Some more thoughts from my perusal of my great-grand father’s biography.
1800s- Early 1900s:
There was no concept of money then. People always traded things between each other. My rice for your milk.. My wheat for your oil…It was almost considered a sin to sell milk, food etc..You just donated it to the needy if you have in excess. A simple life, if I may say so. Yes, there was definitely a caste distinction, may be more so, but that didn’t hinder people from helping each other out.
Students had an unique identity in the society. They had a concept ,”Varanna” where poor students visited a designated house every day of the week for food. Apparently, my GGDad learnt a great deal by visiting various houses. “Varanna” means Vara – Weekly & Anna- Food. Kind of a mobile hostel when you are away from home for studies. Some households helped them with just lodging too. Lots of give and take , a totally different India.
People believed in families and friends and sent their children out of state to stay with them , for studies. The concept of nuclear family formed. Money started speaking and became the crux of many a family discussions, fights etc. Both my grandmothers were known for their generosity . The house was always open for visitors and guests despite not being able to cater to even their own needs. Everyone was invited for food though sometimes the inmates did not have enough for themselves. A sad fact…I think the ladies went more hardships and managed the household at the cost of their mental and physical health.
All the daughters from our family studied out of state and stayed in hostels. None of us know the concept of a joint family. And yes, we all earn and money is still a major part of our life, though not the main. We don’t feel comfortable just barging into a friend’s house, without informing them first. It still goes on in the previous generation and I know of people who just drop in our house at Banglore, on the way to a wedding or a grocery shop. That is, a few.
I guess with lot of technology advancement, life became all the more complicated though we might claim otherwise. We would rather text someone than visit.OK,…guilty..I don’t text.. And money is almost a backbone of our society.Everything revolves around it. Life seems to have been very simple a century ago..All one had to worry about was to stay away from plague, means to feed oneself and family, education if need be or if passionate. For this era,I can take myself as an example.I constantly think about swineflu ( OK, that was a stretch ;-)), how to progress in my career, my parents health,my health,when to be on my own( I mean my own business), if the gas is switched off( happens if you have OCD) ..you get the gist..