Well, it’s complicated

A fermented batter of ground rice and lentils, steamed in little circular moulds, served with a vegetable stew. Well, a decade ago, it was simply the idli. That is how fancy we have become. Every little simple thing has been turned into bizarre, out-of-this-world articles, making everyday life more complicated, elusive, expensive. Technology is global and is revolutionising everything. The pace at which we are progressing to make our lives simpler by making useful machines has, ironically, put us in a frustrating mess. About two score years ago, we invented electricity-powered washing machines and dishwashers. These were until then jobs that required just a pair of hands, a rock and a washing soap. This definitely made laborious tasks simpler. But a decade later, we used up our intellect and went ahead to make all the equipment “smart”. We handed over to machines the one thing that makes human beings distinct from others — intelligence. But now they have polluted the environment, and to solve that predicament we are introducing electric, driverless and even “smart” cars. There evolved smart fridges, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, lights, even fans. All the smartness smugly handled by foolish creatures; I say foolish because somewhere along this journey we took off our thinking caps and forgot to put them back on. Due to the comfort and luxury all around, our lives have become more elaborate and obscure with endless choices and synced mobile apps. We no longer have to hone any of our basic skills to finish off any chore. Instead, we simply have to deal with robots trying to overthrow us and unnatural health issues such as panic attacks and internet addiction. I scour the pile of fanciful items and intricacies we have brought in on ourselves, and I come back to the plain-sailing example: food. There was a time when we had vendors on bicycles selling spinach grown in their backyard, for a noble sum of Rs. 5. I grew up eating it. Today, it is a wellness ‘superfood’ that proudly sits in the ‘Organic’ section of the supermarket. When did food, of all the things, become so complicated? Going with our senses somehow is just not good enough. Cooking meals is a natural part of everyday life, but it has now become so stressful we have to whip up a gourmet, “beautiful-looking”, healthy meal, perfect to be posted on food blogs with trending hashtags #nofilters #healthyfood. We have trapped ourselves in a web of a mess that we now trust our intuitions so little. And apparently, if we have one item of food that is not described “healthy” by the internet, we might be sabotaging all else that we do. Necessity is the mother of invention, or at least, it was. Today, gadgets and life- hacks are not brought out to us because of necessity; it is rather a fad to create a few new ones; to make a mark in the digital world. It is not just food and technology. You point your finger at anything in life, we have complicated it. We have created a new superfluous demand which puts more stress on our emotional and material lives. More complexity. We solve problems and in turn create new ones and go back to fix them. Every little thing that was easy to procure, easily available and was natural has been either commoditised or destroyed. Everything undemanding and unassuming has now become a puzzle to be cracked.

Source :  https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-openpage/well-its-complicated/article25350426.ece

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