LET ME BE GOOD IN MY WAY

“Don’t climb the trees, you will break your bones and no one will marry you.  Being pretty is very important.

Learn to cook, otherwise you will bring shame to the family.  Your degrees won’t feed the hungry child.

Taking care of children is the responsibility of a mother alone.

Marriage, motherhood everything has a right age.  Everything else can wait.

Don’t laugh out loud, stop giggling. It isn’t good for your image.

Put your family first, your husband and his family is your ultimate destination. Learn to solve your issues or learn to endure.

Answering back, having strong opinions – are big NOs”

Few of the many suggestions and expert advices handed over to us from times innumerable by our well-wishers none other than our society including our own family members.  In short the onus of looking and being good, being responsible (as deemed and defined by the society) always rested on the shoulders of a woman. It doesn’t mean that man has not been assigned any responsibility.  But in comparison to those entrusted to or rather forced upon a woman they are frail and fragile. If a man is earning and feeding his family a major chunk of his duties are met. His behaviour and attitude go off the radar of questioning (not off the radar of back biting though).  And this has been the case no matter which country, which culture a woman belongs to. In fact I used to feel that societal pressure of as to how a girl or woman should look and behave is a norm in India which is predominantly a conservative and patriarchal society but when one of my readers asked to write about how girls were supposed to behave a certain way in her growing up years and might be even now and she doesn’t belong to India, few of my misconceptions cleared. http://www.corneliaweber-photography.com – reader I was referring to.

The intensity of sexism is so deep rooted.  Even the creativity of media is not left untouched by it. Few simple examples –

  • A father applies for a loan to send his son for higher studies and to marry off his daughter.  Marriage thus is the highest goal / achievement of a girl’s life.
  • A dusky coloured girl is no good. Fair complexion on the other hand is a matter of pride for the family and she is a winner already.
  • Our movies show how the protagonist will always fall for the docile and coy dame whereas the outgoing, strong, opinionated girl will always be good as his friend only.  She won’t make a good life partner.

This is pretty much the cycle of one impacting the other. And sadly it is still working.  Though things are changing to an extent that more and more girls are being given a chance to get educated, to voice  their opinions, to choose their career paths.  The average age at which a girl gets married is definitely getting pushed further with every passing decade. What is used to be 18 or 19 now stands at 25 -27. A welcome change giving a woman a little more opportunity to shape up things how she wants them. (* note: excuse me for bringing up “marriage” numerous times in our conversation but sadly still the parents feel it is the ultimate motto of their lives 😁).  More and more women taking up careers and  making comebacks, giving their contribution in strengthening the economy is a fresh breath of air.

But one thing really bothers me very much. The Tag of a super woman, as defined by the hypocrite side of society (read jobless neighbours, always jealous relatives, ever unsatisfied in laws)  – a woman who is educated, cooks well, earns for the family, looks great, keeps the home spotlessly clean, takes care of the kids, serves everyone in the family with a never ceasing smile on her face and most importantly she never complains or has mood offs, never says NO most importantly. Even the super man has to fight of less number of villains than donning so many hats. As a society we have to overcome our fetish for “Tags of Super”.  This could induce excruciating pain for the person (talking about every woman) with whom expectations are tied up – I meant both physically and mentally. Who are we to judge  someone’s capabilities? This is an important question to be asked at this very moment.  As a society we need to rethink our stand in matters pertaining to a woman / girl (let’s not leave boys our of this 😁):

  • Raise kids equally : it implies two things, mother and father both should be held responsible for a child’s upbringing. And kids of both the genders should be given same set of tasks at home without any bias. A boy can cook and a girl can take care of accounts. Such upbringing would ensure a complete person in the making.
  • Don’t tell your boys that boys don’t cry. Such suppression can be dangerous as they find infliction of pain on others as an outlet to their emotions. Many domestic violence cases have this psychological disorder behind them.
  • Marriage / bearing kids is not the end of the world. Stop thinking about other’s personal decisions.
  • Accept the fact that everyone have their own strengths and flaws. A fish can’t fly and and a monkey can’t swim in water. Your constant critical judgement may fail them in things they do best. They need space, so back out please.

A woman needs equal amount of respect and space as that of love. She deserves it completely, period!! And I salute to everyone who are leading the path in giving complete support to the women in their lives.

PS: I am not a supporter of third wave of (toxic) feminism that completely distorted the meaning of space and freedom for women and wrongly influencing young minds.  Boozing, doing drugs, having multiple physical relationships, using swear words, manipulating situations and using sympathy / victim card to settle scores with every man in their lives in the name of empowerment is only polluting the already fragile fabric of the society.  Empowerment is about educating and emancipation.  It’s about getting equal opportunities, equal pay, equal rights.  If something is wrong for a man it is equally wrong for a woman too, just because she does it won’t make it right.

DID I REALLY HAVE A CADBURY CHOCOLATE 20 YEARS BACK?

They say a simple Hello could lead to a million things. Well, in my case it led to nothing but a little embarrassment. It happened in my own wedding. Yes, you heard it right, it happened in my own wedding. I was supposed to be the center of attraction but I became the center of embarrassment, at least for a moment, if not more!

I was all decked up in a heavily gold – embroidered saree, layers and layers of makeup, a fancy hairstyle weighing more than 2 kgs and all sort of gold ornaments from head to toe. Thankfully, the major part of the traditional wedding was over and we were only left with accepting best wishes from relatives and friends. You can call it a mini reception event. With all the tiring ceremonies from early morning, changing sarees five times (yes, we need to change 5 times as per the tradition), and countless relatives, friends and well wishers buzzing around us, I was looking for someone who can get me a bite of a snack and a sip of water. How cruel is it to make the bride and groom eat the last in their own wedding? Whatever!

To add to the frustration, I was getting overwhelmed by the unending queue of well-wishers waiting to come on stage and greet us. With my energy levels going down to bare minimum, my patience was on the verge of betraying me but there was no other option than bearing that plastic smile while many aunties, uncles, mom’s friends, dad’s friends, sister’s friends and God knows who all were busy shaking hands and blessing us. In all this commotion, I clearly remember that at times I really used to get confused whether the people greeting us are from my side or my husband’s side. Well, you can’t blame me for that, after all, Indian wedding’s guest list does include who’s who!! Endless introductions like, ‘This is my school friend’ or ‘Meet my boss – I worked under him from 1994 to 2000’ or ‘Meet Mrs XYZ – she is the aunty of ABC who was in your school, 2 batches ahead of you’ (What?? Why did you even invite her? Oh yes, she must have invited you in her son’s marriage!) by my parents were making me go bonkers. The only relief was either of them was present alongside on the stage to receive guests and introduce them to us.

But there came a moment when my husband and I were alone on the stage and a group of ladies walked in. I was flashing a ear to ear smile (that’s what a bride supposed to do, right?) and was thinking these ladies seem to be my husband’s relatives (obviously, because I couldn’t recognize them). To my horror, the ladies walked up to me and the comedy show started.

One of the ladies seemed like a leader of their group and initiated the conversation

“Hello!!”

“Hello Aunty!”

“Congratulations!!!”

“Thank you Aunty!”

“My God! You have grown up so much!”

I was thinking to myself – yeah, obviously, I wouldn’t be getting married otherwise! But I reciprocated with a very humble smile.

You were so small when we saw you last. You remember I had given you a biiiiiiiiiiiiiig cadbury chocolate. You used to accompany your mom sometimes to work!

I was like, “Oh, really? That is so sweet of you Aunty!” But obviously, who remembers a cadbury after 20 years!

And then came the most embarrassing question –

Do you remember me?” Aunty was so pleased with my polite response to her memory of cadbury that she was almost certain that I have been thinking about her all through my childhood, adolescence and now “grownup” (as she referred to me some moment ago) phase.

Bang on! I got a hint that I am in trouble now. My eyes were frantically looking out for my mom, while my right hand was still held by Aunty as a gesture of a handshake that started right with a hello!

Of course Aunty!” I replied (not so confidently) because I thought telling her upfront that I don’t know who she is would sound too rude.

Awww, so sweeeet….” said Aunty pulling my cheek

Arrrghhh… who pulls a cheek of so called grown up girl??? More than that, I was worried that she might just pull out a layer of my makeup. Anyway, I thought, the worst was over. – Aunty was pleased with my response and will soon end the conversation and and proceed towards lunch. But I was wrong! Prompt came her next question and it felt no less than the bomb attack made on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Tell me, who am I?

OMG!!!! I really didn’t know who the lady was. All I could figure out was that she was some colleague of my mom, that too from very early years of her career. I didn’t know what to say. How I wished my mom would have not moved from my side! Since I was on my own, I made some feeble attempt.

Well, Aunty, I remember but I cannot recollect…” (What??? Did that sentence even make sense?? What was I saying???)

Aunty was having fun watching me get embarrassed and my husband couldn’t stop giggling. I had no option but to call out for my mom!

Thankfully, I saw my mom reappearing on stage and I heaved a sigh of relief. Then the formal introductions happened and finally the Aunty was satisfied that I finally really recollected who she is and she gladly proceeded for lunch though the truth was, I was still in haze to understand who that aunty really was. Thank God, other ladies from the group were not as enthusiastic as her to test my memory and just chose to be the spectators of my embarrassment rather than embarrassing me more!

I had gone pink in the face and warned my mom not move from my side until the reception is over.

What I learnt from that incident is that some guests can be difficult and tricky to handle. But being sweet to them doesn’t help. Instead, being honest can make it easier for you!

And, I would like to make one request to all of you. If you are going for a wedding of someone in distant relation or acquaintance, please, please introduce yourself to the bride and the groom. For God’s sake, do not quiz them about your identity, they have bigger things to think about!

THAT AWKWARD MOMENT WHEN …

I am not sure why our brain remembers the most embarrassing moments so well, whenever someone asks me of mine, this particular one I am going to write about stands out.

One day after office, I had been for grocery shopping. Yeah, one of those days when I get to return back from office while the sun is still out there, it’s a rarity. Walking towards the breakfast cereal section, my eyes were rolling over tier after tier of various varieties of stacked up cereal, for my favourite Apple honey almond muesli. I think they were out of stock, so I picked up some other flavour. I was engrossed in reading the ingredients of the pack, when a hand landed on my shoulder accompanied by a greet, “Hey Aastha, long time, how have you been ?”.  Overlooking my shoulder, I turned around, before I could respond, she said, ” You haven’t changed a bit …”

In response I greeted her back, with out taking her name. Hell, my brain was very busy trying to connect the information stored in neurons, failing to reconstruct the memory of her, coming up with several other questions in the advent of her identity. 

My inner voice chipped in, “Aastha, you know her quite well. Please, please, please try.. I am sure you would recollect. Is she from school ?”

Me: “I don’t think so. I remember her with the exact same face I am seeing her now, which means I have met her most probably after my late teens ?”

Inner voice: “Sure, sounds very true. Some coaching centre ?”

Me: ” I don’t remember, but that sounds untrue”

Inner voice: Job interviews ?”

Me: “No way, I have attended only two interviews till now, one when I was in college, I haven’t made any new friends during the interview process. Second one, I went alone, met no one and all the interviewers were men”

My brain was confused between me and my inner voice. Meanwhile the girl was also talking. I was secretly wishing that she mentions some one or some experience so that my brain can create the pattern and connect the dots. I was smiling (such a fake smile which I am totally not used to), I was feeling quite uncomfortable to have not remembered her. She was taking my name again and again making me feel really bad. 

Inner voice: “Is she from your current work place ?”

Me: “No, that can’t be”

Inner voice: “Now, please you have almost ruled out all the possibilities, she remembers you and you don’t.. “

Me: “Really, is that it ? I have known her for a long time, it is definitely not that I met her once or twice”

She was wearing her ID card ( she must be returning from work too ), damn it, it’s flipped on the wrong side, I was praying while we were walking around that her ID card flips so that I can read her name. My stupid thoughts are making me all the more ashamed. First of all, I do not remember her name, then I want something to remind me of her ??? This continued for around 10 minutes. By this time, my guilt took over me, I didn’t want to waste any more time, but ask her.

I started with an apology,”I am really very sorry. I know we have met several times, I know you well too, but I am not able to recollect your name. Kindly can you please remind me ?” She smiled, then she started laughing. May be it was my facial expression. ” Hmmm… We started our career together and worked for the same company, we stayed at the same place too”. All the memories came back to me in no time. We talked for some more time, I apologised again before we departed. How didn’t I notice the company name written on her ID Card tag, that should have reminded me. I have not just forgotten her name, but how we were connected too.

It was the most embarrassing moment, I can never forget it as well, including the color of the dress she wore 😀

Once I realised that I am very bad with names and how embarrassing it can be,  I have made some modifications.

  • I sincerely tell them before hand if I cannot recollect who they are.
  • I pay attention to the conversation, when someone is being introduced.
  • I started storing contacts in my phone along with the relationship.

Forgetting names is not a serious illness or anything. Our brain has got better ways to store faces than names. Facial recognition is what many species including humans use to identify similar species as well as things. If someone says they have a pen, we can visualise it, but if they say it’s a Parker pen, our brain runs us through the different models Parker has in market. We are naturally not wired to remember names very well. Having said that, there are two types of people, who can remember names well and others who don’t. Undoubtedly, I belong to the second type. Some have a flashy memory, they never forget the name of the person they met even if that is only once. I wish I had one too !!!!

The ‘oops’ moments are very funny, yet they make us aware of something we haven’t known. What’s your oops moment ?

THOSE CREEPY-CRAWLIES THAT MAKE YOU GO ‘YIKES!’

Do you cringe when you hear an owl screech in the dead of the night?

Do you yelp when you see a snake?

Do you hide under the blanket when you see a creepy branch rapping against the window,

Or jump on the bed when you see a spider/rat?

Of course, you do! Don’t be all brave and snobbish!

There is nothing, nothing wrong with being afraid of something or someone. It’s one of the most primal emotions known to mankind – fear, in fact to every species. A dog is scared of a bigger dog, a snake is scared of a mongoose, a lion is scared of man. Fear is often the only thing that is between survival and death. Then why hide behind a veneer of forced bravery?

Okay, it’s Monday morning. Let me not preach!

This week on Candles Online we are discussing Phobias and Fears. Since this is a Monday morning post (the week’s worst day), and since I’ve done some serious sharing on my real ‘fear of failing at writing’ in another blog post, I thought I’d spare you all the drama and start this week off on a lighter note.

So what’s my great big fear? Any guesses?

(Hint: It’s related to an animal)

It’s LIZARDS!!

Apparently, a fear of lizards is called Herpetophobia. So that makes me a Herpetophobic!

Yes, I have a morbid fear of them. I can’t tell you just how revolting the sight of their jaundiced skin is to me. To top it all, thrice in my life have I had their slithery bodies plopping onto me from some overhead crevice, the most recent incident being just a week back, and I nearly had a heart attack; my Fitbit recorded a heart rate of 165 bpm when that thing fell on me, I kid you not!

And as if that isn’t enough, I’m the butt of all lizard jokes in my family. Every time a lizard happens to be in the room, someone goes, ‘Oh, there’s a lizard lurking in that corner. Watch Pradita go bananas now!’ My husband has even captured me having a breakdown on account of a lizard in the kitchen on camera! Yes, I’m that lame.

Now onto the analysis part. One must ask why are we scared of itty-bitty creatures?  Can we not shoo away a lizard? Can’t we sweep away a spider or a cockroach? Can’t we trap a mouse? Yes, we can. But our fears take ahold of us and force an extreme reaction from us even for something as small and harmless as a spider. Some people are just born with it, but with most, it is because at some point of time, when we were growing up, we were exposed to a similar over-reaction from someone else and it became a part of our behaviour. It could also happen because we have been taught to be cautious of creepy-crawlies, because they are either disgusting or because they can bite/sting. So we developed a habit to react strongly since then because it got hard-wired into our brains.

As we attain adulthood such unnatural and senseless fears generally abate, but there are many, many out there (like me) who are just as scared of a bug as they were when they were five, some even requiring medical intervention. Granted some creepy-crawlies, like cockroaches, are carriers of disease, and lizards infact help you in getting rid of these pesky bugs from your home, but we still go berserk when we see them.

There is a scientific reason too for why we are afraid of these tiny creatures. It’s because our brains confuse disgust with fear; because both are strongly associated with something called the rejection response. As we humans evolved we incorporated this disgust-fear response into our behaviour. so it became a part of our ‘behavioural legacy’. That makes sense to me, considering how I think lizards are actually just disgusting rather than being fearsome, because really, what can they do to you, except scare the living daylights out of you when they detach their tails and freak you out. Yikes!

I’ll give you a real-life example. My daughter loves all kinds of animals. She calls lizards ‘Lizzy’ and when she started recognizing animals she had no qualms or fear about going after even the ickiest of bugs, like slugs and centipedes. She was unlike me in the presence of a lizard. But that changed over a period of time when she saw me over-reacting to lizards. Now she replicates my reaction when she sees a lizard and I hate myself for it because I’ve taught her to have an unnatural fear of these things instead of telling her calmly that she should be careful of them. Lesson learnt. Hopefully, I’ll undo the damage I’ve done in time, but parents beware, you may be passing on your fears to your children.

Coming back to the point of fear and how they affect us, the fear of bugs and icky things, laughable as it may be to some, can be quite crippling to those who suffer from it. I am unable to sleep in a room where I’ve found a lizard. There was an incident when I was in college, and a lizard was camping in the washroom of my paying guest accommodation, and I refused to go to the bathroom all night long, with the result that I had severe cramps the next morning that required painkillers. I have taught myself to control my unnatural fear and anxiety with regards Lizards, but I gave these examples to only remind us all that fears, even of the tiniest of creatures, are not a laughable matter when they start interfering with our normal lives. Extreme distress caused by these fears and phobias becomes a psychological disorder that requires treatment and therapy.

How do we prevent this from happening? In some cases, like where you just are afraid of such creatures, and they start to cripple your life, don’t be ashamed to seek help, you really can’t do anything else. But when you start getting those nasty panic attacks, breathe and tell yourself that they can’t harm you unless they come in contact with you (in case of those creatures that are disease carriers or sting/bite), and that in most cases, those poor creatures are more scared of us than we are of them!

Above all, do not, I repeat, DO NOT allow yourself to be humiliated or humiliate someone else for having these phobias. Remember every one of us has a fear of something. If we don’t, we’re liars.

I leave you with this quote by Tim Hoch –

Don’t be fearless, just fear less

Have a great Monday everyone!

 

Featured Image: ThuyHaBich at Pixabay

THE SELFIE MANIA

A couple of days back I read of a shocking incident that had happened in the October of 2014, in Italy. A female nurse was arrested for the murder of 38 victims. But what was more shocking was a disturbing photo seized by the police: a selfie the nurse took of herself (in her hospital scrubs) standing near the body of a recently deceased patient while smiling and making a thumbs-up gesture! The local prosecutor, aghast at the horrific nature of the evidence remarked, “In all my professional years of seeing shocking photos, there were few such as these.”

Sometime back, the Indian newspapers carried the story of a young lad who lost his life while taking a selfie on a railway track with a fast approaching train behind him! So sad. He didn’t live to share his daring act!

To make the mood of this article a bit lighter, how many of you have competed with family members and friends as to who can pout the best for a selfie?

Yes, the selfie trend has brought in with it pouty poses (horns, winks and V-signs were already there before). Be it alone or with a group of friends, to pout for a selfie is the in-thing. Sounds cool!

While clicking selfies for harmless fun captures good moments, an overdose of ‘taking selfies’ is really something to worry about.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has officially declared taking ‘selfies’ a mental disorder. The disorder is named ‘selfitis’ and is defined as the obsessive compulsive desire to take photos of one’s self and post them on social media as a way to make up for the lack of self-esteem and to fill a gap in intimacy.

According to APA, there are three levels of the disorder:

  • Borderline selfitis – taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day but not posting them on social media
  • Acute selfitis – taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day and posting each of the photos on social media
  • Chronic selfitis – Uncontrollable urge to take photos of one’s self round the clock and posting the photos on social media more than six times a day

Well well, if you are not in any of these three categories, you are sort of safe. But yes, the separating line is not impermeable!

When I started taking selfies, I really had to learn the right way to incline the camera at the right angle, place the finger at the right postion for the click, take a proper pose with the background in mind, smile and then c..c..click… After the initial clumsiness, when I sort of got used to it (haven’t mastered it yet), I had the urge to take a couple of selfies after I reached my workplace early in the morning and then later when I was about to wind up for the day – just to compare how fresh I looked as I started the day and how worn out I looked as the workday came to an end. I generally never took selfies at other times. Neither did I post them in any social media site. On a few occasions, I shared a couple of good ones with friends and family.

But each day as I took those selfies at my workplace and looked at myself, I wondered why I was doing it. Wasn’t it making me focus more on ‘how I look’ rather than on ‘who I am’? Yes, indeed appearance is an integral part of who we are. However, I felt that clicking selfies is making me focus more on ‘the me’ and ‘the I’ and there was a danger of slipping into an obsession regarding one’s looks. So, no more selfies in the workplace for me!

An occasional selfie with a group of loved ones or at a scenic place of visit is definitely something to cherish. But when we become fixated with our own image, it does speak something more than just a picture.

Our feel-good factor should not rest merely with how we look externally – in our own eyes or in the eyes of others. It is definitely much more than that.

The story is told in Greek mythology about a hunter called Narcissus who was known for his beauty. Once he saw his own reflection in a pool and fell in love with it, not realizing that it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus lost his will to live. He stared at his reflection until he died. Thus we have the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself and one’s physical appearance or public perception. And, several decades back, the APA classified one of the personality disorders as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Some of you may feel that I am simply making a harmless selfie sound so terrifying. But, its important to remember that our gestures towards ourselves do convey a world load of meaning about our psychological state.

As I have stated before, an occasional selfie for a memory does not indicate psychological ill-health. Its only when we become obsessive about taking selfies every now and then, that it is something to worry about.

The need for appreciation, approval, acceptance, affirmation, self-esteem; a feeling of loneliness and depression steer one to find satisfaction in one’s own self. And these are the chief factors that unconsciously propel us to love or hate our own images.

The next time you incline your camera to click a selfie, do pause for a moment and ask yourself why are you about to take this selfie.

EMOTIONS THAT DRAIN ME,​ YET STRENGTHEN ME

“It was an amateur me

A spontaneous moment

wherein I lost all the integrity

The lessons I read but never implemented

a moment of childishness

a moment of anger

that exploded in me

It was quick but left an impact on many 

I never turned back to look what was the impact

but the effect stayed along in me as I walked away

for a moment it was relieving 

for a moment it was clouding my thoughts 

unable to throw me out of my dilemma

I ran away from the emotions

I closed my eyes, to read my heart

yet it was deceiving me too.”

~~~~~~

If I could recall a moment of emotional me, it would be the last job I worked on. It was not a decision  I made, but the “emotional me” let me decide that I do not want to be crunched under those political feets. I was drained emotionally, unable to think and every effort I took was not getting noticed. In a way, it was draining me. I knew being emotional in a corporate world was not a right choice.

Bein born to get attached to people and things was the only defect I had. I knew I had the least survival chances in the corporate world, as I never knew how to be swim across the current. The only solution was to bid goodbye to my job and leave myself in an isolation. Yet, the decision was strong enough for me. It brought in a positive aspect of life into me. Though initially, it was an untamed emotion, gradually it became an asset to me, to decide and understand the world. The emotional step changed my life as a whole, yet I was happy.

Being a mother, changed the whole perspective of emotions in me. My heart seemed to be much more vulnerable when am a mother. A heart that yearns to be with the child always. I realised motherhood is the weakest emotion that let you carry away, yet the strongest of all. I realised that emotions are my strength – the power of love, anger, gratitude, sadness everything in a mixed form – that is what I am. I am proud of it now.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I look at you

The only feeling that accumulates  

is the feeling of love

emotions became my strength 

emotions let me feel you the most

As you arrived in my life 

there was a reason that my eyes watered

It was the strongest feeling that aroused in me

the feeling of being a mom

you drive my emotions crazy

yet you are my life 

you are my weakness

you are my strength

there is nothing more joyful than being a mom

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Being a mother, I enjoy the roller coaster ride of emotions.

To quote : 

“Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.”

Roger Ebert

Yes, emotions are our inner strengths undefined.  An asset to us, which helps our unconscious mind lead us to the right path. Driven by emotions at times might lead you into troubles, yet every step in life is a lesson. A lesson to be learned, a lesson to be cherished.

 

Express

OF DAYS GONE BY, THOSE THAT ARE AND THOSE YET TO COME

Oftentimes our human mind is hasty to picture modernization merely in terms of technological advancements. However, the concept of modernization is much broader than that. A reflection on the emergence and development of various civilizations of the world would make us realize that each civilization that came into existence centuries later, was more advanced and modern than those preceding it. That is how we have the Stone Age giving way to the Bronze Age which in turn gave way to the Iron Age. And gradually, we are today in what can aptly be called as the Digital Age! In historical and sociological terms, the present age that we are living in today is termed as the ‘post-modern age’.

As we look back to the blissful past, there are indeed certain things that dim the illumination of this post-modern age. Today, the world is teeming with high human population; but sadly humanity is on the decline. Education opportunities are on the rise – scholarships, fellowships and educational loans are easily available now than they were in the past. However increasing knowledge base has reduced the basic levels of common sense in people – leave alone digging deep into the mines of wisdom. IQ levels have risen, but EQ levels have miserably dipped. The global job market offers numerous opportunities for people to carve a niche for themselves. With high standard jobs come high income, more facilities and less peace of mind. Many people have tasted sweet success in their careers today, than they could do in the past. But the pressure to remain successful makes life and living stressful.

Newer explorations to the space, sun, moon, Mars and other planets are being planned everyday; while people have little communication with their own family members and with their neighbours. The picture at the dinner table is increasingly becoming like this: the family members sitting around the table – a spoon in one hand and a mobile in the other, eyes fixated onto the screen! Where is the time for bonding, communication, emotional development within the family that used to be a tale to boast years down the lane?

There was a time when families lived under thatched houses or one-room apartments, but did share their joys and sorrows with each other. With increasing modernization, bigger houses with excellent amenities mark prosperity. But, with it comes the concept of individual space (which is so widely misunderstood) – a room for each member of the family, thus isolating each person to his/her own corner. Gaps in the family bonding are wide enough to give space to extra-marital relationships and conflicts among the members.

Healthcare is at its best today than it was few decades back. But giving the healthcare think tanks a tough time, are lifestyle diseases and psychological problems, which are at their peaks today than they were anytime previously. Alienation leading to depression, performance pressure giving rise to anxiety disorders and the pressure to conform to changing patterns giving rise to personality disorders.

We are increasingly developing into an impatient generation. We want things to be done instantly – no matter to whatever extent we need to go to get our ends met. The practice of delayed gratification and self-control are quickly fading into the oblivion.

We cannot travel back in time to those simple days of innocence and bliss. Time moves forward. Development is the name of the day. And we all want to taste the boons of modernization. However as we aim to fly high in the air, let’s bear in mind that dust we are and to dust we shall return. No matter what era we belong to, we need to hold the basic life values dear to the heart and pass on the same to the generation next.