I am certain my grandmother woke up in the wee hours with a prayer on her lips, all ready to do her chores. I remember her arising early and shuffling off to put the kettle on for her first cup of tea.
Then she had a quick bath and sat down to her chanting. Soon, there would be a fragrant smell emanating from the kitchen as the fire was stoked and breakfast prepared. Enormous quantities of milk would arrive from the farm and she would get down to boiling it, making yoghurt, churning the cream for butter and also preparing kheer.
All seasonal vegetables were personally picked, after much prodding, squeezing and sniffing, from the weekly market and the food prepared was always wholesome and fresh.
She would sit in the sun in the later half of the day with her knitting needles furiously clicking away and chat over the wall with a neighbour. For her, being idle was the "devil's home for temptation" and the lazy faced her wrath and scathing tongue.
Everyone was handed a task, whether it was shelling peas, hemming a dupatta or making the bed. The household went on like clockwork and everyone ate meals together at the same time, with lots of banter, fun and jokes poked at each other. Enormous helpings of food were passed around and everyone ate heartily. Diets and weight watching were unheard of.
Today, we wake up long after the sun has risen, to the maid drawing the curtains and proffering a tray of the latest youthful fad, be it a sliver of freshly sliced aloe vera for the wrinkles, figs soaked overnight to aid digestion or a lemon-infused concoction of barley water and wheatgrass for everlasting youth!
Then it's off to the gym to pay a personal trainer a ridiculous sum of money to instruct us on how to puff away on the cross-trainer, gyrate to booming music or twist ourselves into unnatural knots attempting impossible yoga postures in an effort to sweat out the previous evening's indulgences!
Once back home with the husband and kid packed away to work and school, it's time for some 'me time'.
So the ipad or phone is hauled up to reach the next level in Candy Crush or Temple Run. After a bite-sized lunch and a cosy snooze later, the day is almost over. We exhaust ourselves with trivial issues and have no time to pause in our feverish haste to get through the day.
Previously unheard of debilitating diseases, freak accidents, geological calamities and wars of our own making are responsible for making us fearful and lonely.
To be sure, technology and science have made life infinitely easier today, but I think the world of our grandparents and before them was not bad either. They may not have landed a Rover on Mars, but they definitely led healthier lifestyles and were a happier and more content lot.