Overheard this conversation, “Sorry I am calling late to wish you on your birthday. Left my phone home and didn’t remember your number.” This last part made me just so sad, and a bit nostalgic.

People no longer remember anyone’s number, maybe one or two emergency contacts but that’s about it. My mother can still list out the numbers of all our family friends and relatives without taking a moment’s time to recollect, although in her case I have always suspected it to her being a superwoman; how many people can do that now?  My father and grandfather had a little pocket book that was their personal directory. I too maintained a cute little blue colored baby pocket book that had my friends’ landline number scrawled under the respective A,B,C..Z. Does anybody do that nowadays? I wonder.

Nobody remembers anyone’s number these days and why would they, when their phones, SIM and Google stores that information for them, without much effort? I don’t know how many kids would know the meaning of the word ‘directory’; but they sure can teach an adult about Google and Wikipedia and explain in great details why they don’t need to memorize anything when the information is available at the touch of the fingers.  

Recently, Indian government decided to end their telegram service that had served this nation since 1850 and had served it well. The soldiers, lawyers, distant relatives, rich, poor, affluent, unknown – everyone benefited equally by it. The old timers would still vouch by it. Pushed off the edge by sms, email and other means of instant messaging services, this was bound to happen, just the way the landlines phones are slowly but surely fading away.
It’s sad, to the point of being depressing. Maybe I am nostalgic, but still.

Older technology and times brought people together instead of ripping them apart. Be it at the movies; or when the entire neighborhood would gather at that one house which had a TV, however small; or when people gave their neighbors’ landline number to their friends as a point of contact; or the way people at the local tea shop gathered around a small radio to hear the national news broadcast or follow cricket commentary, much before TV started playing them live.

There was never any discomfort, or  irritation at the countenance of these adults when they had to share their TV and telephone or when they had to run  to call their neighbors every single time a call came for them, as I recollect. People met often at each other’s house and sat for a comfortable chat over a cup of tea, unlike in this era, where the same is achieved in a virtual space.  Everyone loved the community feeling that those older ways carefully built and solidified, only to be melted away with technological advancement of human species.

Human race has since moved on to a race of machines. I don’t like the fact but it’s here to stay and I need to accept it. New replaces old, the world is always changing; it makes me wonder. What if one day man forgets that he is a social animal? Social interactions are already being governed by online portals and people find more reasons every day to limit physical meetings and interactions.

I ask- It is modern, but is it ideal? Would you like if the world becomes boxed; to each his own (terminal)?
Should anything be done about it or is the visible future good enough for our generations to follow? Are we leaving a legacy to be proud about or will this generation be written off in future in Wikipedia articles, for the mounting ecological, social, physiological and psychological problems that we are currently in process of manufacturing?

Think. Think Hard.

© Shivani | forewordMarch

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