Where are we headed today?
When I was a school boy in the sixties, I vividly noticed that even though most of the middle class families were quite large with grandparents, parents and siblings around, they lived happily and in style even with less money on hand
When I was a school boy in the sixties, I vividly noticed that even though most of the middle class families were quite large with grandparents, parents and siblings around, they lived happily and in style even with less money on hand. Despite the fact, the entire family depended on the earnings of only one member to run the household, it was just sufficient to meet the basic necessities leaving little for purchases of clothes often as is been done today.
However difficult, keeping the tradition, new clothes were purchased once either during Dasara/Diwali. Even as bi-cycle could not be owned by quite a number of middle class families, most of the kids merrily covering two to three kilometre distance daily to reach school in a group chatting and laughing.
Despite tiredness felt at times, there were no demands made to arrange for private transport. We had enough fun and frolic with family members and friends during major festival time like Sankranthi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Dasara and Diwali with retired grandpa getting a meagre pension bestowing us with some cash for cinema, the only entertainment during those glorious days.
As we stepped into the 70s, two-wheelers had been a dream acquisition of the middle class in the 50s and 60s saw few venturing to buy with their savings. Even then, owning a telephone was a status symbol as every middle class person tried to get it installed in their houses. Slowly the coming decades saw the invasion of gadgets like TV, AC, washing machine, Refrigerator, DVD players into the middle class that changed the way every family lives.
After entering the 90s, possession of computers, mobile phones used for multi purposes came into being besides car becoming the mode of transportation than public transport, the life style of every middle class have undergone a dramatic change.
But today, chatting, e-mailing and social media becoming normal, traditional letter-writing which conveyed in-depth message, greetings of bond and love on occasions have become the passe. Going to cinema theatre and watching a movie with friends once in a way was not only cherished but captured every moment of togetherness for days.
Now it has lost its sheen as everyone goes in his own way watching films online. Further the swish multiplexes spanning a new urban culture and redefining a lifestyle has made not only life but watching film in theatre became less enjoyable.
Similarly eating out was exceptionally rare in the past but now has become a normal practice in Middle class homes.
Even then the spark of laughter and enjoyment while having dinner together with family in homes is missing. Notwithstanding the fact that midterm and summer holidays in the past were best utilised by going to the library to read books of our choice and cherishing it, today with most libraries either closed or partially open with no fresh additions of books on various subjects to cater to the interest of all ages, going to library has become a thing of the past amongst young.
No doubt Indian middle class today lives in style with luxuries than in the past, the craze to acquire more than others due to envy has left many listless and restless. Recollecting the bygone days, where in the absence of luxuries and modern gadgets, middle class with meagre possessions were able to lead a happy life enjoying every moment with gratitude and commitment to see everyone around lived happily.
As I miss those wonderful days visiting libraries during holidays, look forward eagerly to festivals to share and enjoy in the company of family and friends and finally never miss to hear the running commentary on radio of international matches of my favourite sport cricket, I am bemused at the rapid deterioration of life style today where everyone counts on money and busy amassing wealth to show off even as love, affection and bond between dear and near ones resting on thin thread is slowly becoming non-existent.