Life has given us material comforts. We have double income, but we lives in a small apartment, eats at fancy restaurants, dress impeccably and spend holidays at exotic places. We debate whether we can finance the upbringing of a second child. Our grandparents had simpler lives. They lived in decent houses (read bungalows in some cases), supported large families with 7-10 children, educated them and had time for philanthropy. Families were cohesive. Are we any better than our grandparents, asks Nikita, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Two generations ago, our grandparents were able to own their own decent house and send 7-10 children to college on one salary and small odd jobs. While they lived a very simple life with no weekend fixed outings and expensive foreign vacations, they were happier than us. Today, a couple with double income lives in a small apartment, eats at fancy restaurants, dresses impeccably and spends holidays at exotic places debates whether they can finance the upbringing of a second child.
So, whose life is better is debatable. We live in better homes, we have machines that can cook, clean and wash for us in less than an hour whereas our grandmothers used to spend hours doing the same chores. The internet gives us the benefit of connecting with the world but aren’t we disconnecting from ourselves. Organisations now expect their employees to be accessible round-the-clock. The fine line between professional and personal life has thinned and is fast vanishing.
A few decades ago, people lived a simpler life. They spent less time at work and had more leisure time for family and friends. It has been scientifically proven that they were physically and mentally healthier. We are caught up in political correctness and double standards. Life is hard.
We are not having Wars as witnessed by our grandparents but we are all fighting a battle within ourselves 24×7. We measure success as money. Our happiness index is dependent on our bank accounts. Everything revolves around being financially sound. Our Society refuses to respect good people with empty pockets.
Our grandparents were not obsessed with acquiring gold. They did not need sleeping pills to forget worries of the day. They were not glued to machines. They did not need alcohol and drugs to celebrate their joys. They could leave their houses unlocked without worries of robbery and theft. They knew who lived in the neighborhood and communities helped each other grow. Our grandparents did not wished to be the Best. Today, everyone is in a rat race hoping to win it. Our competition is with one another and not ourselves. We have been trained into believing that there is only one winner.
Childhood is dying. Our children are competent and overtly ambitious. Play has become a wastage of time. They do not gel well with families and relatives. Physical activity has come down to zero in their busy schedules. Couples do not get the time to talk to each other owing to busy corporate life.
I remember the last words of my grandma, “Let me breathe for one second.” Everyone surrounded her bed in the hospital and they were all talking hurriedly – get this, get that, bring him, call the doctor, where is xyz. Our lives can be summed up in these words – “let me breathe for one second.” We have forgotten how to take a break and plug off from our fast running lives. We are forever in hurry to do something, to be somewhere and to become someone that we forget we already are someone.
My grandma had heroic tales to narrate, she saved a Sikh family of 12 people during riots from being burnt alive and witnessed the train of dead people to find her own child amongst them. My grandfather in a meager salary of 800 rupees brought up eight children and still managed to serve the poor. He walked on the streets at midnight and covered poor people in blankets, he lived a simple life, taught poor children, who could not afford education and advocated the same values to his children.
This is lost in our generation. The goodness of human being, the tranquility of solitary life and sophistication of a simplicity.
Photo sourced by author.
Nikita Goel is a Texas-based writer. She is actively associated with Aagaman Literary and Cultural Society’s English Publications. She has worked as the managing editor for Purple Hues. She has co-authored three books. Her poems have been published in five anthologies. She has been featured online on Readomania, Aagaman -The Arrival, Writers e-zine, Writing Geeks, Literary and Creativity Magazine. Her blog, Enchantress, has been adjudged India’s best blog for three consecutive years.