hamaare aur aapke biich me.n ek baDaa #gap# jo hai. #Generation Gap, after all!#- Laxman "Lucky" Prasad Sharma to Bhavani Shankar Prasad, 'Golmaal'
The definition of the size of 'a generation' is somewhere between 25 to 30 years. But even within a single generation, several significant things change and are very interesting to observe. A little list to identify those from my sub-generation:
1.Rotary Dial phones: As much of a retronym like its recent cousin, the "land-line", these kinds of phones, usually black or in colours more appropriate for bathroom tiles, where you could watch the dial spin down have indeed disappeared. Its last refuge was the PCO booth, which itself struggles for survival these days. I remember watching TV serials where the astute sleuth could figure out the digits of a phone number just by listening to the sound or measuring the time between two numbers. Zero had the least importance in terms of hogging footage, as it was closest to base camp. The punch-button phones have bought in a sense of democracy among the numbers. If you can remember using rotary phones on a regular basis (that is, if you had a telephone at home after long years of being waitlisted), welcome to our sub-generation.
2.Black and white, sepia photographs: You're a kid, hair slicked down, in someone's arms or in the first row, thumb inserted somewhere. The medium is black and white, or a shade of brown. The nearest male has sideburns the size of an Amazon rainforest, the frames of your aunt's spectacle were made out of eight kilos of charcoal plastic. Nostalgia is best served greyscale.
3. s/'sexy'/'baby'/g: Leaving aside mobile phones and internet access and foreign cars, the biggest cultural change that I have witnessed is in the liberation of the word "sexy" in Hindi films. Even then, the stars (Kamal, Aamir) indulged openly in on-screen "lip" kissing (usually leading high sales of Filmfares, questions in Parliament, self-immolation attempts by lipstick manufacturers), so the trend that we see these days where people even in TV ads manage to steal a peck at the back of a car was quite "linear" and hence to be expected. However, if you were part of a generation that watched the supremely kitschy Superhit Muqabla (who even tried a version of the Grammies called the SUMO awards that awarded everything from "Best Remixed Ghalib Ghazal" to "Best Teen Taal rendition by an Octopad in an Usha Uthup Show"), you would recall the mighty double blow to Indian culture that was dealt by the Dulaaraa and the Paapii GuDiyaa. Govinda "One Tight Slap" Ahuja pre-empted the days of sexy kurtiis by declaring everything (yes everything!) on him was "that dirty word ending with a 'y', starting with an 's', with a 'x' and a 'e' thrown in for free, which isn't 'sxey'". It caused a huge uproar. I'm not joking. Around the same time, Karisma "That is Harish, not me" Kapoor expressed a view (in a fairly decent tune, actually), in a voice borrowed from a babydoll which was made in India, that she was like Govinda's shirt, only three times more so. "Uproar II - the Hungama" ensued, leading to a find-and-replace mission with "baby".
Such has my generation been scarred that we have hardly been able to think or utter such words. I'm showing the way with posts such as these. S-E-X-Y! There, I've spelt it out. Chi-Chi: zaraa khaTiyaa sarkaanaa.