The Virtual World Versus the Natural

kids busy on mobile phones
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In the busy humdrum of our lives we often miss out on enjoying the simple pleasures of life. Most young people today are so engrossed in their technology driven world that they fail to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. The chirping of birds, the warmth of the first rays of sunshine, the rustle of leaves or the pitter-patter of raindrops on roof- tops. These are simple pleasures that nature offers. They are free of cost, they appeal to the senses and they definitely have a positive effect on our mental and physical well- being.

We are today literally living in the virtual world,in the net,psyco-drive computer games and tweeting or meeting friends ,not physically feeling their presence but on our mobiles or computer screens. Yes life has changed and unimaginably so since a few years ago. The definition of recreation has taken a new meaning. Gone are days of a visit to the countryside, watching the yellow paddy fields, or fish darting in a village pond or just sitting by a cool mountain stream. Misty mountain drives through pristine forest roads are the realm of a few adventure lovers. Most of us seem to be happy with our screens be it the television, computer or the phone.

youth using mobile phones
Source: Rac1

Leisure is as essential as work and study and we must use it fruitfully. A person who learns to use leisure well will never be bored if he or she is without company. Spending time only on computer games encourages a sedentary lifestyle. These games are addictive and detaches one from reality. On the other hand outdoor activities keep us in touch with nature and it goes without saying they keep us healthy.

There are some artistic outdoor sports too which cannot be allowed to fade away from the spectrum of recreative activity. Take for instance kite- flying. Kite- flying or Patang baazi is a very popular cultural sport of India from time unknown. Making a kite is an art and flying a kite is a fine art.

The exact date and origin of the kite is not known but it is believed they were flown in China more than two thousand years ago. One legend says that when a Chinese farmer tied a string to his hat to keep it from being blown away in a strong wind, the first kite was born.

kids flying kites
Source: Flickr

Kite- flying was eventually spread by traders to India. The earliest evidence of Indian kite flying comes from the miniature paintings of the Moghal period around 1500. In the towns and cities of North India kite flying is a craze. Being a fun sport they are flown throughout the year. However there are some special occasions for flying kites like Makar Sankranti, Basant Panchami, Raksha Bandhan and Independence Day. Basant Panchami is one of the biggest festivals of North India. This spring festival is celebrated by flying kites mainly of yellow colour. In Gujarat and other western states kite flying is associated with Makar Sankranti. The main attraction is special kites with paper lamp that fill the sky with myriad lamps.

Kite flying has contributed to the complete culture and harmony of India. What could be more fun than a wide open field, a warm breeze and a dancing kite?

Another artistic hobby is flower arrangement. This can give immense pleasure. Sure there are readymade bouquets of different shapes and sizes but a bowl full of fresh flowers arranged artistically by your own hands has a story to tell about your personality and adds a touch of refinement to your home. The Japanese have a special art of flower arrangement called Ikebana. More than just putting flowers in a container Ikebana is an art form in which nature and humanity are brought together.

Ikebana
Source: OYAKATA

Ikebana is a creative expression that emphasises colour combinations, natural shapes, graceful lines, and most importantly it intersperses twigs, stalks, leaves and requires minimum blooms. The container is a key element and various types of pottery may be used. The spiritual aspect of Ikebana is considered very important because it promotes appreciation of nature which we tend to overlook in our busy lives. Feeling close to nature relaxes the body mind and soul. Ikebana is a custom among Japanese society but it has evolved through Buddhism. In the modern world Ikebana has International organisations and it is also taught in schools and shown on television.

Nature provides us with bountiful pleasures.  All we need is to open our senses and develop a taste for hobbies associated with nature. Technology also provides know-how with enormous horizons to reach out to wider zones of thought and action. Variety is the spice of life. Let’s combine technology with the natural and have the best of both worlds.

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