The Fast Generation: Some Quick Musings

April 12, 2017

The fast generation: that’s what we are, or have begun to become. Everything got paced nowadays: starting from fast food to fast operating system. The students are fast to complete their studies by resorting to guidebooks, quick to succeed in exams by cunningly and remarkably preparing cheat notes to take in the exam halls, Faculty members are quick to complete their course preparations by repeating their decades old ( and for younger ones, semester old slides), doctors are quick to diagnose by prescribing acidity medicines for a stomach ache ( don’t care if it is due to internal hemorrhage), seniors are quick to give marriage advice because a man seems sad ( don’t bother if this is because his office politics, a wife will sort that out), legislators are quick to make a law because that suits the political agenda ( don’t care if the law is poorly drafted and completely useless), society is quick to accuse a rape victim simply because she is was wearing red lipstick… the list goes on. Patience is a virtue which is now oblivious to most of us, we have stopped practicing insight, we do not pause to think before we act or even say. Instant action often results in equal and opposite ( frequently) unwanted reaction.

Amidst this hullabaloo, unfortunately (or fortunately?) we have confused fast with quick. Fast is high speed, but quick can sometimes mean doing something in a short time ( yes, I was quick to check with the Merriam-Webster Dictionary). When this shortness of time is bereft of proper processing, we get undesired (but well deserved) results.

Often in the name of being the fast generation, we are now quick to judge, quick to pass comments, quick to conclude, quick to execute. Without bothering to learn about the context, pretext, subtext, we do. And don’t like to face the consequences that we created in the first place (as well as, in the fast pace!)

The other day while browsing my social media account, I found a (fb) friend of mine severely criticizing the ‘khatness’ of the ‘biyebari lighting’ their neighbor building did. The friend is a renowned interior decorator, and definitely has good taste in décor and designing, but what she failed in her quick judgment to realize is not all share her insight, her training, and more importantly, her desired amount of expenditure. Most social programs require a minimum level of showing off, and so people try to tick off the ‘absolutely to do list’ within their budget limit. The result: no matter how earnestly they try, people around are quick to judge and comment how tacky their decorations, lightings, wrappings etc are. Where have gone the days where people would try to see the touch of effort and love in what people do?

Then take the example of my once upon a time student. I recommended him to do the alpona of a grihoprobesh ceremony of my senior colleague. Now my ex-student is a terrific artist, but he alone could not have decorated the entire house. So my colleague also invited some of her friends. All of them made merry, did wonderful alpona, and flooded my fb homepage with photos of the good time they were having. Later I was surprised to receive messenger texts from my ex-student that his work was not appreciated as much as other friends’ works, and that had he known it before he would never have gone. On my inquiry, my colleague was surprised. The only case of neglect she could think of was that maybe the friends spoke to one another more than they spoke to him, reasonably, since he was not part of the friend circle; and that my colleague was too exhausted from all the preparations to render any special and exclusive attention to him. Was the student quick to judge without knowing the whole picture? Anyways, the grihoprobesh went smoothly, and even the student was invited though my colleague’s mood was dampened a bit.

Let me conclude my ruminations with some penance, for I am afraid I am not immune to being quick at times. Lecturing on human rights, political theories and feminism has made me weary of stereotypical interpretations people live to make at online platforms. Few years back, I had just delivered a lecture a lecture on women’s rights according to various religious texts, and while browsing ( yes, my sin) my fb account, I found someone made a comment about how Hitler was a great political leader and his anti-Semitism made sense. I pounced at the person and washed her with my explanations and accusations. I was harsh. Later I found out, she wrote the comment in a completely different context which changes the meaning of comment. I had been so outraged at the comment that I had not bothered to scroll through the earlier comments and discussions and completely misread. I was fast to make a statement. I was quick to judge her.

In all this fastness, somehow sanity has ‘slowly’ taken farewell from the Bangladeshi society.

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