25 Sep

Issue 178 - Editorial

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Issue 178 - Editorial

Age of Anxiety


Modern life has become a paradox. Human beings have become very inventive and innovative. Every day brings in new messages that our daily life will get simpler and simpler in future. In our own life time we have seen that we are able to keep in touch with a huge circle of friends through electronic social media thanks to modern gadgets. Sci-fi has become a reality. Three great inventions of the 20th century have made this possible. They are computers, internet speed and coverage and mobile phones and their hourly technological upgrades.


Life has become easier and more comfortable in other directions too. Homes, offices and vehicles are air-conditioned. Home theatre and other entertainment gadgets regale you when you are static or in motion. You can draw your cash from the nearest ATM 24/7 belonging to any bank as long as you have some balance in your account. You buy your air ticket or rail ticket and reserve hotel accommodation sitting at home. From home you can also order any item from an e-tailer just by viewing his inventory and clicking on the items you need. Tele medicine is another area of comfort. Palm held APPS guide you to any place on earth. You can down load books, magazines or newspapers. Holidaying in far away exotic spots can be planned at the speed of thought. One can go on and on about how easy and simple life has become.


Most of the above conveniences were not available till a few decades ago. Persons born in the early 40?s know that the first public buses were introduced in Delhi only in 1948. Till many years later manual bikes were the only means of transportation for officers and clerks alike. Private vehicles were rare. Long walks were a necessity.


Despite all the magical conveniences available today which have made life very comfortable and relaxing, people?s body language is showing an opposite trend. Everyone is in a tearing hurry. Traffic rules are violated as a routine. Road rage has become a common phenomenon. Orderly queues are a thing of the past. In apartments there is no time to find out who you your neighbour is. People are increasingly eating out. Posh kitchens remain mostly unused except for heating up semi-cooked food from supermarkets and for preparing tea, coffee and elementary breakfast. Parents have no time for their children or between themselves since both parents go to work to earn enough money to enjoy all the luxuries of life that seem to be endless. To make them more competitive, costly after school tuitions for children are a common feature of urban education even if kids are studying in the best schools. Eateries abound near schools to feed them with very tasty but unhygienic and unhealthy bites.


In short the conveniences mean that you can do everything very quickly and yet you have no time to relax. This is indeed a paradox. All the rush and hurry today is casting a shadow on people?s health. Diabetes is now a lifestyle ailment. Everyone is complaining about stress and anxiety. Rest leads to restlessness. BPOs deliver high BP. Jobs are under frequent threat. Jobless growth improves productivity but destroys potential customers. Constant air-conditioned environment is leading to respiratory diseases. Pollution results in various types of allergies and skin condition. Modern technology has given you ready remedy for all ailments. People pop up pills like nobody?s business. When the disease goes beyond control there are 5 star hospitals, 7 star physicians and nine star laboratories that can slice your heart virtually and scan your body to tell you what is wrong with you. Sometimes the investigation and treatment only inflict a greater pain. All this costs a bomb and your friendly ?premium? health insurance can take care of some of your expenses, albeit at a huge premium year after year. It is often tempting to fall ill if only to recover at least a small part of extortionist premiums! Pain, common cold and allergy are great opportunities for multinational drug companies. Their over the counter products may not be good for you but certainly guarantee their healthy bottom lines.


What about the future? Soon your car will drive itself. Bullet trains will further speed up your movement. More connectivity will mean disconnect even within families. Children will be robbed of their innocence. Faster life will mean more anxiety and stress. Medical discoveries will enhance your life but fitness will be the casualty. Senior citizen homes will be the biggest business. The trend is already catching up.



Want a way out? Hit the pause button to relax. Prefer human happiness index to GDP. A tall order, no doubt!