Defining Nostalgiphilia



Have you met people who begin every sentence “in the good old days…”

– Do you have an old BSA bicycle, or a Remington typewriter or Windows 3.0 PC which you cannot throw away since your father got that as birthday gift…

– Do you stop on the road to relish ‘burf ke gole’ without bothering about the harmful colour and the dirty water…

– Have you observed that some people stop everything they are doing to be lost in thoughts when they hear a Geeta Dutt or a Mohammed Rafi song…

bril inkBeware; it could be the classic case of ‘Rustic Retro’. This is a rash like itching symptom of a dreaded disease called ‘Nostalgiphilia’ that afflicts mainly those urbanites who are above 30 years, artistically inclined and who have a lot of free time to feel nostalgic. Too many films, poems, paintings have been melancholied about this disease. Medically, this disease is described as a serious psycho-somatic condition, where the patient is forever lost in melancholy. ‘Melancholia’ is clinically classified under ‘schizophrenia’, but symptomatically it is similar to asthma since it can be aggravated by both environmental and genetic factors. (Refer: Wikipedia)

The typical symptoms of Nostalgiphilia are easy to identify.

  • While surfing the TV channels, the afflicted will get stuck at the 150th rerun of Malgudi Days or Star Wars movie.
  • Every time their friends and relatives visit, Nostalgiphiliacs will pull out old wedding or vacation tour albums and start explaining each photo even though they would have shown it earlier.
  • While discussing about a serious topic, some of us digress from the topic talking about an experience from a bygone era. But for Nostalgiphiliacs such a digression is a default setting and they would not want to come back!
  • They cannot simply eat a rare seasonal fruit; there has to be a lengthy narration of how sweet the fruits were in those ‘boole bisre din’.
  • If by chance, you ask them how to make the thread strong for flying kites or ingredients of mango pickle… you will be buried in a torrent of nostalgic downpour!

Once someone gets Nostalgiphilia, there is no cure. The disease can only be controlled with a daily dose of harsh reality; but otherwise it is a bleak scenario of the rest of the family members who have to endure the pain. Family members can take care by avoiding simple triggers that can aggravate a situation.

Nostalgiphilia - Indian nostalgic things

Typical triggers to be avoided are:

  • Do not expose Nostalgiphiliacs to old antiquated items like a tape recorder, granpa’s clock, film camera or even an old milk powder tin. They will start their melodrama, “Meri bachpan ki Amulspray aur Lactogen ka dabba… jisme mein pal bada… jisme meri maa dal aur masala rakha karthi thi…”
  • Do not mention how prices are rising day by day. You wouldn’t want to endure a lengthy lecture on what prices were in 1960s and 70s.
  • Do not switch to Vividhbharati radio during lazy Sunday afternoon if you do not want to ruin your weekend by listening to the whole history of how Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote his poems in prison!
  • Do not pull out old family albums and gramophone records in the presence of Nostalgiphiliacs.
  • Bioscope, Burf-ke-gole, gramophone, inland letters, Bril ink, Camel pen, etc are some of the items to be avoided.

This website is dedicated to all the people who are valiantly struggling to overcome Nostalgiphilia. We need support from people of all walks of life to manage this social evil. Please mail your comments and suggestions at

Reference: wiki/Nostalgia

Image – Pixabay

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