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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