All what one sees, hears and reads these days are rapes, riots, accidents, protests, sparring politicians and rhetoric from all sides. And then there are the WhatsApp messages with videos to back them, vexatious criticism or wholehearted defence of one cause or the other depending on which side of the divide one is, economic woes, pollution, etc. As if these are not enough, there are also fake videos and news doing the rounds.
In the midst of all this, I oftentimes keep turning the pages of newspapers from cover to cover to see if I can spot at least one story or image that is somewhat less depressing, even if not very positive. The only succour comes from a reading of the sports pages where one or the other sportsperson has come up with some achievement to show. And thank God for that!
Retaining one’s balance in what appears to be a situation bordering ‘gloom and doom’ has become more challenging than ever. Deriving pleasure from the little things in life has become even more important. Appreciating or enjoying a cool breeze, the slanting arrival of some showers bringing much needed relief from the sultry heat, the beauty of a rising or setting sun, watching a movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime, indulging in hobbies like music, painting, reading or writing have all become singly or together the pleasures that sustain life. As John Keats once said, “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.” Taking a holiday and ‘chilling out’ in a place or clime of one’s liking could be added to the mix.
It has become something like a tightrope walk to temper and filter what one sees, hears and reads and make the divide between news for information, knowledge and understanding, and news for sensation and alarm. The line is thin but the effect is deep! As a society we seem to have become more divisive and focussing on each other’s differences seems to have become more important than one’s commonalities.
It has become more important to typecast a person and put them in a certain ideological basket. We seem to be becoming increasingly uncomfortable if someone chooses not to take any hardened position as that will not fit into our ‘typecasting’ scheme of things. Personalities and ideologies instead of issues seem to be gaining precedence. Will this situation change? Let us hope that this is no apocalypse but just a passing phase when people and events become less aggravated and acute.