I was six or may be seven. My parents had taken me to our house in Shimoga, Karnataka where my grandparents (mom’s parents) lived. My brother used to live with them. One evening, grandma sent us to fetch grandpa who had gone to one of his friends’. Grandpa was a school headmaster and he used to enjoy his evenings with his friends. Hailing from an orthodox Brahmin family, grandpa has always stayed away from smoking and drinking. But there’s this one taboo he has never shunned. In fact, it’s one taboo that is totally acceptable in our family – playing cards. That evening, I saw grandpa playing cards with his friends. There was a little money at stake. Not much, just a little. A small portion of his salary.
About two decades have gone by and I remember that day only vaguely. But I remember it. I especially remembered it today when I was in the loo and was recollecting how today went by.
We had been to a resort on the outskirts of Bangalore from our team today. The important thing which needs a mention in the context of this blog and which I learnt today was how good my manager and his manager are at playing Badminton. They don’t play regularly. But, they play well. When I was thinking about this in the loo, I started wondering why these folks don’t do it often. I’m sure they do indulge in some activities beyond usual household stuff, but this part never came to be mentioned in the 2 years I’ve known my manager. What I do know are the places he went on a tour in these two years – Kashmir, Goa and Singapore, how half of his clan owns houses in a posh locality of Bengaluru; and a few stocks and mutual funds he invests in.
The one thing that connects these two incidents or thoughts is “simplicity of leading a life”.
Human race has surely evolved a zillion leaps and bounds in the last few centuries. The last two decades, especially, have brought in unimaginable technologies and machines into being.
We interact differently, we dine differently, we live differently. Even the 2000s seem like days of yore. Letters have been replaced effectively by whatsapp, landlines and PCs by smartphones. Gone are the days of old-school Iyengar Mess and Brahmin restaurants, fine dine places and multi-cuisine are the modern ways of eating out. Playing cards with aged friends in modern Indian cities is a thing of the past. If one has to play cards with others, a club membership becomes a must and getting that is neither easy nor is it cheap. We dream of buying apartment flats and the advertisements sell us apartments that cost ‘just 6.7 Cr.’. We simply oblige and work our a** off to get that house, to announce our arrival, to proudly flaunt the assets we own and the zeroes we have our rights over.
It’s these times, these lifestyles that make me question if we are really evolving. If yes, at what cost?
When was the last time you took a stroll in the evening breeze without worrying about being knocked down by a vehicle? When was the last time you took that stroll in the first place. When was the last time you spent a night on the terrace gazing at the stars? When was the last time you played cards with your friends or even had a cup of coffee at your friend’s place? When was the last time you went on a picnic in your own city and not outside? When was the last time you packed your lunch in steel containers and went to a park calling it a picnic? Do you even use steel tiffin boxes anymore? When was the last time you listened to the radio or may be an old song on a device other than your smartphone discussing the music with your parents? Do you still play ‘antakshari’ when there’s a power cut? Do you still eat rice and sambar using your hands and not using a spoon, when in office? Do you still print your photos and make an album out of those prints? Do the zillion photos you clicked on that trip to Singapore equate to that special album lying in the cupboard covered with dust, the one that was made out of 3 rolls of 36 photo Fujifilm? Do you still remember how it felt when that 36 photo film roll gave extra mileage by allowing you to click a 37th picture?
I miss that life. The one that was much much simpler. The one in which I would’ve written this in the pages of a dairy, with a Reynolds 045 or a Hero Pen; but, certainly not on WordPress. I miss that life!