The charm of writing on a piece of paper, even if it is a small bit of information or a to-do list, using an old family recipe to make a dish for the whole family, watching an old film that your mom or dad first watched in the theatre when they were young, wearing your mother’s old saree or your grandmother’s old watch for a special occasion, listening to an old song play on the radio on a day when your spirits need uplifting, looking at old photos, reconnecting with old friends, visiting the places you visited when you were a kid, and listening to your grandparents talk about their life back then - all of these have been some of my go-to things in these unprecedented times! I am someone who has always been fascinated by and curious about how things functioned in the past, how people adapted a certain practice or system to the present and why they did so.
Are you someone who wonders how it was possible for people to build amazing structures like the buildings and houses of the past with limited availability of resources, someone who feels that the concept of a multiplex was fascinating but the way it has mushroomed, not so much, someone who loves walking through streets of George Town shopping for essentials in bulk, someone who has travelled in 5E and waited for ages to get down at your stop, someone who feels marina is the OG beach, someone who is a fan of Raja’s music, a fan of how Madras looked in the olden time movies, someone who walks into the messes and enjoys gulping suda suda idly, vadai or pongal for breakfast, someone who enjoys watching a 5-day cricket match at Chepauk, someone who is fascinated by anything old, and if you are someone, who, on a random day, when you are feeling low in this ever-evolving competitive world, looks back at old memories and comforts yourself? The city has transformed in many ways and so has our lives, but in tough times these memories and nostalgia have a way of making one feel content and happy, doesn’t it?
During hard and unprecedented times like the pandemic, there are many days I find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed and finding it hard to believe and hope for a better future. Well on such days, I generally tend to go back to my gallery, swipe through photos, watch old movies, get in touch with old friends, have a dish that I have savoured forever, do something that I have loved ever since I was a kid. For me, personally, this has been one sure way to cheer myself up easily. On one such day, while I was swiping through old photos in my gallery, I found myself wondering what it is about old things that fascinate me and gives me comfort! If I had to share my two cents with anyone, I would vouch for the old ways of life that have been shared with me by my ancestors and pass them to the future generation. Maybe it’s the trust that these practices have built up on, the belief our ancestors had to rely on them, or maybe the fact that we are over-relying on technology in the present, what with everyone having been confined to their homes!
I’m not sure if technological advances are a good or bad thing, but technology has become an indispensable part of life. Like I mentioned earlier, resorting to swiping through photos from the gallery, listening to songs on Spotify, calls and video calls with the closed ones, alarms to wake up to, I have, in more than one way, become dependent on technology. I feel like I would continue to have a love-hate equation with technology.
What is your equation with all things old and new?