JournalismPakistan.com December 2, 2018
You would think that with all this information technology slapping us in the face by now adults would have upgraded their dialogue when it comes to talking with youngsters.
Amazing how gen after gen they say the same things. As any 14-year-old will confirm when parents have guests over. The kid is called out to say hello, and the first question will be so which school do you go to, young man.
I go to Maratha Mandir Sur Sagar Kendriya Vidyalaya High School (not that I do but it is not as if you care, mister, I could cook up any name, and you would say, isn’t that nice, which class are you in?).
Isn’t that nice, you are in which class? (Yes, this you need to know, it is vital data for you, what on earth will you do with the answer, file it for future reference?). I am in the ninth.
Hmm, big boy, huh (is this the best you can do, Dad said you are a famous writer, shudder to read your stuff, big boy, I mean really!!!).
So, are you into sport? Hep uncle. Knows the jargon. ‘Into’ sport. Now, we are cerebral buddies, on the same page but I say no because it is easier, otherwise this dialogue will die from mediocrity. No, I am not into sport.
Then the young man knows it is coming, that million bucks obvious question. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Kid flinches in pain. Here you are in my house, staying for dinner and this is your finest moment, what do I want to be when I grow up, you can’t do better than this, and you are a writer.
Now the young man is thinking, shall I make this guy’s day and say engine driver or fireman, the staple twosome adults expect of young people (though why they haven’t got over this cliché is beyond me) followed closely in third place by jet pilot or should I zap him with a shot of 21st century reality. I want to be a chemical engineer or maybe a microbiologist or try my hand at genetics. Give a beatific smile.
The guest is caught in a bind. Since he knows diddly about any of these subjects and is hard-placed to come up with a retort that would lift the conversation to a greater height he goes obviously; a long so-called approving whistle and the standard observation: uhhhmm you have a smart kid here. And the youngster is thinking, exam over, can I go now, please? Now, that would be a smart move until the next guest.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
Pakistan Observer, November 19, 2016
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