culture

The Virtual Non-Existence

Those were the days of real world- the 1990’s. People born before that era would have witnessed the evolving of technology, materialistic comforts, varied transitions and emerging of virtual relationships.

Why am I talking about the pre-social media days? I, too, am an obsessive fan of ever-increasing convenient apps and social networking tools.

Well! Today, I was suddenly taken down through the memory lanes.

Thanks to Mr Graham Bell who gave us the Telephone. Around six or seven years of age, I have a blur memory of a hefty, black-coloured instrument.    phone

It seldom rang- and when it rang, it always brought me happiness. My grandparent’s phone call from Delhi meant-either it’s a special day, a festival or planning-in-progress for visiting them during school vacations.

Oh! How I looked forward to be with them, to meet my cousins, enjoy Delhi summers that were loaded with litchis and mangoes, conversing with other half of my family clubbed with manifold memories. Nothing was more exciting than travelling out to the capital city from my hometown, Agra. I do feel proud of being born and brought up in the city of Taj Mahal. But like every small town girl, I always thought that those who live in Delhi were the luckiest. Of course, nowadays, I think differently.

In those days, every weekend was fun time with friends or extended families. When Whatsapp was not even visualized in the faintest dream; the time when physically meeting others were indeed much sought after then the current virtual conversations. When an incomplete homework meant going to your friend’s house to complete the notes (and some extra play time too). When virtual talking meant speaking through the landline phone, surrounded by your family members. Sharing secrets was almost impossible through those phones. Therefore, actual meetings were essential.

Stepping up into teenage brought along blossoming of a crush or a love interest. Those were the days when it was mutually agreed with your love interest to hangout near the phone at home and jump to attend the call before anyone else could do so. When blank calls were used as a code language; and if you had a cordless instrument, you were lucky to take the phone to some discreet corner of the house. When there was always a fear of someone intruding through the other handset while you were talking to your lover on the cordless. A time when mobile phone was not gifted coz it was still waiting to be conceived. When a love date was very carefully planned ahead and strategizing the event was a child’s play.

A time when greetings were exchanged face-to-face unless you lived in a different city. When you can almost touch the laughter, smile and warmth in front of you rather than trying to feel it on a audio/video call. A time when most of your confessions/acknowledgements/appreciations were shared with the person directly then virtually.

Year 2001 was when I received my first mobile phone-Nokia 3205. To say that I was excited would be an understatement. The call charges were quite high during those times and mobiles were primarily used for SMS and generally for professional commitments. Never did I realize then that soon I will be overpowered by the smartphone culture. I gradually took it for granted to message rather than the real socializing.

And now I often ask myself. Has the technology helped us to build the same affection as it use to be during those times? Haven’t I adopted the networking tools and am connected with the entire world? Alas! I have drifted apart from the real relationships.

Please don’t think that I am averse to the technological advancements or being virtually connected in spite of all odds. It’s just that I am a bit traditional in my approach.

Apart from the above, for me, the benefits of 1990’s were plentiful.  I still miss those times when friendships were tangible and not virtual. So I pledge to meet my dear ones rather than just messaging them. Hence, my dear friends if you find me blatantly knocking your doors, please bear with me-I just want to meet you in the real world.

 

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2 replies »

  1. You brought back some wonderful memories for me too. The giant-sized telephone that looked like a miniature Ambassador model, my first mobile phone – Nokia 3311 – that I used to threaten I would whack people on the head with unless they did my bidding, to now when I have the same doubts that you expressed. We’re adept at technology but we also know how to cut back. It’s true- The 90’s generation is the best! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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