shoulders.  It is simply denying their right to live their childhood.  It irks me to no end that kids who haven’t even started speaking properly are given dialogues that they can’t even mouth.  Believe it or not they are made to smile, laugh, play even cry for the perfect shot to be captured in camera as everything is scripted.  Isn’t it cringe worthy?

Result: Just like steroids induce unnatural growth and a child matures way before he or she is supposed to in due course of time, it has nothing much to do with circumstances other than the aspirations of parents.  Isn’t it a kind of adulteration?

There’s nothing wrong to be mature and informed.  In fact our preceding generation might hold the same view about us as we do for our next generation.  Then where lied the difference?

The major factor that made and could make a whole lot of difference is “family time”.  I still remember no matter how busy the day was my father always made it a point to spend quality time with us (me and my brother), enquiring how our day was, how our studies are going; we used to have one time family meal together, cook for us occasionally, play with us.  Such simple gestures make a lot of difference.  That strengthens bond between parents and children and could refrain them from going haywire.

A glance at current situation  presents a weird picture.  In a family of four, everyone is busy with their respective gadgets on dining table, communication is more or less about Facebook updates, concept of individual space is so twisted  that questioning is considered an intrusion into personal space. And when there is no tab and secrets dwell within,  there is every possibility of children being misled and misguided be it by social media, television or a person.

Therefore believe it or not, the role of parents is of utmost importance when children and their future is in question.

  • Talk to them
  • Listen to them
  • Try to understand them
  • Stand with and for them

Remember one thing always:  your gifts may go obsolete with time but not values imparted.  It’s on us to keep the innocence and childhood intact.

Here are quite a few things that parents need to understand ASAP:

  • Teach your kids to be happy at first place.  Let them grow up at their own pace.  Let them enjoy their childhood, don’t force them to grow up out-of-the-way.
  • Know the difference between literacy and education:  If a person can read and write and sign his or her name he or she is merely literate.  Education in true sense imparts values and wisdom.  Give education to your kids, that would count in the long run as it would help them to differentiate between what’s wrong and what’s right, period.
  • Let their interests blossom before you pluck the fruit.  To compete or not, should be a child’s prerogative. Never ever force your decision and whims and fancies on your child.

A lot more has been said already in this context and a lot more will be said after this and the question will be same every time, “Have we realized yet or not?”

OF DAYS GONE BY, THOSE THAT ARE AND THOSE YET TO COME

Oftentimes our human mind is hasty to picture modernization merely in terms of technological advancements. However, the concept of modernization is much broader than that. A reflection on the emergence and development of various civilizations of the world would make us realize that each civilization that came into existence centuries later, was more advanced and modern than those preceding it. That is how we have the Stone Age giving way to the Bronze Age which in turn gave way to the Iron Age. And gradually, we are today in what can aptly be called as the Digital Age! In historical and sociological terms, the present age that we are living in today is termed as the ‘post-modern age’.

As we look back to the blissful past, there are indeed certain things that dim the illumination of this post-modern age. Today, the world is teeming with high human population; but sadly humanity is on the decline. Education opportunities are on the rise – scholarships, fellowships and educational loans are easily available now than they were in the past. However increasing knowledge base has reduced the basic levels of common sense in people – leave alone digging deep into the mines of wisdom. IQ levels have risen, but EQ levels have miserably dipped. The global job market offers numerous opportunities for people to carve a niche for themselves. With high standard jobs come high income, more facilities and less peace of mind. Many people have tasted sweet success in their careers today, than they could do in the past. But the pressure to remain successful makes life and living stressful.

Newer explorations to the space, sun, moon, Mars and other planets are being planned everyday; while people have little communication with their own family members and with their neighbours. The picture at the dinner table is increasingly becoming like this: the family members sitting around the table – a spoon in one hand and a mobile in the other, eyes fixated onto the screen! Where is the time for bonding, communication, emotional development within the family that used to be a tale to boast years down the lane?

There was a time when families lived under thatched houses or one-room apartments, but did share their joys and sorrows with each other. With increasing modernization, bigger houses with excellent amenities mark prosperity. But, with it comes the concept of individual space (which is so widely misunderstood) – a room for each member of the family, thus isolating each person to his/her own corner. Gaps in the family bonding are wide enough to give space to extra-marital relationships and conflicts among the members.

Healthcare is at its best today than it was few decades back. But giving the healthcare think tanks a tough time, are lifestyle diseases and psychological problems, which are at their peaks today than they were anytime previously. Alienation leading to depression, performance pressure giving rise to anxiety disorders and the pressure to conform to changing patterns giving rise to personality disorders.

We are increasingly developing into an impatient generation. We want things to be done instantly – no matter to whatever extent we need to go to get our ends met. The practice of delayed gratification and self-control are quickly fading into the oblivion.

We cannot travel back in time to those simple days of innocence and bliss. Time moves forward. Development is the name of the day. And we all want to taste the boons of modernization. However as we aim to fly high in the air, let’s bear in mind that dust we are and to dust we shall return. No matter what era we belong to, we need to hold the basic life values dear to the heart and pass on the same to the generation next.