Jaadu ki Jhappi was a phrase introduced in Hindi film Munna Bhai MBBS. When Munnabhai beckoned others to be engulfed in his arms for a Jaadu kee jhappi, he was talking about a very basic human need. This movie’s line had a wisdom way beyond its years. The power of touch has become such a fundamental desire simply because its not being met enough.
The fact of the matter is that a Jhappi ( HUG) by anyone (not by random people – that maybe creepy) is full of jaadu, full of magic, full of heartfelt feelings. When we are sad and get a comforting hug, it almost melts away the worries; albeit just for a while but lasts long enough to regain some composure. When we are happy and get engulfed in a tight hug then the happiness seems to double. Hugs without occasion or reason are just as wonderful – immediately perking up the day.
If you feel it, it’s got to be true. Plenty of research confirms just that – many good hugs make us feel good, lower blood pressure, alleviate fear, improve heart beat and are natural stress relievers. Sadly in our uber busy lives we are just not touching others as much, in the ‘real world’.
Don’t take my word for it. Across the world there are news of ‘cuddle parties’. I recently read about this happening in New York. The concept is that strangers get together once in a while for a good old cuddle! When mentioning this astonishing fact to my hubby, he was like yup its been happening in Japan too. I bet its not restricted to just these two places. Hugging strangers may not be my cup of tea but then again a good hug is a good hug regardless of who or what you hug (yup even a teddy bear will do as per Psychological Science).
Hugging and physical touch needs to start early (provide loads of touching moments for our children). An Emory University study, concluded that well hugged babies are less stressed as adults (depending on a combination of nature and nurture). And this need (hugging and physical touch) only intensifies as we age, according to researchers at Ohio State University,
“The older you are, the more fragile you are physically, so contact becomes increasingly important for good health,”University psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser told USA TODAY. Studies have shown that loneliness, particularly with age, can also increase stress and have adverse health effects. By hugging someone, we instantly feel closer to that person and decrease feelings of loneliness.
Unfortunately ‘touching’ has taken such a negative connotation in our lives and in some sense rightfully so. What with all the abuses that children are experiencing we are erring on the side of caution in the ‘touching’ department.
As Indians we are possibly going through quite a paradox.
- On the one end, as a society we have not been very touchy feely and more so with our children. Fathers more than mothers. In the decades gone by if you needed a hug or a comforting hand you went to your mother. Fathers showed their love in other ways, just not always through touch.
Then the rise of child abuse has further made ‘touch’ a suspicious subject. A little girl sitting on her uncle’s lap or an aunt hugging a little boy too profusely! I bet your radars are up even as you read those lines.
- On the other hand Psychologists are professing that we need to be kissing, hugging, touching our children more.
Somehow we need to get a balance in this paradox; otherwise our next generation will suffer from the lack of enough touch.
As a kid, I was often witness (and victim :)) to these big bear hugs when my father, aunts, uncles would greet each other with crazy tight hugs. If you didn’t almost take the life out of the other person it just was not a good enough hug. Whenever we met family, my father would tell us – ‘kas ke jhappi pao’ (translation: hug the person tight). And that ‘kas ke’ was reciprocated too. Maybe that’s what made us so strong! Then again, a solid jhappi will make anyone strong physically and spiritually.
A close friend of mine greets everyone with these warm big hugs; no handshake for her. It genuinely feels so delightful to get a hug from her and you cant help but be left with a lovely smile on your face. And a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside.
While heading to the airport, my sister left us all with super tight hugs! The goodness of that hug lingered on for days after she had gone.
Hugs have that effect. A feel AWESOME factor!
Btw the secret to a GOOD HUG is that it should last at least 20 seconds!
Got time enough for such 20 seconds in our daily lives?