I liked the 1960’s/70’s (or let’s just say refer to it as Circa: long time ago) in certain ways because it was a life of absolutes. There were no in-betweens. For example, women were normally the housewives, caretakers of the home and men the breadwinners. If a woman was really outgoing, she would usually be labelled as too “progressive’, someone you couldn’t relate to. Those women lived a life of extremes, there was no place for in-betweens for them. It couldn’t be. They were either accepted or rejected. They were either liked, hated or romanticized.
Television had only one channel (in India) – doordarshan. Who cared whether you had hundred channels on television or not. The fact that you had a TV and didn’t have to walk up to the neighbors house to watch your favorite show or news, was enough.
Similarly, there was only one model of car or at most two for most people to choose from. The other fancy models of car were too expensive, so most people couldn’t afford it. I remember feeling ‘absolutely’ happy in our second-hand white Fiat. What was more important was having a vehicle.
You would either be single or married or dead! Let me quickly also point out that ‘single’ should be read as ‘unmarried’. There was no such thing as being ‘single’ in India ‘long-time ago’. You were either unmarried, going to be married or just married and in select cases, divorced but that was rare). If you didn’t fall under any of these brackets, then you must be either an actor, artist or a loser who was living a life of in-betweens, which was so darn unacceptable; means you were a REBEL. Sad, no. That is the impression I have of a long, long time ago.
And then as times changed, black n white evolved to color, we had wireless phone, instead of long-wired phones, cable TV with plethora of channels to choose from and most importantly fancy cars, electronics, products which bombarded our otherwise simple minds with CHOICES. I could go on but to cut it short, in other words, WE got more choices. You could have either this or that or something in-between.
As time and technology evolved, so did the absolutes. The biggest impact of this ‘change’ has been on our relationships. It meant you could be single, dating, committed, married, divorced or in a complicated relationship. You could be straight, gay, bi-sexual or simply opinionated. You could be someone peculiar and that would be sorta acceptable too.
Circa Now – there is always a cloud of unsurety, like being somewhere in the middle of something, as if you are still trying to figure it out. Whether it is work or personal life. In other words, there is always a sense of discontentment. Not feeling rooted to something. Feeling like we are floating somewhere in the middle of this vast ocean – a middle of nowhere – somewhere in between – yet not there.
So, yes, when I think about it, I think the life of absolutes was simple and uncomplicated. There was not a lot of room for guesswork. Most importantly, relationships were SIMPLE. There were clear, straight-lines. There was a definition to form. Clarity of thought and action. You were either black or white. Grey was never celebrated. While, I love the in-betweens explored artistically and cinematically, in real life, living like that only adds to more confusion and stress, doesn’t it?
I am glad that my parents tried to bring some level of absolutes to my life – that is through their love. Their love was an absolute. Just like my love for kiddo is – absolute. I love her and there is no question or confusion about it. It is complete, whole and absolute.
God is an absolute concept too. He lives on. He is eternal. The absolute reality.
So, in reality, while a lot of us may enjoy the confusion or love exploring the in-betweens, after a while, all of us do seek absolutes in our lives. What do you think?
- The In-Betweens (littlegrowingpains.com)
- Single Life Musings: Instant Ramifications (the5thelementmag.com)
- RP up, downs and in-betweens (throughtheeseyess.wordpress.com)