SITTING around the dinning table the discussion somehow turned towards the inventions that once dominated human development — things that reached their zenith within a short time, occupied such an important place in our lives that it seemed that life could not go on without them but soon faded away, giving way to some new invention. The best example that came to mind was the fax machine. At one point it appeared that if a business concern did not have a fax machine it was working in Stone Age, and can never prosper.
Then came the era of e-mail, and fax was forced to slide behind the curtain to stand at a secondary position. Now one would not ask you for a fax number but would directly ask for the e-mail address and if you say that you don’t have one, would stare you with a strange look on his face as if to say, “How do you expect to survive in this world without an e-mail?”
This is one example. If we look around us we will find a lot of other things, like the gramophone, which was invented in the 20th century only but faded away before the end of the century.
While the rest of us were raking their brains to come up with other examples, I turned to my mother and asked her if twenty years ago someone ever thought they would work in the kitchen without gadgets such as sil-batta, Chimta, Sansi, etc. These are the things which once were the essential items of any kitchen — be it in some poor man’s home or a palace. Now modern girls hardly know their names, let alone ever use them.
If we really think about it we will come across many such things which have given way to new things and themselves become tales of the past. But then this is life and life needs change to go on. One cannot stick to the old things in the presence of newer and better alternatives; one has to let go of the old ones in order to benefit from the new ones. Otherwise life would become stagnant. There are people who prefer to remain loyal to the age-old ways of living, but then for them life comes to a standstill. Even after 50 years they will be in the same condition as they were earlier. They lag behind, are left out as backward and suffer, as they are unable to understand the new ways of life.
The excitement of life comes from change, from discovering new things, from adopting new ways of life.
Ever thought why infants and toddlers are so excited? It is because they are discovering new things every minute, learning new things and exploring their world. They learn something new — a new word or a new game — and keep on repeating it every now and then until they learn something else; in the process they forget the unimportant ones but hang on to the relevant ones, increasing their vocabulary.
If this desire to explore new things, to move forward, to accept change was not a part of human nature, perhaps man would yet be living in caves and eating raw meat. It was his desire to progress, to explore, and to widen his horizon, to experiment that made him invent planes and rockets and step on the moon. And it is this same will to move ahead that makes him explore other planets.
If there was once a time when women had not thought of working in the kitchen without sil-batta there was surely a time when no one had ever imagined that man would travel over the oceans or land on the moon, or it would take only minutes for messages to reach the other side of the globe.
All this development took place because man explored new avenues and discovered new things. He failed many times but was ready to accept change. He kept his mind open and took pains to search for what he could do to make his life better. The search is still on. It is up to us to keep our options open.