This Diwali, let the diyas burn brighter

We have turned into incorrigible whiners. Nothing satisfies us, nothing pleases us and there’s nothing that can make us laugh. It should change.

Akshaya Mishra October 26, 2011 11:23:39 IST
This Diwali, let the diyas burn brighter

India has changed. In inexplicable ways.

It has  become darker, gloomier, humourless, unforgiving and self-obsessed.

Hope this Diwali changes all that — it’s, after all, the festival of light and brightness. Forces of darkness supposedly get eliminated by the forces of illumination on the day.

 

This Diwali let the diyas burn brighter

It was the same hope last Diwali. But it didn’t change things much. Reuters

It was the same hope last Diwali. But it didn’t change things much. Perhaps there was not enough in the diyas to keep burning a full year. Perhaps the darkness around was too thick. Perhaps the darkness inside us was too heavy.

What made us such a different people?

We have turned a grumpy lot. When people become grumpy they look ugly. We have gone uglier.

We have learnt to make ourselves unhappy. An unhappy mind is the storehouse of negativity. We have turned a negative lot.

We have turned into incorrigible whiners. Nothing satisfies us, nothing pleases us and there’s nothing that can make us laugh.

It shows on our faces on the television, in reports in newspapers and everywhere else. People are fighting all the time, running each other down, discovering ghosts when none is there and digging out unpalatable truths when there is no need to.

We have suddenly become such a serious people. What killed our ability to laugh at ourselves? Remember that casual, self-effacing line ``we are like that only’’.

India has changed, in inexplicable ways. The funny bone has gone missing.

Is it the television?

It has become a pervasive influence, an avoidable extension of our lives. It beams negativity 24X7 into our living rooms, into our consciousness. It wants us to believe the world is a unhappy place even if it isn’t. We could switch off the television but we don’t. We are creatures of habit.

Is it politics?

Possibly. We are political animals by instinct though we are loathe to admit that. We stay tuned to the political happenings, let the developments affect us in indefinable ways and get worried. Things are too unstable out there, turning too complex for our comprehension.

Is it the corruption around?

Things are pretty scary here. Somebody is out to plunder your money and he has his eyes set on you all the time. We hear of corruption, of the most mind-boggling kind, and of corruption of the meanest kind. The corrupt have a ruthless streak. They don’t even spare the poorest.

Is it our social lives?

As social animals we live together. We are supposed to share a bit of each other, thus stay linked, emotionally and in other ways. This is what sociologist would call the social support system. It is breaking apart. In the apartments in cities you don’t even know your neighbour. The individual is taking all load by himself and getting stressed.

Is it the air we breathe?

No, it is not about the regular pollutants though there are too many chemicals that we breathe in could kill us. It’s about the sense of pessimism it is loaded with. As it circulates it keeps accumulating negativity from every place and gets saturated eventually. It has lost the ability to purify itself.

Is it the food we eat?

Is it the movies we watch?

Is it the roads we use?

Nothing explains the moroseness around. But there’s a change. It’s palpable.

We know this is not normal. We live an abnormal world. It’s a world created by us, where happiness has turned a measurable quantity. It is no more an indefinable feeling, a state of being. It is understood only in comparison. His happiness is bigger than my happiness -- that does not make me happy. It does not make me happy for others.

We have managed to put ourselves on scales where we come less heavier than others in terms of satisfaction out of life, thus more disgruntled and more disappointed. The result: our thoughts have gone darker, clouded by negativity.

This Diwali, let’s put more oil in the diyas. Let’s make the diyas bigger. It does not have to be bigger than what the neighbour has. It should be good enough to last longer and spread brightness. It should illuminate the darkness inside.

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