jolly.jpgOnce upon a time: *gulli-danda and kanche (marbles) were more popular than cricket…* When Chitrahaar, vikram-baitaal, dada daadi ki kahaniyaan were so fulfilling…* When we were exchanging comics and stamps, and chacha-chaudaris and billus were our heroes… * When the first rain meant getting drenched and playing in water and mud and making ‘kaagaj ki kishtis’… *When life was a passenger’s sleeper giving enough timeand opportunity to enjoy the sceneries from its open and transparent glass windows instead of some superfast’s second AC with its curtained, closed and dark windows…

The list can be endless….!! This extract from a forwarded mail managed to capture my attention. There was indeed a time when even small, petty things used to excite us a lot; when we experienced pleasure in performing even our daily rituals. But in today’s over-ambitious, fast moving and tech-savvy world, people are ready to slaughter each other over petty and futile issues. Jealously and materialism have replaced laughter and contentment. We no longer enjoy the beauties of nature or cherish small little moments. The complexities of urban life have devoid us of the many pleasant and delirious things, which earlier we used to enjoy to the fullest. How I wish I could go back to my past!

I had a candid conversation with Dr.Veena Singhal [MBBS, MD (Path)], leading Pathologist and Owner of ‘Veena Medical Laboratory’, who feels strongly about the issue. Expressing her concern, she says, “Earlier we used to find happiness and satisfaction in small things. Now it is becoming increasingly difficult to find things which give us happiness. Earlier, performing even small tasks gave us a lot of work satisfaction, like for instance, decorating and white-washing our houses during festivals meant a lot of work, yet it was exciting. But now, people opt for readymade stuff for the sake of convenience. Pay packets have shot up and tensions have increased but in the process, small- time joys have disappeared. Now we look for bigger issues that may excite us.” Indeed, today we lookout for gossips, link-ups and even controversies for entertainment and to satisfy our malicious minds. We tend to derive pleasure out of strange, insane things. For instance, the weekend special of a leading newspaper talked about a live-in couple, both working in reputed firms. The guy used to have bruises and marks all over his body. Reason? Well, shockingly, his partner likes to hit him with a bat during their ‘sessions’, because she derives pleasure out of it. What have we made out of us? Echoes Dr Veena, “Our idea of happiness is changing. We don’t mind falling to degrading levels in order to derive pleasure and achieve happiness. The result is development of perverted personalities.” But who is to blame for this – items of luxury or modern-day advancements? “We ourselves”, comes the reply. She adds, “We have tuned our lives to the gadgets. They are made for our utility; it is for us to decide whether we want to use or misuse them. Our over-ambitious nature is also one of the reasons.”However, I feel that some things have changed for the better. With time, man has progressed and his definition of happiness has altered accordingly. Voicing her opinion, she says, “Today there are four color TVs in each house and we prefer watching it alone in our respective rooms. Is this how we have progressed? As a routine habit, this is wrong. Earlier the entire family used to watch television together. Now we have lost adjustment for each other. Sharing and caring have become actions of past.”

This was surely an eye-opener, right? Many of you might be wondering about the right course of action. According to me, we should not overburden ourselves with work. Instead we should schedule ourselves in such a way so that there is enough time left for recreation, and for our family. Sharing her view, she says, “Small-time joys and happiness are very important today. For this, one should develop hobbies, such as gardening and watching nature. Cultivating plants, nurturing them and watching them grow day-by-day is a delightful activity. Other than that, mix-up socially with your neighbours. Also, spend quality time with your family members. Interact with your grandparents and try to learn from their experiences; this leads to mutual happiness.” I hope you would have learned something from this interview and it made you feel happy, atleast for the time-being!

Pratik Goel