From Bioscope to Jhaalmuri, Surajkund Mela was a mirage, a blistering display of vibrancy. Jharkhand being the theme for this year had an enormous display of its roots. But ‘lights camera and selfie’ would be a better pseudonym to encapsulate the Mela which was all about preoccupation with self.
While treading the sandy pathways of Surajkund, the song “Mela dilon ka aata hai” begins buzzing subliminally. The colorful snippets from the movie make you relive the good old days. The days when life meant family, not self.
The jalebi–rabri food stall, balloon- dart game, swings and clenching parents’ hands rightly describe our Mela outings. As kids, there used to be an effusiveness to explore the vivid array of traditions and mélange. Especially when you are an urban offspring, occasions like melas aid as the apt getaways. Melas then were a switch from the daily humdrum and the ideal celebration of ‘being together’. Amidst the hustle bustle, we carved our share of happiness with family and friends.
But with the technological evolution, the social structure has revamped too. Today, the digital hegemony obliterates the traditional practices of which Surajkund is an evident prototype. Standing near random stalls, posing, clicking without owner’s permission, being completely oblivious of what the stall offers but ensuring to caption it right is how the digital version of happiness is weighed. A wailing kid sitting next to his mother was bribed with a chocolate so that she gets the perfect click with her bestie. A mythological mascot at Surajkund was swarmed by people for selfies as if it was the last picture of their lives.
The virtual space has impacted our lifestyle so much that it has become an obsession. An obsession with self, a fabricated concept forcing us to look our best for the sake of garnering more likes and followers. It’ s because of the digital overhaul that we have ceased to look beyond the prism of ‘status update’.
The authentic mela culture somewhere seems a thing of past. The selfie sticks or what you call as boom rods define what people like and dislike. Gradually we are becoming robots whose lives are constrained within the virtual spaces. Alas, the essence of happiness has shrunk to how many likes or followers we muster through our social media profiles.