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No family in picture

Tonight, as many of us light diyas at the entrance of our homes, many others will be getting together with friends to enjoy the ‘good life’. On the festival of lights, some of us (read youngsters) are all set to make the best of occasion. By best here, we mean getting together with friends (who we see almost every week), bursting crackers, gambling away and living it up! Whether or not the family comes into picture on an occasion like Diwali is a different matter altogether.

chandigarh Updated: Nov 12, 2012 22:55 IST
Somya Abrol

Tonight, as many of us light diyas at the entrance of our homes, many others will be getting together with friends to enjoy the ‘good life’. On the festival of lights, some of us (read youngsters) are all set to make the best of occasion. By best here, we mean getting together with friends (who we see almost every week), bursting crackers, gambling away and living it up! Whether or not the family comes into picture on an occasion like Diwali is a different matter altogether.


As a little pre-Diwali chat-up session, we spoke to some youngsters from the city and discovered that while some think it’s ‘cool’ to hang out with friends on Day ‘D’, there are other cool kids who believe Diwali shouldn’t lose its traditional value. One of them is the resident DJ at Girl in the Café, Sector 17—DJ Varnika Kundu. “All occasions, be it Holi, Christmas or the New Year’s, are spent having fun with friends. Diwali is one such occasion when one shouldn’t even think of being away from family. And who says ‘fun’ can’t be with the family?”

And then there are those who relate Diwali to the inevitable concoction of drinks and countless hands of poker—a new frenzy amongst youngsters. Devinder Bahia, 25, city-based data analyst, is one of them. “Though we don’t know our plans yet, as they are made last minute, every year on Diwali night, I get together with friends and make some serious money playing poker till wee hours,” shares a rather elated Devinder.

Twenty-three-year-old businessman, Ranbir Singh, when asked about his Diwali plans, echoes the same, “Get together with friends at a common place, drink some J*** D*****s, burst some crackers, play some cards and hit repeat. You in?” comes the polite invitation.

Some, however, believe in doing their bit for the society before they crash a party. “Every Diwali, I donate some clothes to the orphanage in Sector 23. Then, the usual—friends and cards. Our card parties actually begin a week before Diwali,” says 30-year-old Parminder Singh (aka DJ Sweet), the resident DJ at Kava, Sector 26.

This paradigm shift in culture, however, can be attributed to more than one factor—be it the over indulgence of the id (read Freud’s structural model of the psyche), the attraction towards material or the sense of individuality, say psychologists. “It’s not right to hold just the youth accountable for this cultural shift. Parents too are so involved in their social circles, playing cards and attending parties that children grow up with an inflated sense of independence. Our basic concern, as a society today, has come down to just personal gratification,” says psychologist Dr Rajshree Sarda. No wonder that a recent study conducted by Cadbury, a leading chocolate brand, revealed that 46% of the people living in urban India today feel lonely.

Sociologist Manjit Singh, director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Panjab University, says it’s the lack of interdependence in the society that leads to the need of personal gratification. “Today, our traditional set of institution, the family, is at stake. This can be attributed to the non-dependence of children on their parents—be it financial or emotional. Morals are giving way to materialism, leading to the break-up of our basic family unit.”

Break-ups are not always easy now, are they?