You find yourself amidst a lush meadow seated on a wooden boat. The gentle waters lull you into peace. It’s a truly invigorating morning. The trees sway beside you as golden slants of sunlight shone down. It’s a rare moment of serendipity and you find solace in the nature surrounding you.’

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This is a passage you’re extremely likely to find in most travel magazines or blogs. This is a passage we all talk about, write in our Instagram captions and preach about.

But take a moment to yourself and reflect. Is this, in all actuality, a moment we’ve all lived through and hold in fondness, or is just a perfect vision we have all engraved in our minds?

In today’s world, with the exception of a few, most of us belong to the latter. We’ve never really been through these scenarios but instead implant them in our brains and treat it as one of our own. Despite I arguing with my grandparents that we share the same experiences, I know I’m wrong.

The boat rides they recall, in actual ponds and rivers, under the soothing shade of trees, are carefree. The boat rides that I, rather the generation of today has experienced, is most likely in artificial rivers in water parks or in fenced off areas, on a broken down plastic boat, on a fixed trail, amidst a hundred other sweaty people. And all of us are simultaneously trying to find the right angle for a picture that hides the grimy truth and appears to be the perfect nature getaway.

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Our grandparents escaped for hours into serene ponds and lakes. We? We find ourselves in a three hour long queue paying a princely sum, to be on a boat for five minutes jam packed with many like ourselves. We hold up our noses, ignore the stench and garbage and keep the small island a mile away that’s full of trees as our cynosure. And we’ve lived our perfect nature trip to the fullest.

And we might think that the cause of this is environmental pollution- the fact that these sights are no longer what they used to be. But that’s not the truth. There are still plenty of unblemished places all around for us to visit. The cause behind this is also not the spread of phones, social media and technology. Despite all the gadgets and gizmos, we still go out and try to undergo experiences and live to the fullest. The main reason for this, in fact, is our hectic schedules and the fact that we’re too scared.

With our hectic schedules consuming our timetables up, barely leaving us enough time to breathe; it’s no surprise that we don’t really find time to unwind. Even young children find their entire days filled up with this practice that practice and these classes and those activities. And with the few precious moments that we do snatch for ourselves, we’re too scared to ‘actually live’.

Today, we plan out everything. From our hobbies, to free time to our holidays to even how we spend our energy. Think about how you lived when you were a kid. You lived in the moment. You raced till you could run no more, flopped down and after a while got back up. Now, we even plan out our exhaustion to the last minute- doing a multitude of things to conserve our energy and only use it up in the hour at soccer practice or any other activity we’re signed up to.

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We swim in chlorine bleached and none of us would ever step into a real pond for the fear of plants, germs, mud and so much. It’s almost like we’re afraid of reality. Minor hurdles like germs, bugs and insects, seem to scare us away.  We only drink packaged mineral water, would not even play between stones, would go outside with a bunch of creams and repellants to save us from every possible threat. The generation of today would, frankly, not be able to say boo to a goose, unless of course it’s a well trained, tamed, organic food eating, kept in a cage goose.

And the fault does not lie in us, solely. In fact it’s the cause of over protectiveness. From parents to the general media everyone seems to treat this generation like a fragile Faberge.

Just take a look at the reports and research surrounding us.

‘Local park closed down as parents complain as grass landings are dangerous’, ‘Man arrested for child endangerment for letting children play with tools to build a fort’, to magazines announcing that everything is too dangerous, from leaving your children unsupervised, to letting them play alone. They look at the world through the safety goggles we put ahead of them.

Seems like we’re protected from every angle from every possible harm. I mean, no one ever knew that safety scissors were needed for children up till the age of 12 and grass playgrounds were harmful. And this has resulted in the upbringing of a generation that can’t play in grass, or walk to the shop next door to buy candy, sort out squabbles with their friends and have never lived more than an hour unsupervised. A generation has been created that’s told that nothing is ever too safe and that they’re always in the path of harm, and they’ve believed us.

IT has become a generation that’s been told shielded at every step from squabbles, emotional issues and experiences. A child if exposed to a few fights with friends, a few angry words from their playmates to falling over and hurting themselves a few times, will not die. They’ll simply learn from this.

The kids of today are smarter than we give them credit for. And if we want them to live through the same experiences that the older ones have, we must simply give them the freedom that the previous generations had.

We , the holders of today, don’t want to live in the snatches of nature that we view through our safety goggles. We want to be free and view the entire panorama ahead of us and let each moment sink in as we make these memories for ourselves.


-Adyesha Singhdeo