Saturday, January 21, 2012

Let's all 'feel' together! Emotions are a great comfort!

Vinita Dawra Nangia

Emotions– good or bad – can be a great comforting factor, especially when shared with others

There is a comfort in emotions that is difficult to deny. And the succour that a camaraderie of emotions provides is indisputable. If you are happy, your pleasure is intensified when someone shares that happiness with you. If you are unhappy, being able to share the unhappiness and pain with others helps comfort you. If you are angry, venting anger as part of a group that shares your emotion, helps provide cathartic relief. That is what perhaps accounts for flash mobs, anti-corruption protests, et al.

We are better off when experiencing an emotion– good or bad -- rather than at times when we are indifferent and so, bored with everything. And, the most pleasurable of all emotions is romantic love. Extra-marital relationships are also the result, more often than not, of finding the comfort of emotional attachment beyond home and the acceptable.

Time was when we dealt with our conflicting, tumultuous emotional states all by ourselves, or at most by confessing to a parent, a dear friend or sibling. But today, a generation that has been brought up to believe strongly in individualism and to value themselves, their goals, their own feelings and their idea of right and wrong, sees nothing wrong in hanging its innermost emotions out to dry in public spaces. And social networking sites ensure there is no lack of such spaces!

Years ago, as a child, when disturbed at my emotional response to a handsome star of the time, I confessed my mixed feelings to my mother, she told me censoriously, “You must learn to control such emotions.” For quite some time I believed I was some kind of an emotional freak and prayed to be infused by purer thoughts and feelings. Today all you do is sign into any social networking site or forum and find hundreds of others echoing the same feelings. You not only realize you are no freak, but your feelings are actually reinforced!

When I stumbled across the facebook page of Mohnish Bahl who is currently playing the lead for a popular television serial “Kuch to log kahenge…”, I was amazed at the outpouring of young emotions there. Followers of the actor openly talk of their love for him and confess how they cannot wait to watch him again, how they worry about him, pray for him and even advise him on the serial! And Mohnish is no youngster -- he is a married man with a 20-year-old daughter!

What amazes me is the passion these people bring to play upon a serial that is so obviously fictitious! They react to characters as if to real people and all thoroughly enjoy the interaction. Housewives, professionals, students – all bond emotionally on the same page, finding it addictive -- as is proved by their multiple daily visits to the page!

There’s indeed comfort in being part of a group that wallows in emotions!

When I mentioned this obsessive group emotion to my friend Dr Deepak Raheja, Consultant Psychiatrist and Director, Hope Foundation, he said, “It is symbolic of regression. People tend to regress when they are very emotional. They let the conscious mind get synchronized with the heart to feel emotion that brings a surge of feel-good chemicals. In past this state was reserved for a very special person you loved or perhaps an idol. Today people have become frivolous in relationships --the resilience, coping strategies and mechanisms that are required to balance emotions have come down. People are more demanding and want to change the loved one. When that doesn’t happen, there is sourness and relationships break. “

Devoid of gratification and contentment of relationships because you find such few idols and idealistic relationships in real life, an emotionally immature generation transfers its moodiness and starved emotions onto idols and stars. People get carried away on a wave of emotion and when they find themselves part of a like-minded group, they find that high emotions help them bond better with others. This gives them a great sense of comfort. They start romancing the idealistic scenarios found on the screen, believing they can live that life too, even if vicariously.

It can be a scary scenario because emotions run fast and furious here and the landscape changes in the blinking of an eye; the dwellers of this land hate as quickly and as intensely as they love, and they transfer reel emotions into real life as effectively as real emotions get entangled with reel ones. Rather than considered and few, relationships tend to be indiscriminate and many, rather than caring and nurturing, they are demanding and destructive… both in reel and real!

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