There was a time when life used to be simple. There were no smartphones, no social media, no YouTube and no Netflix binge. Instead those days after work were spent in playing card games, or playing cricket, or even going for trekking on a nearby mountain.
I remember the summer vacations were the most excited period of life back then. Because those two months of holidays ( April and May) in India were the most awaited days during the school year. As soon as the last day of school ended, the everglowing smile on the kids face, and at the same time, the angry look on their parents face ( as they would have to spend the next two months running away from their kids never ending demands, fights, masti, whatever you may call). The first thing we kids used to do is purchase some wafers, or chocolate as soon as we came out of the school gate. The street vendors were also wise enough to stand just outside the school, knowing the last day of school is about to over.
Then the next two months plan would include, not much but playing cricket all day, watching WWF (known as World Wrestling Federation back then). If you are from 90’s generation, you would have experienced that golden era when all kids were crazy after the WWF fights, trump cards, huge fan following especially for Rock, or the Undertaker and even going to the extent of setting up a wrestling stage at home using pillows, cushions and mattresses, and trying to emulate the stunts with friends. Oh, What an era that was!
As there were no tech gadgets, hence, we rarely stayed at home. Infact, I remember my mother and my friends mother’s would often complain that we kids never stayed at home during holidays. I guess, nowadays the biggest concern of today’s generation mothers is how to get their kids out of their room or house for playing! I can’t believe time has changed so much in just 20 years!
When I compare the kids life today with the time when I was a kid back in 90’s, besides the huge technological leap and the sophisticated lifestyle many kids today are living, there is another difference between both the times. And that is happiness. Our happiness back then was often associated with little things, like allowing to play cricket all day, buying favorite chocolate, a special type of wafer known as ‘Bobby’ ( I don’t think anyone eats these days), or even eating our favourite maggi while watching WWF fights.
However, even those little things which we eat or watched made us happy. Because we knew it was finite, and that we won’t get it everyday. Hence, we enjoyed every moment of it. Infact, our school teachers, and parents even tried to play a trick that if we studied for ‘x’ number of hours, then we would get our favorite drink -‘Rasna’ or even allowed to eat Ice cream. Maybe it was a psychology ‘Operant Conditioning’ on us, but we valued the treat we got later. And that made us happy.
Maybe because there weren’t many things to do, and hence, whatever we got we valued them. Life was not luxurious back then, atleast when we compare to current standards. But that never made us sad or depressed. While today, we see there is excess of everything. Kids are pampered by all sorts of things to such an extent that they lose the value of what they have got ( and how much they have got). And even worse, is the social media, YouTube, online games, which all comes for free these days. Facebook is free, watching videos is free, playing games is free, and thus what happens is when we get things for free and in abundance ( with the never ending supply as these social media, gaming sites are available 24X7), today’s young generation hardly realises the value of it.
Because we understand the value of something after we pay the price for it, or when we lose/miss it.
And today’s tech, social media is inherently built on the foundation that their service is offered for free, and is always available. Hence, we don’t pay for it, and neither do we miss it. Now, do we realize how big this problem is?
And the worst part is that all this is not making us happy anymore. As I reminisced about my days as a kid, I find it very depressing that today’s kids are not experiencing that happiness in small things anymore. Because all the things they are getting easily, freely and without any dearth of supply. Nowadays, it seems that there is no difference between a summer vacation and a normal school day. Because everyday is the same for the new generation.
Hence, even though we have progressed a lot in technology, but somewhere in this process, we are losing our own happiness. Sometimes, I wonder if my 90’s generation might be the last generation which lived through their childhood without any cellphone signal, internet data packets, social media chats and tweets!
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