Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Romancing the past!

Have you ever wondered why every good memory of an event in past seems sweeter than the time you actually experienced it? Why the taste of Maggi noodles that you cooked once in your hostel/dorm seems better than noodles that you have had in finest of restaurants. Though when you cooked and ate it, it was just a pack of well made noodles. Why school time seems to be so fun and devoid of any trials and tribulations, although while in school all you wanted to do was get out. Why that first kiss is revered although it seemed so sloppy and awkward at that time? Take first love for instance, people tend to remember their first loves till death even though most of them opted out of a longer alliance with that person. Why Holi was more colorful and Diwali brighter when thought about in retrospective?

If all that was good, happened in past does this mean that one’s quality of life deteriorates with every passing second? Or is it just a perception?

Do we humans(atleast most of us) have the tendency of romanticizing the past and trivializing the present? Is it the allure of what is gone/lost responsible for the perceived dullness in what we actually have?

OK, enough of questions, the reason why I am asking so many questions is because I see this all around me. I know a man who always criticized his wife for the kind of ‘halwa’ she made comparing it with his own version when he cooked it with his mates in hostel. But alas! when put to the task he could not recreate the magic, even on repeated attempts. Just makes me wonder if the hostel ‘halwa’ tasted better in thought than it actually was. Similarly I know women who even after decades of marriage keep comparing their husbands with the guy whose marriage alliance they or their family rejected. Always fantasizing about how great the life could have been with him if nothing else it must be better than what she currently has. When she thinks like that she is just blocking the part which tells her that life might have been even worse with that guy and the quirks that he would have brought with himself.

Look at how well the anti-wrikle, anti- ageing products do in the market. They are mighty expensive if you compare with your regular lotions, but people still buy them. The 25 year old wants to look like a 20 year old, the 35 year old wants to look 25, The 45 year old wants to be 30 something, so on and so forth. Anti ageing lotions or not, face lifts or not, cosmetic surgery or not, I have yet to meet or see on television an old person who does not look old. Then why are people obsessed with how they looked 5 or 10 years ago, when they know that 5 or 10 years ago they were trying to look even younger or maybe they were so young they wanted to look all grown up.

How about music, movies and books - most of the people I know feel that literature, cinema and music was created beautifully only a few decades ago or maybe a few centuries ago. Strangely what is considered classic today was contemporary in some era and that time the same creation was ridiculed for being a one week wonder or not good enough. If somebody has read about R.D.Burman then they would know that his music was criticized immensely by people of the previous generation and also by the melody kings ruling the industry that time. Who would have thought that people would be humming his tunes even after 50 years of their creation, that many losers would be earning their livelihoods by simply remixing the magic that he originally created.

Also people talk about how the quality of values and morals have deteriorated with time. But is that really so? Was there ever a generation that cared so much for the environment? Was their ever a generation that could elect a black president for a white country or a Sikh PM for a country where Sikhs are hardly a single digit percentage? Was there ever a generation where a woman could dare to come out in the open and complain that she has been violated and the guilty got punished for that? Was there ever a generation where girl students in a technical stream could outnumber the boys ? Was there ever a generation where you could throw a shoe at the head of a state and still get away with it? Was there ever a generation where being racist/casteist/regionist etc was looked down upon? Was there ever a generation that didn’t accept that might is right?

I believe the inertia to change is what causes us to view the new negatively and sugar coat the familiar past. But this is not a new phenomena and it has been here since forever. Will the present ever look good in present or will we acknowledge it only when it turns into past?


  1. Loved your post..Everything is so very true!

  2. I liked your blog is so real and true..we should stop dwelling on past .