How did we entertain ourselves!
A brief intro: I live in a bustling metropolis in the heart of the city. Recently, there was a severe flood, one of a century kind that left the whole city in chaos. We had to be without electricity, newspaper, Television, internet and mobility. We were cut off for the buildings were marooned with hip deep water, in some places chest high water. Situation was so for almost a week. We were getting restless having to spend our night in candle light and most difficult part by ourselves. This raised a question – how the heck we managed to survive in the time before television or internet. That got this rambling going.
Time machine back to few decades.
I spent few years of my life in a village during my school days. A beautiful village surrounded by river on one side and a stream on the other. On the third side we had a railway line and beyond that mountains. It had a small temple. There was electricity but no air conditioners. Bicycle was the mode of transport if you are not planning to walk.
Now how did we spend our times.
During the day time everybody was kept busy depending upon their stage in life. Most of the work has to done manually which meant you were occupied sufficiently in managing your day to day living requirements. It was the evening, weekends and holidays that were different.
So there was limited newspapers, magazines and books. Radio was there for privileged few which was shared by the community mostly. No Television and No internet. So the duty of keeping oneself entertained was yours and yours alone.
Lack of television meant the airways were calm and clean. One can hear the rustling of the wind, smell the wind in it summer aridness, the smell of rain, musty smell of winter, the smell of flora and fauna, the flowing of the water, the conversation of the people around. Everything around you was magnified.
Evenings meant spending outside in open having conversations, listening to people singing, exhibiting the new song that one has learnt, playing on the road side light, listening with rapture to the wind, string and or percussion instruments.
The impromptu story telling session by the village elders, where mythology, folk lore and history was passed on from generation to generation. The personal experience of the elders was shared where in their stories they climbed Himalayas instead of the nearby hillocks, crossed amazon, faced phantoms where in others jumping in to tease them. Every other person was talented in some or the other art forms
Music was an integral part of life. you had song for every situation. Either one was singing, composing or listening to it. Handiwork and art form were thriving. There were dramas and folk dances to learn practice and show case. The tradition had inbuilt festivals aligned with the nature and seasons. In summer it is swimming and boat race. In winter it is indoor games, recitation or poetry reading session. The younger generation, all of us were knowing at least three language – mother tongue, English and an additional language. Word play was a game we played when legs got tired.
Roads were free. So we can play hide and seek. Hopping, jumping. Skipping, running, swing and other games under the watchful eyes of elders.
The generations worked, learnt and enjoyed together each contributing for welfare and growth of the community. One lived with nature, learnt from nature and learnt to adapt to it. In the absence of external entertainment one was forced to keep oneself occupied and entertained. Solitude was for a rare few. So everyone came together for entertaining and in turn being entertained. It was active participation where ones senses were well attuned to the world around you, observing and mimicking the time and nature, interacting with the trees, animals and people around you. You were involved with the sky, the stars, the sun, the moon, the river, the hill, the ground beneath you and around you. Your awareness was heightened. Every moment one lived with awareness. You were contended to be where you were and at that time. Life in effect was simple, full, thriving, happy, stimulating, growing, contended and peaceful.
Now back to current times
The whole world has shrunk. We discuss in the same tone and time the election in America, the immigration issue in Europe, the deflation in Japan, the growth of BRICS, and issues of Africa, South America and Australia from our drawing room. We have 24 X 7 TV, Radio, email, facebook, whatsup and internet to keep us occupied. Oh I forgot twitter. The boundary line of office and home life has blurred. The airlines and other modes of transportation has shortened the distance. The concept of Space and time have changed beyond measure. Thus we have a one section for whom 24 hours in a day is not enough and other do not know what to do with their time despite all these distractions. We have lost the art of keeping oneself without external stimuli. While this has brought the world together! It has taken man away from himself.