Three leisure and entertainment activities which have not changed much since time immemorial: staying home, going out and meeting people. While many of the other entertainment activities discussed here can be classified as Indoors or Outdoors, there are some more activities which are distinct from the previous seven (Reading, Radio, Music, Television, Movies, Gaming and Internet).
For many, Indoor leisure activities are synonymous with Hobbies. These hobbies could range from painting to stamp-collecting, from doing jigsaw puzzles to needlecraft. Hobbies give us a much-needed diversion, a break from our workday lives, and an outlet for our creative instincts.
Other Indoor activities comprise board and card games. Chess, Scrabble, Carrom, Checkers, Monopoly are Rummy have survived the tests of time even in today’s technology driven world. Many of these same games can be played on a computer, but it’s just not the same. These are all “multi-player” games, and the fun lies as much in playing as seeing the reactions of the others in victory and defeat!
Technology has, however, impacted another old Indoor pastime: browsing the Family Photo Album. Camcorders and Digital cameras are gradually replacing the “click-develop” routine and moving the activity into an all-electronic world where photos and video clips are available with a different version of the “click”.
Outdoor leisure and entertainment activities range from playing cricket (okay, also football) with friends in the building, going out for long walks (Henry David Thoreau: I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least — and it is commonly more than that — sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements) to vacations.
In India, as the population of cars has increased, playing space in most buildings has been amongst the early casualty! The various shopping complexes (malls) being set up as part of the ongoing revolution in retailing are creating good hangout places. Vacations are now becoming more exotic as people are more willing to explore new places and spend. The Internet has eased the process of finding information on places and in cases, even doing the reservations. Five-day workweeks in many organisations have created weekend getaways. As work life gets more intense, so does the need for vacations.
In all of this, the human need to meet others has changed the least. We still want to socialise – doesn’t matter how many emails and IMs have been exchanged! True, the mix of phone, email, IM and SMS helps in putting these get-togethers and meets more effectively. Just sitting with people you like and chatting away through the night, randomly flitting from one topic to another, reminiscing about the past and sharing one’s dreams for tomorrow is as simple an activity as we can imagine, and yet perhaps the most emotionally satisfying. The more things change around us, the more we remain the same.