This is the time when small companies become big Organizations and BIG organizations just vanish overnight. This is the time when you see trees being cut and instead of seeds being sowed, witness BIG tress being planted overnight to landscape. This is the time when you see nuclear families crash without sentiments and read about fatherless children born out of one-night stands. This is the time of Sami Adnan, Singh Chatterjee Rao and George Iyer – a mixed identity of old tribal and medieval sir-names indicating that there is no mess.
Recollecting my old office with the two trays, painted “IN” and the other “OUT” have given way to a place filled with rat’s nest of wires, chords and connectors under the desk. When I was growing up, I remember the lanterns that light the study tables or the candlelight on the shelves. I recall the joy when the power company pulled the electrical wires to my home for the first time and how we switched on the incandescent lamps. I remember how we used to watch the old radio that had names of places of radio stations, written on the front panel. As you turned the knob, the sliding red indicator moved. Then came the magic eye on the radio sets with green and blue colours to help tune stations. I remember how I waited for the letters from my fiancée over and over and looked at the trains that used to carry her letters. My father-in-law mentioned that with an inspired imagination how he put his love letter to his fiancée and dropped it near Worli beach, thinking that the bottle that carried his letter will one day reach the Kuyyali River near Tellicherry.
I wonder at times whether I am annoyed at the little developments that crept and influenced our lives slowly over the last half decade.
Bus from Calicut to Thaliparamaba
Remember how we used to watch the cars that moved once in a way in my native village called “Calicut”? This place was earlier known as “Kozhikode” and to be more fashionable and to showcase culture, we call it once again “Kozhikode”. I recollect some of those car registration numbers like KLD 3144. The only bus that traveled from my place to North early mornings, used to wake me up, like a morning alarm – the typical old Ford bus from Calicut to Thaliparamaba. When the town buses came, bus number 1 was from “Meenchanda” to “Westhill” and “meenchanda” only meant fish market on the eastern part to the extreme western suburb of Calicut, those days was “Westhill”. Then, for me, those were the lands ends!
At home in India we switch on electrical gadgets by pressing the knob of the switch, “DOWN” and in some other parts of the world you do the same by switching the knob “UP”. There are places where you slide it to your right or left to switch on some equipment. I have never been certain, in some places how to switch on lights. It’s like English being written from left to right, Arabic from right to left and Korean and Japanese from top to bottom?
The hotel rooms that I used to stay used to have the normal long keys attached to a heavy metallic key chain and pad showing the hotel name and the room number. This slowly changed to smart WIN cards. With the advent of such cute stuff, you still tend to go to the pretty receptionist who smilingly instructs you to use the WIN card to open your hotel room. It has been a learning experience handling various types of keys. You open up your P.C. with a password, open up your bank ATM with a four-digit code and at times cannot open up a smile from your wife, by using any key.
Perhaps you must have flipped open your hotel room with the hands stretching out to locate the light switches. Sockets replaced these and now you have to insert the WIN cards these days. In between it used to be the key chain pads that one had to insert to get the lights on. The various lamps within the room have different ways of switching it on; some are through sonic controls. No two lamps in the room can be lit the same way.
World – a small VILLAGE.
And if you need to have a shave or have your hair dried with an electrical gadget, I am sure you will never get the pins of your equipments (that include the cell phone charger) do not get in to the sockets. Various specifications of the manufacturing countries are all available in your command – the world now is called a small VILLAGE.
Now, try going to the bathroom after a heavy day’s work for a warm shower. You will see the most complicated types of control valve mechanisms that will try your patience to the hilt and will still not help you have the shower that you so fondly wanted. Some of them have mixers and each time you open the valve, the water with different temperatures will fall on your body – sometimes very cold and some times burning. And look at the colors of those valves matching with tiles and floor carpets.
Today is the time when letters have given way to telephones and to e-mails and to SMS messages through cell phones. The good old seven digits telephone numbers, which cling on to your tongue vividly, have given way to eight digit numbers. Computers have replaced almost all walks of lives.
The tiny cell phones have been an accessory we can connect to the chain and this can be established at any time, depending upon the need. It’s open to the world through Internet. We are glad to listen to the bleeps that tell us that there is and SMS waiting for us or to receive a missed call tone.
I was fascinated to read about how deaf persons can now get to know each other’s need and communicate to each other with the vibrating mode of the cell with the displayed communication that deaf can read.
The other day I saw on TV, the new model of a cell that helps the blind to receive and transmit messages by voice mail services. How good these tiny computer chips have helped reshape people’s lives!
Divorce through “CU2night” & the TV culture!
Only the other day, I read that the number of divorces is on the increase that own cell phones as their partners see SMS words like – “CU2night”!
Each innovative idea transforms the way people look at things. The demands of the cell phone thus have become a part of day-to-day life for a million odd. With the communications improving our expectations also grow. How it used to be to wait for a letter physically reach the destination and take the same time to receive the reply! Times R changing!!!
The human endeavors to improve things are also binding us with many other restrictions. If you do not get a reply SMS instantly, you feel you are lost to take a decision. Look at fish vendors running their mopeds using cell phones to locate the best catch of the day.
You see at times that close friends who use such devices are physically so close but are so far apart. Relationships crumble with one mis-understanding, missing one SMS. It takes time to build up quality life and just a second to loose it!
As I watched TV, I was engrossed with the sad events that took place with that Rajdhani express on 10th September. The newsreader took a flash of the events being read and informed of a Break. Suddenly the screen displayed an advertisement of an amusement park. I was unable to check myself out and bring my mind to focus as the time lapse between the sad event and the amusement that I watched had been a trickle of a second. I just thought of people (that included close friends), who manage to turn their tune their mind as well their faces, as and when issues suit the individuals at any point of time. While in Calcutta, this phenomena was expressed by a friend of mine with the example of Amitabh Bachan shooting for the films in different shifts with many different costumes – to depict roles one as villain, lover and of a good man! For the BIG-B, it’s his job, where as for some others it is a part of their character!!!
Talking about movies, remember reading early morning news papers that used to be thrown across your boundary walls by vendor boys who come whether it rains or not? Every one waited to read the front and rear columns first to get a picture of the news as well as the cinemas that was around in theatres. Some read papers with the cup of morning coffee. As time passed into oblivion, the number of newspapers multiplied from “Mathrubhumi” and “Manorama” to many. Today you read “PAPER” on e-mail or Internet. Tell me, who wants to read about news these days? The TV channels outnumbering newspapers, project the news in pictures, almost live. The debates and other shows take your time off and you get glued to the TV screen. You tend to adapt to the TV culture!
IT and “Information Age” has taken us for a ride. If you are unable to move your fingers across the P.C. you are out of this world! The IT phenomena has transformed our lives in multifold. Pictures through P.C.; chats through P.C. and what not?
Moving towards cultural polarization
The first ever space travel to the space ship has already materialized from the time Russians sent the dog “Lyka” to outer space (now they find that Lyka died, instantaneously it entered space.
I was thinking about some statements that we come across about communicating with the “SO called” friends! And how they sometimes behave!! Look at old times, and remember your old school pals – they are still there vivid in your memory. Believe me, this is what all of us should understand while we deal with human relations – if you do not manage your space between people and tend to become close, you are probably in for trouble. Remember the four kinds of people – known to self & known to others; unknown to self & unknown to others; known to self & unknown to others; unknown to self & known to others. With the right kind of wisdom, we should choose which of these four types, we should be and what to choose amongst the four. “Where you want to be?” is the question.
Conductors of International symposiums identified the fact that of late the world has moved closer toward cultural polarization. The dangers imposed due to these phenomena are clash of civilizations. This can be eliminated only through cultural dialogues. These points lead us to think of the international relations between countries. On one side the world is becoming a small VILLAGE and on the other is getting polarized.
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life, not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space; We’ve done larger things, but not better things; We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less; we plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait; we have higher incomes, but lower morals. We have more food, but less appeasement; we build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; we’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality. These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, and short Character; steep profits, and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are days of two incomes, but more divorce, of fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom; a time when technology can bring this write up to you.
Have you heard about the frog in the well? Those frogs that are not in the well will have hardly any choices these days. For some of us “Contentment is not the fulfillment of what we want, it is the realization of how much we already have”.
There was a close friend of mine who was a colleague too. He is no more; neither his wife. One of those dusky evenings, as we were playing shuttlecock, he had narrated a story of his family. Quoting his words “There is no perfect white; neither a perfect black. So it is better to walk through the gray, a path many have already traversed many times!”
I am always reminded of his words when I choose the ways.