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Window Seat: The pornography of nostalgia

25/04/2021 at 7:14 AM

Simon Heffer has recently published a book titled The Age of Decadence: A History of Britain, 1840 to 1914. In this book Heffer attempts to show how by the turn of twentieth century Britain was living off dividends rather than work. Some of the leaders could realize that that even warned. But for several reasons- it continued. The end result: Britain was diminished and British power was in decline.

Are we looking at the same situation now in India? There is a difference though. In the case of Britain- the past had recorded history and observable gain. In our case it is myth and legend.

Nostalgia by its very nature engulfs and traps you like a spider net does to a worm. We are so enamoured with nostalgia with the hazy past that we tend not to see the present with clarity.

It’s like pornography. You are attracted and continue to indulge in it even if you do not like it or get fed up by it. It latches on to your psyche. It is difficult to ward it off. For some time you are transported to a state where you feel you are enjoying and then you cease to enjoy it but cannot shake it off your mind.

Be aware of the pornography of nostalgia.

Overflowing Hospitals and Crematoriums

Somebody wrote, “We are living in a peculiar time. Movie halls are closed. Hospitals and crematoriums are housefull.”

As Corona pandemic surge continues with different strains and mutant variations- the country is struggling to survive. Hospitals are overflowing. There are long queues in front of crematoriums in cities and towns across the country. The pyres are burning continuously. Cremation place management in different cities is increasing the number of pyre-platforms in order to reduce waiting time and the queue.

Never before the country has seen a situation like this and for so long. Everybody is scared, anxious and tense and this also is taking its toll.

In this hard time, here is a couplet from Jatin Jaiswal:

Laut ayegi Khusian

Abhi kuchh gamo ka shor hai

Jara sambhalkar raho, mere ajijon

Aab phir se imtihan ka daur hai 

(The happiness will be back

Now the cacophony of grief reigns

Take care my dear ones

Once again it is trying time)

Columnists’ Day

Every year April 18 is observed as Columnists’ Day. It honours all newspaper columnists and their contributions to the truth in black and white.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists, which was founded in 1977, sponsors and promotes Columnists’ Day annually. On this same day in 1945, Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent, Ernie Pyle, died while on assignment in Okinawa, Japan.

Columns are basically opinion pieces. Syndicated columnist Chandra Bozelko wrote,“I suggest we think about opinion writing this way: Straight news is eating, and opinion journalism is digesting.”

I have been writing columns for the last 37 years now- beginning with weekly Odia column titled Sambad Rojanamcha in 1984. Presently I write two weekly ‘slice of life’ columns – one in Odia and the other in English and one fortnightly column in Odia on media.  

Somebody once asked me how do you write the columns week after week for years? The answer is- and this I got from an article by Bonnie Jean Feldkamp: Column-writing magic is as simple as this: We share information, add some perspective, and spark conversations.

Don’t waste water

Depending upon how the water is filtered, it takes 3 to 9 litres of water to make one litre of bottled water. Next time, consider the possibilities of using safe alternate sources and methods of storing and carrying water rather than buying a bottle.

Already people across the world are struggling with water shortage, and the consequences are disastrous!

So don’t waste water.

Tail piece: Stay safe

Recently in Mumbai, a family’s main door lock got damaged. 

They had to urgently leave for Kolkata and locking the door was not possible.

The family cleverly put a sticker notice on the door “Covid 19 positive do not enter”, and went away.

On return, they found a new sticker notice replacing the old sticker saying…. 

“Sanitisation done, house is cleaned and emptied. Now Stay safe” 

About the Author:

Journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, Odisha. Odia translation of an anthology of essays titled Mahatma Gandhi: Journalist and Editor.


This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com

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