×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Cherishing life's pauses

Susegad for Goans manifests itself as a way of life, of being at peace with whatever life has to offer.
Last Updated : 24 July 2021, 19:59 IST
Last Updated : 24 July 2021, 19:59 IST

Follow Us :

Comments

The pandemic may have compelled scientists to invent ‘anthropause’ as a new catchphrase to describe forced reduction in human activities, but the traditions of taking a step back, slowing down and living in the present have been a preferred choice in many societies. Like Ikigai to the Japanese and Hygge to the Danes, Susegad for the Goans manifests itself as a way of life, of being at peace with whatever life has to offer. It may resonate a bit differently in the pandemic era though, as survivors may have little option but to embrace such traditions to brave isolation and address anxieties. By bringing susegad under focus, Clyde D’Souza suggests conscious replacement of mindless consumption with mindful living to achieve harmony with the self.

Susegad is an intimate exploration into what Goa should actually be sought for, beyond its tag of a popular tourist destination. Despite the humbug of modernity hitting the small state like a nasty wave, there is a consciously consistent effort by its natives to stand tall against such onslaught. The humid sluggishness triggered by its climate has found comfort in the culture that has in turn led the human biological clock to be automated in favour of happiness and satisfaction. The silent ticking of the clock is so deeply integrated into the Goan habits and rituals that they hardly ever notice it. Even a casual Goan response, ‘It’s just our style, man’, has so much unsaid in it.

A hybrid style

Pursuing a hybrid style of writing, D’Souza digs out susegad in all elements of daily existence, with a short story and an interview with a native celebrity to pep up the narrative. From tangy curries to reflective proverbs, and from afternoon siestas to distilling feni, each activity and practice is so paced that the person executing it is in control of his life. No wonder, most Goans yearn for susegad, meaning quietness, which the pandemic has otherwise thrust upon all others too. Does that not call upon the others to condition themselves to the new normal? Written as much for the curious as for the discerning, the book offers insights on the author’s lived experience on a partially understood and inadequately appreciated subject that has something for everyone struggling to live with the pandemic-induced fears and anxieties.

An accomplished writer, D’Souza has showcased the intrinsic value of susegad rather convincingly and eloquently. He avoids being meditative, but remains somewhat prescriptive in conveying how to stay relaxed and contented without doing anything dramatic. Indeed, the pandemic has made the case for practicing minimalism more urgent and compelling.

This is undoubtedly a timely book that has handy tips on making life more relaxed and increasing the feeling of happiness. It is an easy-to-read book that can be placed in the category of a cultural biography. It indeed is, as it accords a special place to the time-tested cultural practices of the people of Goa. The Goans have long practiced what most of us have been forced to adapt to, during the pandemic. Far from outsourcing the boring chores, the Goans follow the ritual of in-sourcing. Most of the household activities are done without any outside help, to enforce dignity of labour, while building a relationship with the immediate environment and perhaps, adding an element of susegad in one’s life. The lessons are far too many to ignore.

Susegad is a timely call for course correction to address the underlying fissures and fragilities in our societies. With the pandemic having ripped the world apart, nothing could be more vital than addressing micro stressors to tide over macro challenges.

ADVERTISEMENT
Published 24 July 2021, 19:53 IST

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT