Looking at the present world Charles Dickens would have quipped, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Progress and advancement in our times have got people working round the clock to make it bigger and better for themselves. The change is so visible as the standard of living is going up and India, as a nation, is developing at a great pace. Everyone is busy making the best of the opportunities that are only growing, just as are the luxuries one can afford. And yet dig a little deeper and one can notice the seamier side of progress and see the stress, anxiety and performance-pressure spreading their fangs far and wide.
Right from the middle-class to the ultra-rich, people are now more dependent on anti-depressants and medication all over the world. It has become a norm these days that to survive in the fast-paced life of metros, you need the ‘crutch’ of medication. There is so much competitiveness, envy and work-related frustrations and other pressures that even the average homemaker finds it difficult to cope with the challenges of keeping up with the Joneses and if possible surpassing them.
Sitting with my friends the other day, I broached this topic and wanted to know if the conventional sharing of stuff with friends had become unfashionable. What happened to that warm fuzzy feeling of near and dear ones comforting you? Why don’t people now reach out to friends and partners to vent and offload their tensions? Friends often help by just making us see things clearly and in perspective. “In these times, it’s considered an Achilles’ heel,” one of my friend told me and added, “One is afraid of being judged and criticised and doesn’t want the problems to be publicised. That can be a humiliating experience”. “I feel like I’m imposing upon a friend’s time and while my spouse is dealing with his own work issues, I don’t wish to pile my own problems on him,” shared another friend who has taken to anti-anxiety pills.
Well, there was a time you rang your friend’s doorbell and offloaded all your worries, and felt a whole lot better, while your friend would say some kind things to make you feel better and gave you a hug. You shared a cup of tea with friends and the world would immediately seem like a happier place. You went back to the drawing board with new solutions and a resolve. Today it’s more about appearances and things looking just right for those perfect ‘display pictures’.
While I enjoyed the rendition of a modern family in Dil Dhadakne Do and the essence of living life to the fullest and the art of letting go in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, these movies showed the deeper issues of presenting a hunky-dory façade. You scratch many ideal families or equations and you will find the flaws. While I won’t get into the innumerable negative effects of pills, I will say that the conventional and conservative method of counselling, meditation, confiding in close friends and reaching out to family or someone you respect, is crucial. It might seem like you’re being judged initially, but choose your confidants carefully and you will find that just speaking and sharing is a great way of finding composure when you suffer from depression.
The writer is a columnist, designer and brand consultant. Mail her at email@example.com