Are Hobbies Dying in Our Generation?

Author: Anvaya Sharma

During our weekday chats, my friend was telling me about her facing depression once, due to acute boredom. Basically, after marriage, she changed countries and as a result, was not working for a long time. Being new to the place, she didn’t have many close friends; internet access was limited too. Her earlier days being fully occupied with work, family and a hectic social life, she just didn’t know what to do with all the time on her hands.

Both of us discussed how these issues are now getting to be common in our generation. I mean, our mothers were housewives and they never mentioned getting bored. ‘Getting depressed’ was something probably they still don’t know!

I think my mother had ample opportunities to be bored; I, her first born, came along only 7 years after their marriage, Dad used to travel very frequently, there was no TV (anyways there was no cable connection those times), some friends. I wonder what she did the whole day.  She used to keep herself busy with painting and embroidery. Being a trained commercial artist, I guess painting was not a problem for her. Embroidery was something she learnt from her mother.

Many women in her generation got involved in embroidery, home decoration, knitting etc. just to keep themselves busy. Depression, thus, kept itself totally at bay. These hobbies have stayed with them even today and despite age, they devote considerable time to these. Even now, my mother makes beautiful embroidered chunnis and saris, while my aunt, makes lovely quilts from old cloth scraps. Both are in their 70s now.

However, when I look at my generation, I feel many of us could face situations when we just don’t have anything to do. Four years back when I shifted to Africa and stopped working for a while, I was completely bored out of my wits. There were no neighbours to chit-chat and very few friends. I really wished I had learnt either embroidery or knitting from my mother and aunt. I then wondered why I didn’t.

I guess I was busy with studies and in my spare time, was either reading or hanging out with friends. I suspect that I used to look upon embroidery, knitting, quilting etc. with some scorn, though I was happy to be a beneficiary of it.

With the breakdown in joint families, single child phenomenon growing in homes today, I feel that our generation would have more free time on our hands. If not today, then sometime in the recent future when the children don’t need us much. Even now, my 6 year old son returns from school at 4.30 and then gets busy with his gang of friends; if I didn’t have work and my books (my hobbyJ), I wouldn’t know what to do with myself for almost the entire day!
So do we women have any hobbies that we can pass our free time with? Do we even consider them important? We are lucky to have many new ways of keeping ourselves occupied like dance classes, candle making classes, chocolate making courses, baking classes etc. But how many of us are giving these a thought?

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