A hobby is an interesting subject or pursuit we take up for amusement in our hours of leisure. One of the sources of unhappiness, as Russell points out, is our inability to be interested in some hobby. The rush of modern life takes so much out of us that if we wish to maintain good physical and mental health, it is essential to plan for relaxation. We must learn to order our lives so that once we are away from work, it is forgotten and we are able to enjoy our leisure. The wise use of leisure is a product of civilization and education.
There are several kinds of hobbies. Some are interested in collecting coins. Some others may make collections of ferns — press and mount their specimens. A few have photography as their hobby. An ordinary person cannot afford this since it is expensive.
There are a number of people who enjoy playing the violin and other musical instruments. Playing the violin was Albert Einstein’s chief delight. According to Robert Browning; the famous English poet, a musician alone enjoys the confidence of God. He creates an enchanting world by various sounds. Music elevates the soul. It is one of the greatest joys of mankind and is the most harmless of pleasures. In music, to quote Wordsworth, the weary have life and the hungry have bliss.
Painting is also a very good hobby. Churchill enjoyed it greatly. It is “Poetry in colours”. It is a good mental food and exercise. It delights everyone. Picasso says a good painter is capable of transforming a yellow spot into the sun.
Gardening has become a popular hobby in many countries. It is one of the purest of human pleasures. The race of mankind, according to the Bible, started life in a garden. The first God-planted garden is called Paradise. Gardening gives us open air exercise. Thus it promotes our health. In some countries like China and Indonesia house-gardens supply a good deal of food and fuel required for the family.
The collection of postage stamps is one of the most, common hobbies in the world. From stamps we can get valuable information. We also come to know of the famous patriots, rulers, explorers, scientists, artists and writers ‘of various countries. Thus, stamps have an educational value.
For a large number of people reading is a hobby. It makes a full man. It makes us forget the sorrows and difficulties we face in life. The pleasure that Charles Lamb, the famous English essayist derived from Chapman’s Homer was so great that he kissed the volume. Ruskin calls books ‘King’s Treasuries’. These treasuries do not contain currency or coins. They contain lofty thoughts and emotions. They enrich our intellectual and emotional life. The influence exerted on Gandhiji by Ruskin’s Unto this Last and the Gita is very well known.
One who has cultivated a hobby does not find life insipid when one retires from service. A boy who has some hobby knows how to spend his leisure time or vacation properly. Since he is busy with his hobby, he does not get any time for any mischief. An idle: mind is the devil’s workshop.