Alone in the crowd: Overcoming loneliness of urban living – The Hindu BusinessLine

Clipped from: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/books/reviews/alone-in-the-crowd-overcoming-loneliness-of-urban-living/article65270420.ece

About the Book
Alone in The Crowd: Overcoming Loneliness of Urban Living
Samir Parikh and Kamna Chhibber
₹ 295/ 212 pages

About the Book Alone in The Crowd: Overcoming Loneliness of Urban Living Samir Parikh and Kamna Chhibber ₹ 295/ 212 pages

A timely and relevant book that addresses the silent pandemic of mental health issues

A couple of years ago, shortly before the first lockdown, veteran marketer Harish Bhat, in his column for this newspaper, wrote about loneliness in cities being a big modern trend and how marketers could step in offering products and services. Citing a EuroMonitor study, he pointed out how there would be a 128 per cent growth in single person households in India in the next decade. 

The pandemic has only accelerated this trend. And it’s not just people living alone or the elderly who are hit by acute feelings of loneliness – you might be living with family, friends, busy with your work, yet don’t get a feeling of belonging or connectedness with people around you. How often do you sit down for a dinner with your family and each member is glued to their device and not talking to each other?

Psychiatrist Samir Parikh and clinical psychologist Kamna Chhibber have written a very timely and relevant book on this urban phenomenon – we may even call it a silent pandemic – of crippling loneliness.

The authors pinpoint with uncanny accuracy the feelings that many of us have faced. The way when you finish a busy day of work and a close friend calls you over for a drink or dinner, you find excuses not to meet– you are tired, you don’t want to engage. So many of us these days are happy engaging with strangers on social media, but losing touch with old friends who live in the vicinity. That’s because you don’t want the complications that come from forming deeper bonds. Yet, over time, these are the things that lead to an increased sense of disconnectedness.

Or the sensory and information overload you face day in and day out, which overwhelms you and subconsciously stresses you out.

From our inability to disconnect from our gadgets, and how it is impacting our relationships, to work life balance and productivity, and the desire for more material things and instant gratification, to the spirit of competitiveness that has started pervading relationships, the authors explore a whole gamut of problems that society is facing right now.

The clear and cogent way in which the authors present all the problems that society at large is facing, the alarming swings in moods etc. shows their experience – clearly it stems from the many conversations they must have had with their patients.

What’s nice about the book is that while it gives you a comprehensive understanding into all the issues of loneliness, it also provides a workable solution to all these problems and not just homilies. It provides approaches which you can follow.

The book is structured pretty simply. Section one is devoted to problems, and even if you personally are not facing these problems, you will clearly recognise someone or the other dear to you who is.

Section two addresses the problems by giving you psychological tools – be it helping you take stock of your situation, making you aware, suggesting things you can do, reassuring you that it is not bad to prioritise yourself and telling you why you must invest in relationships.

Section three is more of a conclusion – a summation of pandemic living and adapting to the new ways.

 The book may seem too general at places, but it is up to you to skip the stuff that may seem irrelevant and head to the problem that affects you.

What I personally found most helpful after reading the book was the thought that you are not alone in undergoing many of the issues described in the book.

(Chitra Narayanan is an Editorial Consultant with The Hindu BusinessLine)

About the Book

Alone in The Crowd: Overcoming Loneliness of Urban Living

Samir Parikh and Kamna Chhibber

₹ 295/ 212 pages

Published on March 29, 2022

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