As someone who grew up in a small town around 240 km from Pune, moving to Mumbai was a culture shock. Mumbai, like all metropolises of the modern world, was a city where people don’t bother to know their neighbours. It is a city where you can’t knock on the door of a neighbour to ask for a bowl of dahi. At best, there is a quick exchange of pleasantries or trite nodding of heads as an acknowledgement of each other’s existence. And most of these social “interactions” occur either in the lift or in the parking lot. If I were to bump into them in a different setting, I am sure I wouldn’t recognise them.
This is the flip side of globalization for you. Urban India is falling prey to this kind of isolation, and in the book, ’JAMBA-The Joint Family’ author Sriram Balasubramanian highlights exactly that.
The book, based in Madras, addresses the generational changes in the Indian familial system through the lens of a wedding. It says how the socio-economic changes are impacting the broader narrative.
It also seeks to highlight how the “generation gap” is getting wider with each passing day thanks to the invent of internet and technology.
ScoopWhoop spoke to the author of the book, Sriram Balasubramanian, to understand more about his perspective of post-globalisation Indian society, the direction in which we are heading.
“I come from an extended joint family in Mylapore in Chennai and could see how the perceptions were changing between young and old generations.I felt the younger lot as a whole knew everything about the world but perhaps didn’t know who their neighbour was,” said Sriram.
But is globalisation only an urban phenomenon? “In rural India the change is happening, may be not that rapid but it is happening. I know many from tier-II and tier-III cities who order goods from Flipkart and Amazon,”he said.
He feels the urban educated youth of India lives in a bubble. “Just because we are educated, there was also a kind of a contempt for people who are not educated. One should’t assume that since they aren’t in tune with technology, they are not aware of things,” he said.
Sriram urges the youth to learn from the experience and practical knowledge of the previous generations. “They might have not done a PhD from Harvard, but they have better management skills having managed 13-14 people in the house with minimal resources,” he says.
Sriram also feels that we, as a generation, spent way too much time with our smartphones. “You might have 2000 friends on Facebook but it won’t be possible for you to have quality discussions with more than 10 people in person,” he said.
But what is the way forward? Has this “boon” of hyper-connectivity thrown our society into an abyss? “Technology will expand but there will be a refinement of it. I don’t think it’ll go to a point where they will be numb due to the virtual world engrossment,” says Sriram.
He also has a word of advice for those who are trapped “trapped by social media”. “Just get out of your house and spend time with people in the vicinity. Get out from the virtual world and understand your own society. Spend quality time with the family. Don’t always be on the move. Take a step back and breathe,” he said.