Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hobbies - A thing of the Past??

When we were kids, the most frequently asked question from the elders used to be: "What is your Hobby?" And I for myself would very proudly announce stamp collection. One of my brothers liked to collect match box covers, while another collected autographs. And that made us busy in our free hours. I would walk up to my favourite stamp dealer (Ruby Stamps in Urdu Bazaar Lahore – now no more) to buy fancy stamps from my meager pocket money and would run home to add those to my stamp album. 
But what of now? Ask anyone the same question and one gets a blank faced expression. Children today do not even know of hobbies like stamp, coin, match box, first day cover collection or even taking autographs. The e-mails and SMS have already put the old mailing system in the back drop - so no concept of stamps and first day covers. 
I do not know for sure, but I think the e-mails and SMSs have robbed the children of the innocence and art of hobbying. Or perhaps we the old generation people haven't changed our style. But believe me, I still enjoy the same fascination and excitement when I open many volumes of my stamp albums, which once made me current on the countries around the globe, their capital, presidents and cities and so on. My father's mail, who was then the head of Interpol Pakistan,  was a major source of my stamp collection as he used to get mail from all over the world. 
Then it was autographs. I still remember how we got the autograph of the then US President by writing an innocent letter to the US ambassador in Islamabad. And one day we were amazed to find President Nixon's autograph in mail. The same way we got autographs of the then president of Pakistan Field Marshal Ayub khan, Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto, and many other. 
The 1971 debacle brought a halt to the match boxes from the former East Pakistan – so to meet the demand a large number of matches were imported from many countries of the world – those match boxes were really very eye catching, innovative and beautiful. Soon my brother had a large wooden box full of those. 
While book reading remains the only hobby still alive with the remaining few still glued to hobby thing, the days of hobbies in general are over. Time changes ...


Asghar Javed said...

My be I would say that types of hobbies are changing with time. Keeping a diary used to be a hobby, now it is blogging.

My own blogging started a pastimes. Reasons for my blogging have changed over time though.

Jalal HB said...

You are right - today all hobbies and passtimes are contained in one box (not the black box) - but your computer. What a pity - all we have is one computer - nothing other than that.

Anonymous said...

Yea I agreee with your observations. Not only has SMS / Email taken away the ability to write a proper letter for a valid reason, but the Playstation / Nintendo / PC game has also robbed the children of an imagination! Children in this day and age expect to to be entertained rather than finding interesting things to do. The motto of the current generation ought to be
'I'm bored, entertain me'. Traditional hobbies are facing a crisis of sorts because tradional hobbies require some effort in order engage in them.