Thursday, March 29, 2007

The golden olden times

Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a nostalgic world. I mean, I love to remember the time when there was not much television (only D.D.), or when telephones were a luxury, or the time when the use of the internet was not so prevelant. There is some charm in the old ways of doing things as compared to the newer ways.

I agree to the fact that technology has made life a lot easy. For e.g., various kinds of searches are just a click away. Everything ranging from the latest scientific papers to the recipes of exotic dishes from the least heard places is available on the net. Television allows us to view events from any part of the world in real time. A lot more can be said in favour of technology.

However, when I try to remember, when was the last time that i sat down and wrote a letter to a friend? Or when was the last time that I really felt excited about a weekly programme that is going to appear on television? There was a time that I can remember when letters were carefully worded so as to convey the exact emotions that the writer had in mind. With the advent of e-mail, people stopped writing letters and got hooked on to mailing. And with it came a new new style of writing. 'Your' became 'ur', 'great' became 'gr8' and many more such changes. So, people stepped on to mailing to greet each other on all festivities. The charm of selecting a greeting card for someone special was all gone and taken over by e-cards. Now, with the advent of social networking groups like orkut, we do not even take the efforts of sending a mail. Just mention it in the scrap book of the person. Important events like b'days and anniversaries do not deserve such a treatment.

Another technological advance that irks me to some extent is the mobile phone. This instrument means that you can be contacted at any place any time. However, it acts as a spoiler in many ways. Go out in a group, atleast one amongst you will be busy on the phone, either talking or busy SMSing. This person has no consideration to the fact that there are people with him/her in the group who have come along to enjoy time together. He/she is just engrossed in conversing over the phone or over messages.

One of the final phenomenon that I am going to talk about is the time between when the marriage is fixed and the actual marriage. Over the past three years, whenever I hear that a bride/groom has be found for a friend/relative, the accompanying advice is- "Now buy a phone connection that allows free calls between your number and your fiancee's number". Well, well how nice. This saves a lot of money for both parties, particularly for the groom. However, unlike a letter, we cannot go through telephonic conversations to revive memories sometime down the line. My mother once showed me a letter that my father had written to her. She said, this was the only letter he ever wrote to her before marriage and I was suprised at the happiness on her face after reading that letter. This is not going to happen in today's mobile age. What are today's mobile-happy couples going to talk sometime down the line? "Honey, do you remember that you said such and such thing to me on the telephone on 17th May at 6:05 AM?" When they grow old and retire and try to look back at life, even the mobile handset and connection that they had used when they were "dating" would be lost and lying somewhere in some obscure place. I mean the old person can't even say, "Honey, a lot many times, I've kissed this phone while we were coochi-cooing."
Letters, or even e-mails, have the ability to last long, really long (a-la Amaron batteries). You can always pull out the letter from deep down in your cupboard and drool over it, remembering those times, just like my mother did.
At the end of all this, am I free from all what I mentioned? Well, I'm not. After all, I am also from the generation that has witnessed such rapid technological changes within a short time. The generation which has a lot more money to spend on instant gratification of needs and desires. The generation that feels that use of language like "gr8", "urs", etc. is cool. The generation that does not believe in giving time for relations to develop. I am a member of that damn generation. But, change has to come from within. I try not to use the mobile phone in public, unless I receive a call or message. I try to call up people on their birthdays, if not possible, I send an e-mail. However, since I am still single, the need (or situation) to write letters to my fiancee or to call her in the middle of the night and coochy-cooing with her has not as yet come.
I have now started realising the meaning of the adage- "Old is gold". It is not without any reason that this adage came into existence.
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Friday, March 16, 2007

I miss those days

It was one of those days when I was having dinner in the mess alone. The atmosphere was peaceful, as there were a very few people in the mess (for statistics purpose, the mess has a seating capacity of >800 and there were hardly 50-70 people present). My mind generally wandered off into the days when we were doing our M.Tech. H-12, B-wing, 4th floor represented one of the largest groups that ever went for dinner together. The entire process was fixed. At around 8:00 PM, someone would start calling out for dinner. Then, from one end of the corridor the shouting used to begin-"challlllllllllaaaaaaaa". Kaduskar used to pick up Pamya and Dani en route, where Faddy, Mamu, Nandu and myself would join them. The process of gathering would end with someone banging on Dr.'s door resulting in a sleepy Dr. trying to come to terms with what is going on. Then a troupe of 8-9 inmates used to barge into the mess.
A lot of times, we used to be joined by fellow inmates, taking the group strength to around 12-15. The group size was so large, that a lot of times, we had the entire set of two tables for us, with 2-3 extra chairs thrown in. It was a lot of fun over dinner. All in the group were Mechies doing their masters. I was the only odd one out-- the Chemie. Conversations were pretty diverse. Right from jokes, to serious issues such as economics or politics, every topic under the sun could be discussed over dinner.
However, what used to be, in Navjyot Singh Siddhu's language, the cherry on the pancake was the post-dinner unwinding session on the the 4th floor terrace. Here too, we discussed a lot of issues, ranging from the Marine Drive rape case to whether Air-India should be buying Boeing aircraft or not. Some of these sessions have been self inspecting sessions too. A lot of crushes, heart-breaks have been discussed and dealt with in these sessions. The updates on the latest chics in IIT used to be shared at this meeting. People have been the butt of a lot of jokes. We have ridiculed each other, made fun of everybody within the group at some point of time. We have agreed, disagreed over a lot of issues. However, everything was forgotten at the end of the session and people were back to work. No matter whatever conversation transpired at these sessions, all of us were pretty sincere in our friendship. Whether it was Pamya taking Faddy to the department daily, when Faddy had a surgery on his leg, or Kaduskar regularly filling the rebate forms for all those leaving on Friday afternoon, we were always ready to help each other.
Today I'm back in IIT for my PhD. However, days have changed. No more are there these friends with whom I could have shared my heart and who would have shared their heart with me. Everybody is busy in their own world. While we are in touch with each other there is no more of these open-heart sessions. Although I hope Pamya, UK and Dani would still be holding their sessions. The new friends that I've made here, have no time for such sessions. Now, it is no more of sincere open-hearted discussions, sharing of joy, guilt, sorrow. Everybody is busy meeting their goals or their personal world. Those true friends are now truly being missed.
Guys, this article is a tribute to our friendship. We were and are still true to each other. I still miss those days, and will continue to miss those days. Wherever you are, whatever you all are involved in, I miss you all. I miss those days, I truly miss those days.
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