Monday, November 17, 2014

Change-the only constant!

It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change. --Charles Darwin

In my earlier blog I had very briefly touched upon the aspect of ‘Change’- while commenting on festivals in India I had noted –‘Religions and festivals are products of the social requirements of the day. The social environment dictates the level, nature and variety of worship in almost all the religions. Society is constantly evolving and dynamic - what was in fashion a generation earlier may not be of any significance today’.

Extending the argument to all aspects of life, I notice that change is inherent and constant.
The other day, I was watching David Attenborough’s ‘Rise of Animals’- a landmark series about the astonishing evolutionary advances over last 500 million years. In Episode 1: ‘From the Seas to the Skies’ he traces how primitive fish once swam in ancient seas but remarkable advances allowed them to make the radical move onto land, and then they took to the skies with the advent of flight. In Episode 2: Dawn of the Mammals he unlocks the meteoric rise of mammals that led to an astounding diversity of life and laid the foundations for the ascent of man.

We are a product of change and living in a world which is constantly changing and evolving. All of us need to understand this very basic fact of life. Change embraces all aspects of our life - be it parenting, schooling, education, employment, marriage, religion, politics, urban development, warfare, statehood, food, health, travel, leisure, retirement and so on. We cannot escape this all encompassing universal phenomenon.

In our day to day life, I come across some people who find it very difficult to accept change. They either turn a blind eye or pretend that there is no change. Such people live in a world of contradiction, which does not solve any problem but only adds to the overall confusion. I do not know if this attitude is correct or otherwise .But what I do know is that these people are in constant struggle to cope up with the change which is taking place around them with or without their acknowledgement.

Take for instance the question of marriage – we raise our children with liberal ideas, freedom of action, international exposure, sense of fair play, natural justice and so on - and in the end insist on choosing a partner for our sons and daughters. Here lies the dichotomy. A girl child is given the best of education but prevented from working after marriage. 

Post marriage, both the partners should understand the changes that have taken place around this institution. Gone are the days of husband being the only provider and wife confined to the house. Equal sharing of responsibilities, chores around the house, parenting duties are the rule rather than the exception. Our attitude and mind set has to be re booted to establish a new platform which will support modern marriages. Look around, and you will notice most of the present day divorces are as a result of our inability to come to terms with the new set of rules.
People who notice these small changes that are taking place around them and adopt themselves to these changes are the winners.

Parenting is a very serious and difficult chore – especially today. Busy parents, emergence of the e-child with computers, smart phones, the internet, face book, twitter and the rest. How does one balance the equation? Are children being robbed of their childhood with all this e-dust around them? Are they in a fast forward mode? Parents need to sense this change and react accordingly. A new set of rules have to be framed.

Education in India is another aspect which has remained extremely stagnant over many decades. We have failed to embrace change and unwittingly continue to rely on processes which suited a different time frame and mind set. Lord Macauley introduced modern education in India. It was the introduction of Wood’s dispatch of 1854, known as the Magna Carta of Indian education that laid the foundation of the present system of education. The main purpose of it was to prepare clerks for running the local administration (white collar workers). It is easy to surmise that the spirit of inquiry was not propagated or encouraged. Generations of educated Indians emerged without once asking ‘why’. If the grant of patents, number of inventions and discoveries are any indication – we have lost the race. We need to change. Hope the new bill on education under preparation and due in 2015 will address these issues. 

Finally retirement is an excellent issue for a case study in ‘Change’. Nowhere else is the acceptance of change so paramount! Work quotient, earnings, status, symbols of power and wealth, health, libido and the like take a nose dive. On retirement we enter a new realm, which is totally different from what we have been used to in all the previous forty years or so. There are only two options – brood and live unhappily or change and make merry.

Chill maadi and move with the tide of change.

I will end it here; it’s time for a good chilled beer – Cheers!

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