Monday, March 24, 2014

Fursat ke Raat Din

I wonder what would have been the state of Physics knowledge today had Newton been busy checking his facebook status when the apple fell.

We are so busy these days! People have no time for anything. They are constantly checking up the Net for the next interesting update on their social network: who is feeling bloated after a heavy lunch? who is not feeling like working after a 'spirited' weekend? Who has just made a banana pudding or something? How important!

It's hard to have anyone's undivided attention for any significant time because they must look at their phone once every few seconds. Deep discussions, that one life-saving, relation-building, intellect building, thing we used to do with our friends are now a thing of the past. 

Talking of our kids, they don't know how to deal with open time, open space. We used to wait with bated breath for half an hour of Mickey and Donald on Sunday mornings. Our kids have 24 by 7 uninterrupted supply of Doraemons, Ninja Hattoris, Chhota Bheem, Thomas and his Friends etc etc. A moment by themselves, and they become irritable.

For us as children, the state of boredom was probably the most important trigger for creativity. When those summer vacations turned out to be longer than could be filled up with cricket, hide-n-seek, game of cards, climbing trees, chit-chats -- that when our drawing kits used to come out, visits to the library became an option. Creativity was not an option, it was an essential survival tool for us. There was no format, no classes, no costs. Identify things you love doing, or get bored.

Today, various expensive tests have to be done to find out your talent. Tennis classes you stop going to after a few days, swimming classes you discontinued because of your allergy, singing, piano, drawing, abacus ... thousands and thousands spent to find that one perfect match for your talent.

We like to believe that everything is custom-made for us. That one life-partner, that favourite food item, the perfect profession, the only artistic expression. The pursuit for perfection leads us to react in a bored way to almost everything that comes our way. Our lover must sweep us off our feet. The best cuisine must give you an orgasm. We should be in a profession where we love every moment of our day.

I mean, come on!

I know, for the above banter, I am going to be branded the typical old-school guy who can't tolerate how technology affects our lives. But we are probably the last generation left here who can tell what it means to really go unplugged, offline. Our kids will never know that feeling, except as rare moments of complete despair.

Anyway, I wanted to make it a quick one. I had thought of it many times, but felt inspired to write this out inspired from a similar post from one of my friends today about how people have started depending on facebook trivia to express themselves and find interest in life.

We are so strange! On the one hand, we keep whining about how busy we are; how nice the days were when we had free time. On the other, we greet fleeting moments of leisure and emptiness with complete boredom and apathy!


Sambaran said...

This post leaves me puzzled. I myself have kept myself out of social media for exactly the reasons you alluded to in this post. However this line leaves scope for discussion:
"We should be in a profession where we love every moment of our day"
Methinks it is a worthy goal to have, even if you cannot achieve it.
On a slightly unrelated note (or may not be that unrelated), have you read fountainhead? If yes, I would like to know your thoughts about Howard Roark's professional attitude.

Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti said...

Dear Sambaran,

I think 'loving every moment of our day' is a worthy goal. So is 'having the most beautiful/handsome/loyal/intelligent/caring/... partner'. What I wish to point out is our attitude to things when they don't match our ideal expectations. In this facebook era, we want each moment to filled with interesting tit-bits.

Regarding Roark's attitude, well, Ayn Rand would have quickly put me in the 'parasites' bucket if I shared my thoughts about him. In short, I feel, the line of demarcation that Ayn Rand draws between people is drawn at the wrong place. You can't distinguish people so simplistically. Also, I can't see how intolerance towards people unlike oneself figures as a merit. Regarding Roarke's love for his work, I identify somewhat with it, thought Rand again makes it look rather filmy.