When i was younger there were a lot of things to do and learn, even though there was no internet and smartphones. Those days you were really thought to be smart or cool if you knew facts and figures or if you could answer current affairs and general knowledge questions without batting an eyelid. Shows like Bournvita quiz contests were not only popular but for most of us it was an aspiration that we secretly had. It did not matter if you were wearing branded clothes or not. The good old days, where reading was considered to be a virtue.
When i think about it, i feel our kids would not be at all able to relate to a time when we had to scour the books for information, it wasn’t available to you readily just by “googling” it. Nowadays, you are considered a cool kid if you have an expensive smart phone and a tablet in your hand, some free cash to spend on your friends. You are considered a geek or a nerd if you talk about education, books, or in general, gaining knowledge. I have nothing against this generation, it’s just that, materialism has taken over these kids and they do not understand that human values are not dependant on your material possessions, but who you are when you are stripped of those possessions. True self of a person is reflected when it comes to the most basic of things. Character cannot be taught. it has to be inculcated.
Sometimes, i really want to go back in those days when life was simpler and uncomplicated. I did not have to worry about keeping my phone charged or updating every second of my life on twitter. Today life has taken a back seat and the procurement of things that should make life easy have become our priority. Just like William Wordsworth’s idyllic wanderings amongst the land of Daffodils and the true enjoyment of solitude.
(Note; I tried to search for Daffodils on google and Wordsworth’s poem did not feature as the first search result on the page. What an irony)
I am a self proclaimed Jane Austen lover. I got hooked to the seemingly idealist romances written by Austen at a very young age, thanks to my mother, herself an avid reader. I would like to believe that I am an Austen purist. I have devoured hundreds of literature discussing the nuances of her writing. I have seen various movies adapted and inspired from her work and still my thirst for her stories remain unquenched. It always seems that she has so much more to say and we as audience so much more to listen or read through. Its never enough. She is the romance queen after all. I doubt there has been another writer who inspired so much of longingness for a Victorian era England and perfect romances, elsewhere.
The time period that she lived in was fraught with social issues. There were so many changes going on in the society and none of these were mirrored or expressed overtly in the novel of Jane Austen . The beauty of her novels, her writing was, I guess, the way she portrayed and understood basic human emotions. Emotions and needs like the need to be recognised, the need to be respected, the need to understand and be understood in return, and in addition to the all encompassing need to be loved. What Austen succeeded in doing was capturing human emotions that have remain unchanged in the ever changing social fabric. they remain unchanged through continents, generations, time and race. That is where people identify with her, they love her and they adore her. that is why she remains timeless.
Whether it is famous Mr. Darcy’s pride or Mr. Elton’s stupidity and vanity or for that matter Anne Elliott’s stoic acceptance of life as it passed her by, they all carry an easy familiarity, that we, as humans, generally relate to. We have all met people who have similar characteristics. She through her portrayal of such sentiments and her idealism gives hope that humanity still lives and will be there forever.
I salute you austen. You shall always be my ultimate heroine.