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SurferSpeak: The face of tomorrow

As Munnabhai's "Gandhigiri" catches the nation's imagination, our surfer talks of his brush with Gen Next.

india Updated: Sep 06, 2006 15:20 IST

Defying the early morning hustle and bustle at the railway station, I was well in time to take my seat in the train. The last minute passengers were pouring in following a cluster of luggage-laden porters as seats were being claimed.

A boy of 12-13 years accompanied by an escort anxiously looked for the seat next to me. Holding a tennis racket in one hand, he majestically took off his bag wrapped around his back. Seated, he asked me, "Uncle, are you going to Lucknow?"

I nodded in agreement.

"I am also going to Lucknow," he said. "Do you live in Lucknow," he comfortably asked me. "No, I live in Delhi." I could read the curiosity on his face. "Where do you live?" I asked him. "I live in Lucknow. I came to Delhi to play a tennis match," he replied as he took out his mobile phone from his bag.

"Are you preparing to take up tennis as a profession?" My question brightened his face as he quickly said "I don't know," and he was quick to add, "but my father wants me to become an engineer."

I could see a visible grimace on his face this time. "But I want to be a doctor," he gave his mind to me. "To be a doctor is so noble," I told him. Our conversation went on as I thought I must ask him his name. "Anubhav," he said.

"A nice name indeed." I complimented him.

Even as our conversation picked up, I realised he is speaking in English language only. "Do you the meaning of Anubhav?" I changed the topic. He was quite. "Do you know Hindi language?"

This time he was uncomfortable and quickly replied, "I hate Hindi." I was taken aback on his tangible statement. "Why do you hate Hindi? Hindi is our national language and we being Indians we all must know our national language." He had no reason except a terse reply, "I don't know but I don't like Hindi".

A student of class eighth studying in one of those hi-tech schools in Lucknow, born to affluent parents, I said to myself, perhaps doesn't want to be identified with the poor hapless children of his maid servant or the milk man or their gardener and who are surely speaking in Hindi.

Thinking him to be otherwise a smart boy, I decided to give him yet more gruelling exercise and started shooting him questions and his answers are given verbatim.

Who is the president of India?
Someone related to Gandhi.

Who is Sonia Gandhi?
I think she is the daughter of Mahatma Gandhi.

Who is Dr APJ Abdul Kalam?
I don't know.

Who is Dr Manmohan Singh?
He is some minister in our country.

Who is the president of India?
(after a pause): Some Gandhi guy.

What does your father do?
He is a businessman.

Do you know how many people live in India?
I am not sure but many.

How many cars you have at home?
Many

I was nonplussed as he had given me enough food for thought.

I wonder what sort of doctors or engineers our nation is going to have. But my experience with "Anubhav" left a bitter taste in my mouth. Here was a young bright-looking boy aspiring to become an engineer or a doctor who "hates" his national language. One who has not cared to know anything about our national leaders and statesmen nay, our president or prime minister.

But surely he is the face of tomorrow.

Our surfer Rajen Kumar is based in New Delhi and can be reached atfilmspositive@gmail.com.

Disclaimer
All views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the surfer and do not necessarily represent those of HindustanTimes.com.