The Good Old Days

It is often misleading to compare life in two different eras, but that is exactly what I’m attempting to do in this post.

Recently I have been reading some classic Malayalam novels like Sundarikalum Sundaranmarum by Uroob, Oru Deshathinte Kadha by S.K.Pottekkatt and Unnikkuttante Lokam by Nandanar. All these books beautifully describe the life in Northern Kerala some 90 to 50 years ago. One thing struck me after reading these books, more than anything else- that how sterile the environment in which I grew up- and my childhood- were.

I’m not grumbling or being ungrateful. I like to think that I am fully aware of how lucky I am to have been able to grow up in comfort, with liberty and into a life full of possibilities. But something is missing- big time. I really don’t know how to pinpoint what exactly is missing.

Perhaps it’s the lack of contact and communion with nature, having been brought up entirely in a town. Perhaps it’s the effect of today’s schools(which are more like factories). Perhaps it’s because of the demise of the joint families where cousins got together in their ancestral homes at least during vacations (my elder cousins had this fortune. By the time I was growing up it was too late…).

Perhaps it’s because of the marginalization of society. Especially in towns, people generally interact only with people from similar economic/social backgrounds. This is very evident if you look at the backgrounds of your classmates, whether in school or at college. Perhaps it’s because so much time is now spent watching/listening to various virtual media so that actual time spent “living” is less. Time spent observing and interacting with the real world. So that we have withdrawn deeper and deeper into our shells of comfort and become less and less bothered about what’s going on outside it.

It must be a combination of all these things and more, which I do not have the words to explain- basically a lack of diversity and colourfulness to stimulate the senses and the intellect, compared to the “good old days”. Of course, these are my personal views. I can’t generalize them, but from my understanding of my peers I could confidently say that these conditions apply to many if not most of them too, differing only marginally from person to person.

I simply cannot accept this as the “price of progress”, just like I cannot accept environmental degradation and our alienation from nature as the price of progress and civilization. I sometimes wish I was born at least some 20 years earlier! But coming back to reality, I really do want to explore alternative ways to see if I can rediscover some of that colourfulness…

5 thoughts on “The Good Old Days

  1. I completely share the thoughts that you have. Reminds me of this snippet ..

    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.

    T.S.Eliot.

    Love,
    Gopu.

  2. Do you think generations 50 years from now will look upon the life in our era more lively that theirs. Nobody would have told them anything about the era 100 years behind them.

    1. I honestly don’t know. Who knows what life will be like 50 years from now? It will be up to the people living then to compare. Even if we extrapolate the current trends in the world, we can only blindly speculate.

      I would like to think that the challenges that humanity is facing today will force us all to come out of our shells, which could make for a livelier(not necessarily as comfortable) world 50 years from now- but these are only speculations. Who can predict what will happen, let alone what people then will think of our lives 50 years from now?

  3. Hmm.. Fully comprehend. Joint families had a lot of positives (and negatives) but I would enjoy that more. And please.. no technology to infect the life. Convenience has increased, no doubt. But probably what you missed was the closeness with nature – playing in mud, running in rain, walking along a paddy field, fishing in a pond, learning swimming in an actual pond and not in a swimming pool..
    I have a lot of rememberence of Kozhikkod which I planned to post as a blog. Sometime later..

    1. >>I have a lot of rememberence of Kozhikkod which I planned to post as a blog. Sometime later..

      Eagerly looking forward to reading that…

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