Saturday, March 20, 2010

Are we losing our sense of self in the name of globalisation?

So have you received a mail lately that extols the virtues of growing up in the eighties and your eyes mist over with nostalgia? Do you find yourself wondering; is his blackberry better than mine? Are quite a few people you know either into Buddhism, Art of living, Vipassana, Yoga, Meditation or some other spiritual quest?

Guess you must be somewhere in your thirties and living in a metro if you answered yes to one or all of the above.

You must be one of the many, dwelling within the closed confines of a new order – You communicate mostly through sms and Facebook. You feast on reality shows and download podcasts. You watch the MUFA, PUFA content on oils and fried snacks. Your next vacation is no longer at a holiday home. And catching up with friends is now meeting at bars and pubs over drinks, with loud music playing in the background.

You shop at supermarkets, spend your weekends at malls and queue up for the latest release at the multiplex. You carry hand sanitizers in your bag, credit cards in your wallet and the hanging sword of EMI’s on your head.

Welcome the new breed living in post liberalization India. The shift from chawanprash to cornflakes has been a phenomenal one, just 10 -15 years’ post liberalization and we have had the boom of satellite TV, the credit card craze, high penetration of mobile phones, steadily increasing internet users and Indians traversing the globe like never before.

We are all now on the quest for smaller, better and faster. Just Google it, is the new just do it. No more research or fact finding for that truly accomplished feeling. Will it be a Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, iPhone or Blackberry? And will it be Pizza, Sushi, Khowsuey or a Gelato? Global trends, global exposure, too much information and too many choices are gradually eroding our identity.

Indian urban cities will soon become a homogenous fairy tale, just like every pizza hut looks the same anywhere you go. You will have the same retail chain of Departmental Store, Book Store; Supermarket, Restaurant and Coffee house which ever metro, mini –metro or even a tier 1 city you visit. Everybody now watches the same YouTube videos, forwards the same posts and uses the same Facebook applications. Conversation with anyone across the world is easy, we are all heading towards the ‘one’ culture of consumerism.

Just as human bodies, animals, plants and eco systems evolve over time so do societies. And India is now an evolving society grappling with the ills that come with fast paced growth. People are grappling with stress that comes with a fast paced lifestyle- living beyond their means and looking for newer and innovative means of entertainment to satisfy their limited attention spans. The overall quality of life has improved, but time is the new luxury in short supply to develop, sustain and maintain deep and lasting relationships. Hence the increasing need for answers and the spiritual quests, as the wants and the choices endlessly mirror each other into infinity.

The fabric of our society has started fraying at the edges. If we don’t wake up to this phenomenon in time, our local bhajiwala’s, fishwali’s, doodhwala’s and the kirana store wala who still know us by our first names, will be displaced by impersonal, swish, automated and sterilized environs of a supermarket. Too much of TV and internet is going to make us isolated and obese just like the Americans. Independent lifestyles, higher disposable incomes and more options are already leading to an increase in divorces, while the concept of a joint family is being edged out to make space for super kids and super moms in nuclear families.

Times indeed are a changing with many everyday rituals and old ingrained habits vanishing just like papads and achars left to dry on terrace tops. The disposable mentality has hit us with zip locks and aluminum foils. Remember recycling at its best, getting sweets from your neighbor neatly wrapped in a used plastic milk bag. Where are the traditional kid’s games? When was the last time you saw kids play Kabbadi or Lagori? When was the last time you saw friends just hanging out at building compounds or neighbours catching up over the day’s happenings?

Time we started somewhere. Let’s nurture our languages, traditions and customs. Patronize and bring alive our traditional cuisine, arts, crafts and games. Let’s spend more time with our parents, relatives and friends and less with mobile phones, television and the internet.

Let’s learn from the mistakes of the west. Let us always be the answer and the meaning that foreigners come in search of. Let’s not get caught up in the same mindless rat race of smaller, better, faster, richer and smarter. Let’s keep our values intact and ensure we pass them down to our children. Let’s not push them into the rat race and on the knife’s edge of a suicide.

Let our rich culture, traditions and heritage shine through the gaps of change.

Creative Commons License
In Musing Mode is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Musings of the day

We are all one universe inter-connected in mysterious ways, and I just figured it is called facebook.

Oh crap! – Two most succinct words in the English language and they connect perfectly with how I feel right now.

It all started with a goldfish bowl with two little listless fish in it. I hate this whole fish bowl and aquarium thing that people have a thing for. Can’t stand the poor fish swimming away in circles for our viewing pleasure. So was completely against the idea of having them swim around in circles in a fake foliage fish bowl at home.

After many a debate on the right and wrongs of keeping them at home, we finally decided to keep them. And for all of four days through everything one was aware of two small little red gold fish swimming around in circles. Eventually we got around to naming and observing them.

In this small little fish world, there was a bigger fish and a smaller one, where the bigger fish was constantly bullying the smaller one, who kept scurrying to whatever corner one can find in a circle to hide.

Anyway the point I am getting to is the smaller one died today!....a little dead fish in the universe and you feel…oh don’t even realise you get attached to these little things and before you know it…they are gone…..damn…I am never keeping a dog...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Stress Busters of the week

When stress gets you, who do you get? Apart from the poor unsuspecting tele caller I mean…

Top two stress busters of the week

Kiddie Conversations: These little people come in neat baggage and prejudice free packages. And they can make amazing conversation about planets, oceans, next door kids, tiffin boxes, Jonas brothers and other such esoteric concepts.

Point of stress: It’s not exactly a great feeling when a ten year old asks you, who Sting or Bruce Springsteen is? This pretty much is an exit cue, no point accumulating additional stress feeling like a preserved fossil from the Triassic

Gossip, Gossip and then some more: Nothing makes stress disappear faster than this sweet sounding three word line, you know WHAT?
No, I don’t, but I sure want to hear about someone else’s blooper to take away the focus from mine… Someone wants to think up a gossip hotline for stressed women?

The Irresistible Pull of Irrational behaviour

A new book called 'Sway' sheds some light on irrational behaviour in human beings.
Some major, salient “sways” mentioned in the book.
  • We often overreact to potential losses, focused more on the short-term consequences rather than the longer-term effects.
  • The more meaningful a loss is, the more loss averse we become, meaning we don’t want to give up our hold on the loss (even when it’s economically, emotionally or otherwise beneficial to do so)
  • We hold on to the pervasive pull of commitment. When we are committed to a relationship, decision, or position in our lives, it can be very difficult for us to see the better, healthier alternatives available.
  • Humans have a tendency to imbue someone or something with certain qualities based on its perceived value rather than objective data. This is called value attribution.
  • If we see something labeled a certain way, we’ll take that label at face value.
  • When things are discounted off of their regular price, people tend to give the product or service a reduced value attribution. In other words, when we get a discount on something, we tend to unconsciously value it less than if we had paid full price.
  • Humans have a propensity to label people, ideas or things based on our initial opinions of them. The authors term this the “diagnosis bias,” and it includes our inability to reconsider those initial value judgments once we’ve made them.
  • A single word or label can color our entire perception of a person, closing off avenues of shared experience and seeing people for who they really are. Once a person is given a label (and even directly, a diagnosis), it’s hard for people to see people in a way that isn’t biased by that label.
  • “Mirror, mirror” effect – we like and look for people like us
  • We constantly sway others and are constantly being swayed by our expectations and labels — what is called the “Chameleon effect.”
  • It is vitally important for people to feel they have a voice. People want to be listened to and heard, even if nothing changes.
To end with the book offers no lasting solutions but to look at long term gains and perspectives than the short term ones. Now try explaining that to irrational beings...
Creative Commons License In Musing Mode is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.

Free Blog Counter