This refers to your innovative cover story on Nostalgia (October 18). At a time when the world is faced with turmoil and mental conflict, and rapidly moving towards new technologies like robotics and artificial intelligence, it is good to be reminded of the happy past. Before the arrival of major festivals like Durga Puja or Diwali in the good old days, we were filled with expectations as to what gifts our parents would buy for us. Even small gifts gave us immense joy and satisfaction. We used to visit an unpretentious local cinema hall and sat on wooden benches. At home there was no TV or dining table. We sat together on the hard floor to taste the most delicious food prepared by mom or grandma. Excellent coffee was made from seeds ground in traditional coffee grinding machines. We played cricket in the backyard of a local Ram temple. Things were cheaply available at the local grocery stores. There was plenty of greenery all around and people breathed clean air. I am reminded of what Albert Einstein said: “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”
Kangayam R. Narasimhan, Chennai
The heart-warming pictures from old times are marvellous. No matter how ancient they are, I adore them. I’m in my seventies and have nostalgic memories of most of the vessels that we had in our home. We had to clean them often to give them a golden sheen. I remember we had a big water heater operated by burning pieces of coal. None of the present-day vessels can beat its charm.
Charu Shah, Surendranagar (Gujarat)
The elusive and mythical past when India was supposedly sone ki chidiya (the golden bird) is indeed opium for Indians who would rather live in this happy past than in the dark present and even darker future. Alas, nostalgia has its limits. As the cliché goes, bhut ke paanv ulte hote hai (ghosts walk backward), and nostalgia can never make us look forward—only to the past, where nobody can ever reach.
Rakesh Agrawal, Dehradun
It is true that things cannot remain static and will change, but it is also true that many people of the older generations feel that the past was good. In 1969, a bank employee got only Rs 350 as monthly salary and the job was much in demand at that time. A ‘dress circle’ cinema ticket cost Rs 3. One can buy wholesome lunch at Annapurna restaurant in Delhi’s Connaught Place for Rs 4. Those were the golden days when living was peaceful and comfortable. Yes, there was some hardship in getting milk and other essential items, and there was a long wait for Lambretta scooters and Fiat cars, but still people were happier than they are today.
D.B. Madan, New Delhi
This refers to your story from Lakhimpur Kheri (Fighting Fire in UP, in The News, October 18). It is a matter of regret that Uttar Pradesh has been witnessing frequent violent incidents. All said and done, it is too early to say which way the pendulum will swing in the polls scheduled early next year. As the state has always witnessed violent incidents, what happened in Lakhimpur may or may not have an impact on the poll scenario.
K.R. Srinivasan, Secunderabad