I want to say several things today and that’s the precise reason, why the title is looking so weird. I consider myself to be a lucky person, as I am born and grown up in pre-cable T.V. era. Life was beautiful! There was only one channel on television. Even that channel had a starting time and shutting time. I don’t recall exactly but it used to start in the evening and used to shut around ten in the night. The programmes were interesting, watchable and enjoyable with the whole family. All kids used to be on the play ground, in the evenings. May it be rain, may it be a hot summer day or may it be a winter day (yes, there used to be some winter in Mumbai, which has disappeared completely), kids used to play in any case. I learnt to play several outdoor sports before I got my first electronic gaming console. It used to be wonderful. Then, I vividly remember, there was a revolution in T.V. channels know as ‘Second Channel’. Mumbai T.V. Centre at Worli started broadcasting one more channel in the radius of forty kilometers from the T.V. tower. There are more fun facts. The televisions required giant sized antenna to be fitted on the terraces. Terraces were full of those antennae and they really used to be major hurdle in kite flying. A crow, a pigeon or heavy rains were sufficient reasons for disrupted or bad reception of the channels (just the two) on the television. Imagine, for several weeks the channels did not have any name. There was no onscreen logo for any of those channels. There was something called as Video Player (VCR or VCP) which was adorning the living room of a lucky few. Two types of libraries were flourishing, book libraries and the video cassette libraries. Many kids of my age used to enjoy reading. I was fortunate to have many friends who suggested me good books and I returned the favor. Because of books, we all can proudly proclaim that we weren’t and aren’t T.V. addicts. Books increased our canvass way …… way beyond iMax. We could see the picture directly on the sky. We learned to visualize. Many of us did not even have the land line telephone connection but we never missed an appointment. Friends knew whereabouts of friends and parents knew the whereabouts of kids. The rich and the poor both walked or bicycled to schools. The pride was in preserving things and not flaunting the new ones every now and then. Technology was yet emerging.
Post 1991, the scenario drastically changed. Rupert Murdoch’s Star TV network entered the households. No one had ever seen or heard of private channels. There was a tirade of channels on the television. Life became complicated. In late nineties, Internet made its way in the affluent households. In quick succession, mobile networks emerged in early 2000s. There is information revolution in past twenty years in India. People have started socializing on websites. Friends have lost capacity to communicate in person. People have learnt to dwell in the cyber world. Human interaction is touching its newest low, every passing day. Every household has more number of mobile phones than the people residing in it. Two television sets per household is perceived to be a necessity. There are unfathomable avenues to entertain one and irony is – every subsequent generation is even more bored than the prior one. Every meal is coordinated with T.V. serials. Slowly but steadily, we are building a pseudo world around us. We trust no one, we believe no one, we worship no one! We are getting very…..very lonely amongst 3,000 friends. We share a joke with 200 on mobile but sadly, we laugh alone.
I remember, when I never had a land line phone or a mobile phone, I used to get up, get ready and go to a friend’s place to call him out. There were ‘addas’ (joints), where friends used to meet and have a hearty laugh together. I know few places around my home, where dozens of youth used to assemble to have human interaction and have a good time together. Today most of the joints have closed the shop and the few running , don a ghostly look. The laughter and the joy, which was once spread there could not salvage them.
The young and the restless are devoid of ideals and idols. Life has become superficial. No one is telling them that happiness comes from within and not from outside. Everyone is busy getting bored. Multiple choices prides you options and also gives you a feeling that you have chosen the wrong option. How much is going to be enough? How long shall we run as there is no destination and neither are we enjoying the run!
The only way out is to cleanse our thoughts….
“We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.”
– Swami Vivekanand