Recently I had an interesting encounter with my neighbor’s kids which made me realize that I’m yet to cope up with today’s kids. I was busy shifting things to my new house, when these 2 kids jumped in. They were brothers. One is in Class II and another UKG. Don’t underestimate them by their ages. They constantly kept jumping all over the house scrutinizing whatever they find within their reach. If something is not in their reach they take a stool, chair or anything and jump hard enough to make sure it will be! The moment I try to control one, the other gets unwieldy. I somehow made them stand at one place. Now the energy in their thigh muscles got transferred to their vocal cord. One took a Nokia 3500 kept on table, while other pounced on TV remote. They began posing questions one after the other.
Me : ಮೋಬೈಲ್ ಅಲ್ಲಿ ಇಡು. ಹಾಳು ಮಾಡ್ತೀಯಾ.
Kid1 : ಇಲ್ಲ ನನಗೆ ಬರುತ್ತೆ. ಇದರಲ್ಲಿ default games ಬಿಟ್ಟು ಬೇರೆ ಇಲ್ವಾ?
I was shocked. Later I thought not a great deal, anybody can learn it.
Me : ಇಲ್ಲ. ಏನೂ install ಮಾಡಿಲ್ಲ.
Kid1 : ಅಂಕಲ್, ನಿಮ್ಹತ್ರ ಓಳ್ಳೆ mobile ಇಲ್ವ? N-series/E-series ಇಲ್ವಾ?
I was ashamed. This fellow was testing my status as well as knowledge on these stuffs. While I was thinking what to answer, the other kid rescued me by asking some other unrelated question.
Kid2 : ಅಂಕಲ್, ನೀವು ಏನ್ ಓದ್ತೀರಾ? ಯಾವ class?
I felt pity on these tiny kids, thinking of how unaware they are of their struggles ahead in their educational life. I felt a hidden sadistic pleasure of having crossed all those barriers. I replied, as if to ridicule them.
Me : Electronics Engineer.
I felt safe enough to talk about it. Since its impossible for them to decipher anything I said. At least I thought so!
Kid2 : ಹಾಗಿದ್ರೆ ನೀವು ಏನ್ ಮಾಡ್ತೀರಾ?
The question seemed harmless on the surface. As always, once if I get a hint that the next person is oblivious of the topic of discussion, I tend to add all extra masala and geeky terms to make him feel, he knows nothing about it. I tried the same trick. But I faltered in this case.
Me : ನಾನು electronics items, design ಮಾಡ್ತಿನಿ. Computer, Remote, antenna, set top box ಈ ಥರ.
Soon after hearing, the kid ran to his home and brought an old battery operated toy which makes some sound. He held it in front of me.
Kid2 : ಅಂಕಲ್, ಇದು work ಆಗ್ತಿಲ್ಲ. ಸರಿ ಮಾಡಿ.
This is the reason I always try to mask the fact of my being Electronics Engineer by a simple and cute Software Engineer or a techie. But here I was. Caught red hand! How can I explain this kid that I design things, not repair. That I’m a proud Engineer, not a technician. I did not know what to say. Besides I neither knew how it worked nor how to repair it. I blabbered something.
Me : ನಾನು ಈ ಸಣ್ಣ ಪುಟ್ಟ toys ಎಲ್ಲ repair ಮಾಡಲ್ಲ್!
Kid1 : ಹಾಗಾದ್ರೆ ದೊಡ್ಡ ದೊಡ್ಡ toys repair ಮಾಡ್ತಿರಾ?
These kids were literally interviewing me. I sensed some catastrophe lurking under this tricky question. I began to feel, if I continue this conversation, these 2 would make me feel worthless and guilty, to call myself an Electronics Engineer. I cursed myself for inviting these jumping monkeys to torment me. I pressed the DANGER alarm in my brain and searched for the escape routes to save my soul. Ha. There it was. My beautiful Dell laptop. I successfully distracted them by pressing ON my laptop and made them forget their question. Little did I know that I was falling into a bigger trap!
Kid1 : ನಮ್ಮ ಮಮ್ಮಿ ಹತ್ರನೂ Dell ಇದೆ. ಯಾವ games ಇವೆ? Pokemon ಇದೆಯಾ?
Me : ಆವೆಲ್ಲಾ ಇಲ್ಲ. ಬರಿ Microsoft games ಇದೆ.
Kid2 : ಯಾಕೆ? download ಮಾಡಿಲ್ವಾ? Internet ಇಲ್ವಾ?
He did not even wait for my reply. He opened Internet Explorer and began to press Refresh button continuously! I was dumbstruck!
Me : Internet ಇಲ್ಲ. Modem ಹೊಸ ಮನೇಲಿದೆ.
Kid2 : Wireless ಇಲ್ವಾ?
I was speechless!? I’d not known about wireless modem till I was in 3rd sem. I felt, time’s really changing very fast these days. I began to wonder, what my brain used to do, when I was in Class II. I could hardly remember anything. Photographs were the only proof that I was in ClassII at some point in my life. I consoled myself saying, might be, I found walking, eating etc more pleasurable than thinking and knowing things! Coming back to present,
Me : ಇದೆ but wireless modem ಇಲ್ಲ.
Kid1 : ನಮ್ಮ ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಇದೆಯಲ್ಲ, ಅದು ಬರಲ್ವಾ?
I’m run out of adjectives to express my surprise! They’re really at it! I felt happy of somehow escaping the Electronics round of interview. But this networking round was still under the belt. They seemed to be having a go, beginning with questions on Wi-Fi security. I tried to nip it in the bud.
Me : ಬರುತ್ತೆ. ನಿಮ್ಮ ಮಮ್ಮಿಗೆ wireless broadband password ಕೇಳ್ಕೊಂಡು ಬಾ!
I meant it to be humorous but the kid started running home. I felt scared. This fellow will make me appear a crook in front of his mom. I ran after him, caught and brought him back. Meanwhile the other kid somehow made that stupid toy of theirs to make sound! He made me feel ashamed again.
Me : ಹ್ಯಾಗೆ ಸರಿ ಮಾಡ್ದೆ?
Kid1 : ಗೊತ್ತಿಲ್ಲ್.
I felt some loose connection might have been there. Now, I desperately wanted to get rid of them as they were getting on my nerves!
Me : ಸರಿ ಮನೆಗೆ ಹೋಗಿ ಮಮ್ಮಿ ಕಾಯ್ತಿರ್ತಾರೆ.
The kids ran away and I heaved a sigh a relief. After some time, they came back running and gave me two pencil-cell batteries.
Kid1 : ಅಂಕಲ್, ತಗೊಳ್ಳಿ.
Me : ಯಾಕೆ?
Kid1 : ಇದು ನಿಮ್ದೆ! remote ನಿಂದ ತಗ್ದಿದ್ದೆ.. ಮಮ್ಮಿ ವಾಪಸ್ ಕೊಟ್ಟು ಬಾ ಅಂದ್ರು!
It was then I understood how that toy worked! I was totally beaten by today’s kids.
However, I learnt two important lessons. First, do not show your smartness or talent in front of kids, they’ll make you realize, you don’t have any. Second, if you feel, you are an E&C graduate, better keep that illusion to yourself!