Off late I started thinking the amazing and unimaginable influence of internet and computers in our lives is really a bane or boon. In fact, I am no great computer wizard and I learnt to work with computers only in my late forties. Now, as a retired scientist and safety consultant, music critic and writer I wonder how many activities of mine are shared by computer, well internet and made me more complacent and an addict to the small rectangle piece on my table.
The first causality was my writing habit. Initially, whatever I have to convey for the press as a review, letter or article I initially write on paper since my flow of thoughts at that time used to be active only if I sit and write with an ink pen. Later, I have to type it in the computer and mail them. But, slowly I started avoiding writing and moved to the PC because I need not have to do the job twice and it saved the time. No doubt, it saves the time, I can make a quick reference to the appropriate word or phrase instantly if I am on the computer than the labor of keeping the heavy dictionary on my lap for referring. Now I don’t write anything except cheques and some small notes. The Tamil press also wanted me to send the stories in the typed format through mail. Since I am not familiar with the Tamil typing and keyboard, still I depend on my hand written scripts only which are later given for typing. I don’t want to learn Tamil typing since if I start doing it my writing will absolutely come to an end.
Well, earlier (why, even today) I prefer to see a movie in the ambience of a theatre and today if I have to book the ticket I could do that also through the net. But, once one of my younger generation friends, located some site and advised me to download even new Hindi or Tamil movies through the net and watch it in the computer. But I am not very comfortable with the prints or the small screen and therefore, I still like to visit the theatres for watching the movie of my choice. But the hassle of going and booking the tickets has been eliminated as I get it done in a few minutes via net.
Railway ticket booking used to be a nightmare as one had to stand in the long winding dreadful queues earlier. Now, I could book my train, air or even bus ticket through the net. What a convenience! The newspapers are on the net and I could browse the current news even before they are flashed on the newspapers the next day!
I love books and spent a lot of time visiting book shops and browsing books. I buy the book I like immediately. Today, I have come across another advantage. The internet orders are accepted by many book traders and I browse the book I like and book them via net. You may ask what the great deal is! Yes; there is. These net book stores give substantial discounts on the books and once order them I receive the book at my doorstep within a couple of days neatly packed. If the book we received is damaged? No problem. Once a book I received from them had pages jumbled up and some pages were missing. I promptly spoke over the phone and sent a mail to them. The very next day I received the replacement with an apology letter. Wonderful, isn’t it?
I had a lot of collection of old songs but I could not get some of my favorite Hindi or Tamil movie songs. I lazily searched one day through Google and to my surprise I could see the video clipping of the song itself! I searched for many more and what a pleasant feeling! I could see and enjoy the ‘Chitrahaar’ of my college and school days through this net! On hearing these song outside my flat suddenly my most unfriendly neighbour made his appearance at the door step and emotionally acknowledged that all those songs were his favorites too and took him down the memory lane! I feel now the two-in-one and cassette players are redundant consuming space also.
I could get some of my subject books which I could not find in the local market. Another of my young friend passed on a folder containing the pdf files many books on the topic of safety to me which I could use as a worthy reference whenever I need. I can do banking, transfer, pay taxes through the net.
The major parts of my moving around for many things have been curtailed to the minimum with the net and computer. Am I not losing my physical activities since all my agility have been eliminated and brought to my finger tips? Well, yes. I understand to have some physical exercise I have to eat with my hands move my legs for a walk and go to sleep when my eyes get tired.
Since I am in the evening of my life it is acceptable to some extent; but what about youngsters? They are easily attracted by its advantages and convenience and with the result their physical exercises and socializing have touched the lowest ebb. Well, one can argue that they are socializing more through emails, chats, twitter and face book.
True. I get many things done by touching the key board and but they certainly lack something special - ‘The Personal Touch’. That is what I too miss in many of my activities notwithstanding the great advantages.