By Vijay Darda | 15-06-2020
Even as affection, love and emotion are vital constituents of our culture, they are essential to sustain life scientifically too
Yun toh koi shikayat nahin mujhe mere aaj se,
Magar kabhi kabhi beeta hua kal bahut yaad aata hai..!
Nowadays everyone is fondly recollecting the days before the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic. Roaming freely and fearlessly, going to work, meeting friends, patting each other, warmly hugging, playing with the children in the neighbourhood, holding them in arms! But now everything has become a thing of the past. We still grow nostalgic about those days. The mind repeatedly asks, when will we be able to have those days back?
I am greatly optimistic and equally proactive, so never let the disappointment set in me, but the truth must be analysed. I wrote in my column last week that if human consideration remains alive only then will we all be alive. Just after that the incident of keeping the patient tied to the bed in Shajapur in Madhya Pradesh has disturbed me. His only fault was that he was not in a position to pay the hospital bill. Former Union law minister Ashwani Kumar also wrote a letter to the Supreme Court on this issue. When the situation turns to this, we have to think in which direction is our society moving?
Now I feel that the danger of losing the touch of affection is even bigger than the financial crisis. We are seeing that close family relationships are also being affected. People who were distraught at parting from their dear ones are not even ready to touch their bodies. The workers who are walking hundreds of miles to meet their family members are being prevented by their own people from entering their villages. Even the sadhus and saints who used to extend their feet to let their devotees touch them are not willing to even bless them from a distance. Now discourses are going on on the Internet. The pandemic has shaken internal relationships.
I remember when I was a student and when our teachers used to put their hands on our shoulder with great affection or pat on the back, we used to be filled with happiness. The whole day used to become auspicious with the feeling that Guruji laid his hands on our shoulder! When a sister used to tie a rakhi on the wrist of her brother and mother used to feed morsels of food, father giving a piggyback ride and husband putting ‘gajra’ in his wife’s hair. Those were the days!
If a friend suddenly came from behind and closed my eyes, I would experience a unique sensation. Much later when I read about touch science, I came to know that nature has given us this unique gift of touch with a lot of thinking and understanding. Scientists have also proved that someone’s touch has a profound effect on our mind and brain. When I was in Parliament, it happened many times that the Prime Minister placed his hand on my shoulder and asked, “How are you Vijay?” I often felt that such touches are very inspiring. A gentle touch activates the chemistry of affection, love and emotion.
Science says that there are pressure receptors that feel the pressure just below our skin. When someone touches us, these pressure receptors send waves directly to the brain. These waves depend on the style of touching. If the touch is full of affection and love, the stress-causing hormones start to decrease. Scientists have found that holding hands and hugging each other lowers the stress hormone cortisol and at the same time increases the levels of the confidence-producing hormone oxytocin.
Now let’s look at this problem from the perspective of Indian culture. The developed civilizations may have given up embracing each other and their social touch has been reduced to their hands, but in our culture different dimensions of touch are still an integral part of our lives. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, all embrace each other. Girls clasp hands. Children love to play on swings and get along with each other. We also have a culture of touching the feet. Psychology states that when we touch the feet of an elderly person, feelings of love, blessings and sympathy are produced in his heart, which makes his aura filled with energy. Our aura takes that energy. By bowing down, we also create humility within us.
I cited the examples of science and Indian culture so that we can understand the importance of touch better. Just think that today we are in a situation where we are not able to touch each other, so what an unpleasant effect this must have on our body and mind! Simply put, this is one of the reasons why a human becomes irritable during lockdown. Stress hormone increases and the feel-good hormone decreases. If this situation continues for a longer time, our lifestyle surely will be affected badly.
It is an undeniable truth that social behaviour will suffer when people themselves are not happy! This pandemic will disappear today or tomorrow! What is imperative is that our behaviour should not change. If there is a crisis, we definitely have to fight it and we have to fight it as per the rules. But preserve your inner affection and love, for this is our biggest strength. So be healthy, be happy! Golden days will definitely be back again!
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all relationships badly. Our own near and dear ones have become indifferent. People are not ready to touch the bodies of their dear ones who were so close to them once that they did not part for a moment. It is difficult to say how long this will continue. The pandemic has also created the real danger of depriving humans of affection, love and emotion.