Running on Nostalgia
Nostalgia is not an 'old person' sentiment anymore. It's real and it's hovering above us every minute of the day. Do you ever find yourself going through letters, post cards and old birthday cards received from friends and family members living all over the world? What about catching a movie or a TV show re-run that you grew up watching? That warm feeling that you get while doing all of the above is probably what we call nostalgia, or a sentimental emotion that still helps us stay connected to our past.
According to an online forum discussion on nostalgia, it's actually a very useful emotion, especially for someone who needs to deal with loneliness and isolation. However, getting stuck in the past is definitely a risk, like in the movie 'Midnight in Paris,' where Gil Pender, played by Owen Wilson, bumps into historical figures and ends up partying with authors, writers and has a small taste of the life he had always wanted. Because after all, the past is always so much more glamorous!
The 90s is back and this is apparent in the colours that we wear today, the people who we still admire and the stories that many of us in our 30s, still remember. Hints of the past are everywhere around us, especially the movies that we choose to watch and many of the books that we read today.
Three of the most talked about Indian movies which were released this year all seem to showcase the nostalgia element. 'Gold' is a story of the first gold medal won by independent India in the Olympics', 'Raazi' is the story of a young girl in her late teens who is sent off to foreign lands as a spy and 'Podmaavat'— the tale of the ancient land where kingdoms fought for almost anything—money, resources and in this case, love and dignity. While the first two are based on actual events, the last story is said to be a blend of reality and sagas carried forward for centuries by the locals. Not only were the viewers fascinated by the glamorous looks, but the picturesque locations, fantastic art direction and the very factual details of the eras inspired the audience to dig more into the stories of the characters.
In an article titled 'How to Use Nostalgia to Your Advantage (Instead of Getting Stuck)' written by Thorin Klosowski, the Swiss physicians would believe nostalgia to be a disease similar to homesickness. Today we know that it definitely is not a disease but a way to rehash the good old days now and again.
Yet another movie—'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' – a romance drama set in 19th century Europe stole the hearts of many. The story revolves around a community during the ongoing World War II, trying desperately to survive. Surprisingly enough, the sudden formation of a book club saves the day. Eventually, the club begins to change their lives for good. Available on Netflix in many countries (unfortunately not in Bangladesh yet), the story gives a feeling of warmth and belongingness to viewers. Not only does the movie take the audience on a joy ride of affection and books, it also takes them away from the current reality of the parallel world and gives them a feel of genuineness.
Disappearing newspapers are probably hitting the headlines, especially from the west. However, it is a different story for books. Even though the digital world has almost taken over the realm, sales of books and paperbacks are on the rise, especially in South Asia. Young authors writing and publishing is all the rage at the moment, especially if one is writing a memoir or a biography. A look into the Goodreads app, and one will find readers listing classics from different centuries in their 'to read' catalogue. To add to it all, the major cities in Bangladesh today are coming up with bookstores, complete with comfortable cafes and cozy mats so that purchasing books or sitting and simply reading feels good, just like the good old days.
So, is the world running on 'nostalgia' mode at the moment, or is it just me? The hands-on, practical, once campaigning for zero paper space, would definitely disagree. However, it is probably the ones who fuss with notebooks, bookmarks and exotic fountain pens (though rapidly decreasing in number), who would rejoice over this simple sentiment – that keeps them alive, fighting and surviving the tablets and blocks.
The author is Editor, Arts & Entertainment and Star Youth and tweets @elitakarim