He is cute, he is not
“Oh he is cute,” chips one. Another says, “Ah now, he isn't good-looking.” The conversation goes on. Giggles continue. And I'm sitting on the bed, hearing every small word they speak. I naturally compare my times to theirs. How different they are. No wonder an uncle of mine remarked that he feels like he has been reborn.
This remark came because of this: He was born to poor parents who did not even have enough to feed the family. He suffered so much in his childhood but luckily because he was an intelligent young boy, he was handpicked to come to Thimphu for a government project (I will not go into detail here). Since then, finding himself thrown into an opportunity, he worked hard to make himself rich. He is rich, I hear. He is a contractor now. I think my mother feels the same way. When she was young, there was no road and electricity and the daily toil in the field was all they knew of life. It was beyond her to think that there was any other ways to earn a living.
My time: Many lived in the villages depending on subsistence farming. But time did change a little. Many children my age were sent to school. A quarter of the population thought education was important. But technology had not found way into Bhutan. We in the villages still studied under the kerosene lamp, slept in the bedbug infested hostels and many sorry environment.
Today: Children are exposed to television and internet. Mobile phones are another. They have so many facilities; they are engulfed in many choices that many a time they do not know which is good for them, or which one they should possess. At most times they land up buying everything new that comes in the market because now, the time is such that the necessity and want are unidentifiable.
During my time, the only communication we had was through writing letters. There was no frequent bus service, so if you were sending letter to a person studying in another district, the shortest you could expect your reply was 10 days. But today? By the flick of a phone, by the click of a mouse, you can see different faces of people. You can in fact, choose who you like and who you should approach to date right from the screen that stands in front of you.
My nieces sit in front of me cramming on the single chair. One is the peer internet user. She teaches the other two how to use facebook. I honestly disapprove using facebook the minute someone learns to use internet. Learning to use internet isn't about knowing how to browse facebook, looking up different users, and browsing the different faces, as if looking for their groom. As their giggle prolonged to hours, I got a little irritated. I calculated as to whether or not I should scold them. I would not scold in fact. I would only tell that it was enough. I warned them in the beginning. I told them that social networking sites if not used properly could exploit them. I then tell myself that that is how we grow up; that, they will know how to differentiate the right and wrong, the reality and virtual. What irritated me so much was the continuous noise of message alert tone. I found that they even thought a large friend list meant being popular. But I stayed quiet until it was lunch time and they had found their cute guy who they obviously had a crush on.