# Day 237 (Those were the days…)

Sometime back i had written about the nostalgia-filter and how a peep through that just improves what you are looking at. (Day 195) When i was younger it used to be amusing to watch the older generation speak so fondly of how wonderful life was in the ‘good old days’. Now i have to stop myself from falling into that trap. As a rule i do believe that life is about moving with optimism and hope into the future and not about living in some sentimental past. From experience i know that such talk is often confusing for those listening in. My own grandparents and even parents and in-laws would often have contradictory things to say about how life was in their younger days. They would talk with much fondness about how those were simpler times, people had more regard for each other, there was more trust and faith among men, a little money could buy so much (just as an aside the price of consumer goods and how cheap they were in ‘our’ times is one boast everyone of us likes to participate in ~ a Coke for 25paise, fuel at Re 1 a litre, a beer for Rs 5 and so on and so forth!) On the other hand there would be stories of the hardships they had to face ~ walking a couple of miles if not more to visit relatives or reach their school/hostel, using lanterns and hurricane lamps for lighting since there was no electricity, fetching water from a distance, the cumbersome job of cooking on coal and fire-wood etc. The question that always came to mind was how could they call those days ‘good’—they were just old and gone! That is when i began to realise that when people view the past through a prism of rose-coloured memory, they just filter out all the unpleasantness and that is what makes bygone days better than they really were! The reality is that circumstances around us change—sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.
When i look back there are so many changes around that i’m grateful for. Yes there are fond memories i would like to cherish and thanks to the digital age technology there are a myriad ways of preserving those ~ from old photographs, music to movies and books. However, the quality of our daily living in practical terms is so much better ~ i’m no Sybarite but i do love the little luxuries technology has ensured for us from cars to drive around in, mobile phones to communicate with, air-conditioning and heating to make the elements more bearable, to washing machines, dryers and the like to help you with routine chores. Life is no longer ’simple’ ~ the most preferred argument in favour of the past; but this very complexity is the reason it is better.
They say what feeds the illusion that the past was so much better is our natural resistance to change. Every time you have to grapple with a new gadget or technology you begin to rue the fact that life has become ‘complicated’! Just when you become accustomed to doing something a certain way, something new comes along that requires a change of the old habit. Just as an example, take the television : tv-viewing started with the basic black and white ones that had a few knobs to fiddle with, and we’ve now come to those complicated ’smart-tvs’ with their remotes that can perform impossible-to-remember functions. Every time an upgrade happens, the viewing experience gets better and better, but we also need to raise our own standard and learn new tv operating skills. The problem is the older we get, the more reluctant we are to shift gears and move out of our comfort zone. And so we hanker for the good old ‘simpler’ life.
Therein lies the challenge ~ do you want to hide behind a cloud of nostalgia for the known and familiar, or do you want to bravely step forward and embrace the strange and foreign. Perhaps a little bit of both would be a good point to start with…


About sunsur81

A gatherer of thoughts...exploring myths,metaphors and expressions of life...
This entry was posted in 365 Days Blog-roll, Thought snippets and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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