Youth frustration

Youth frustration Image (c) Sri Express

Last week, it was headlined that the President wants the word tharuna asahanaya to be eliminated from our vocabulary forever.

I don't know whether I am qualified to write about youth frustration, depression and unrest. But as I still remember how I spent my younger days, I thought of writing about it anyway.

We lived in Maradana Police flats from my birth until I was 19. The apartment was an official residence as my father was in the Police service. It had only two bedrooms apart from the small sitting and dining area. The bathroom was behind the kitchen. There was a small room for storage but we used it as a Buddha shrine too. We called it the Buduge.

I had two older brothers, two older sisters and a younger sister. One of the rooms was used as a dark room for my father's photographic society and also as the parent's room. But it was my father's office room and the studio too. Until the arrival of the younger sister, I used the other room with my sisters. The brothers used to sleep on the sitting room floor using Police blankets. I also joined them later.

We never had any frustration or suffered from depression. We found solace in embracing an old voile sari of my mother and falling asleep on Police blankets.

The flat I lived for 19 years was a wonderful home to us. We had only a small radio. Apart from the news, we used to listen to Muwan Palessa and Vinodha Samaya. We read the daily newspaper bought for 10 cents from the pattara karaya who used to deliver around the Police flats. We had only Ludo, Pancha and Checkers as indoor games. We played carom on a borrowed board from a neighbour.

Our lives were happy and uncomplicated. While the boys played football, elle and cricket, the girls were engaged in netball and hop scotch. Together we both played hora-police and organised sports meets. During school holidays, we staged dramas. We had no worries in our lives. We were not pressurized by the grade five scholarship exams.

My father took me on his bicycle to Musaeus College kindergarten, where I attended since four. Don't worry, I was not a girl but Musaeus took in boys those days. I took a bus from Maradana to Havelock Town when I attended Isipathana College. The bus fare was five cents. On my way back, I used to get a three cents ticket to the Eye hospital stop and walk home eating sweets with the saved two cents. Life was no different when I started going to Thurstan College and later the Law College. I enjoyed every day.

We took tuition only to study English. We had to get extra help as we never spoke English at home and the English lesson at school was limited to 30 minutes. We were the lost generation of the fantastic 'Sinhala only' policy.

It was the time that the inventor of the mobile phone had not even dreamt of making one. It was the time that love letters withered away in trouser pockets due to lack of luck to hand them over. It was the time that internet, Google, Facebook, Twitter and email were only used on other planets. But we never had any frustration or suffered from depression.

We enjoyed drama openings at Lumbini and watched international films at Tharanganee cinema for one rupee. When I told my small daughter that I had only one pair of shoes when I was schooling, she felt really sad. But we were satisfied with what we had.

The 1971 unrest occurred during my youth. I consider the JVP and LTTE risings are frustrations and depressions of youth leagues. The LTTE wanted half of the country while the JVP requested the entire one. The unrest was not revolutions of the people.

When Lenin led the Russian revolution, he was in his late 40s and Fidel Castro was in his mid-thirties. They were both mature enough and backed by real workers. But the JVP's Wijeweera and LTTE's Prabhakaran were in their mid-twenties and had no backing of the older generation.

The present situation is entirely different. Starting from the mobile phones, almost everything increases anxiety and depression of the youth. Every product changes its format or technology every year which leads to more frustration.

On the one hand there is competition in education and on the other hand, there is lack of opportunities to make use of acquired education. The war on accommodation, clothing and marriages is another problem. I call them 'wars' to emphasise the gravity of the problem.

But there is another main factor which leads the youth to frustration. That is being lost in life. The lack of proper guidance, education, games and sports, and opportunities are some reasons for this.

If the adults, educationists, politicians, social institutions and NGOs work on clear fundamentals, it will not be difficult to eliminate the word 'youth frustration' from our vocabulary.

Courtesy of dailynews  - See more at:

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