Chai-tea and happiness, Danish style
The Danish Hygge philosophy is almost Gandhian in its simplicity and belief that deep introspection can rein in personal ambition and quiet a restless mindhealth and fitness Updated: Jan 22, 2017 10:04 IST
A quiet evening at home curled up in a blanket with a book. Drinking hot chocolate – hot ginger chai tea if you want that Indian touch -- alone or with family. Candlelight, dinner and conversation with close friends.
What most of us would describe as yet another ho-hum evening spent at home for lack of better options is the lifestyle Danes aspire to, boast and increasingly write about. It’s called ‘Hygge’ (pronounced “hoo-ga”), a term best described as “restful coziness” that they associate with stress-free bliss.
It’s a bit like the ‘slow food’ movement that evokes the more natural way living and loving, in this case not just every bite you eat but also the way you savour experiences over possessions and friends over associates.
The Danish Hygge philosophy is almost Gandhian in its simplicity and belief that deep introspection can rein in personal ambition and quiet a restless mind.
Ironically, the Danish Hygge fantasy sounds a lot like the kind of lifestyle people in developing countries are working hard to abandon.
Some may say there’s a moral and a learning there, but it’s difficult to fathom when you’re sitting by candlelight sipping hot chai during a power outage in a sweaty summer evening.
Or are spending the evening at home with a book after losing the argument over who gets to control the television remote.
For the Danes, the yearning for the ordinary is not surprising given that Denmark sits comfortably among a handful of countries that top the global development, income and social security indices.
When you have a high income, universal education, good public healthcare, gender equality, an expendable income and uninterrupted power supply, you have the luxury to be wistful about candlelight and other simpler pleasures that sound dull and routine for many others.
If you choose to be indulgent, you would appreciate Johansen’s lighthearted narrative about how hygge comes with fattening recipes (too much starch and sugar), tips on lazing and “healthy” hedonism.
All in all, a good read for those who want to feel chuffed about their ordinary life and lack of friends.
How to Hygge:The Secrets of Nordic Living
Price: Rs 1278