Tweeting Neighbours

While my wife still prefers to chirp on the phone, I have taken to tweeting. A message in broken English is no more a telegram — it is a 140 character tweet. Telegrams, cablegram and telex are limping or almost dead. Its obituary was written a decade ago.

I would be tagged technologically challenged if I did not throw jargons like spamming, phishing, and email worms in my conversation. I would be hacked from my social network if I failed to understand the nuances of Twitter and Facebook.

These are the new tools of communication that I must profess, practice and propagate or face the fate of the telegram. I have now done a year on twitter. The tweeting community is a classroom of young and old, growing at a breath taking pace with new admissions. We share on the tweet board  love, hatred, ideas, beliefs and even minuscule topics as bowel movements. I am amazed at the speed and power of tweeting. You could tweet a gorilla war with menacing results and yet have no blood shed. Politicians and commissioners would endorse my views.

Internet is the mother of all inventions; it has taken the world like a  storm  on a computer screen.

My first acquaintance with computers was only in 1983. It looked like a programmed mini idiot box. I had never liked computers other than the fact that they were nested in air conditioned rooms; conditioned air in India was a student luxury then.

I believed engineering studies was about machines and steel structures; computer was okay for stenos and secretaries, who were lazy on type writers. Like an inflated egoistic macho man, I kept away from the feminist computers.  Not any more.

Computer today is like a pace -maker  that ticks my heart. I may live with a viral but not a computer virus that I can ill afford. I must confess I have been sharing a lot with my PC — my passwords, my work, my pleasures and my credit card bills. For most part of the day, my computer stays on my lap - like a genuine affair. We share tea, coffee, games, music, chats and shopping escapades. My computer faithfully reminds me of birthdays, anniversaries, funerals and pops a work plan, for all my days. I have reciprocated well to my computer’s loyal gestures. Most of my shopping bills are on upgrading my PC with softwares, discs, pen drives, CDs, DVDs, mouse, printers, key boards and an up market carrying case, to match my profile. My work-table is more expensive than my bed. I do not remember when I last bought jewels for my wife, no wonder she abhors my extra-marital computer affair.

My friends, colleague’s, kith and kin are no different. We do not party nor go barbeque camping any more. We care enough to be on the Facebook 24x7.

We do not write letters, yet we post messages on the wall. We neighbours now only Skype chat or tweet. The lesser privileged are in the internet café. The last time I said, “Hello” on my phone was a year back. That is when my PC  crashed.

Today my phone was ringing again, and reluctantly I moved from my lazy chair to take the call. Guess what?  It was my best friend and we hadn’t spoken for a while, life kept us busy. My friend’s PC had crashed and he wanted to know if  he could borrow mine. I was in a dilemma. It was a choice between life and death. How could I share my PC? My wife felt I was being too possessive. I chose to live.

Life is on an identity crisis – quizzed between tweeting wordsmiths and modern communication tools. We are breathing through the flesh and pulse of plastic gadgets. We are now cultivating a new breed of computers, the Blackberry’s and Apple’s. Emotions now are buttons, keyed to a keyboard. The human touch is missing. We have lost our fingers to SMS, emails, tweets and Facebook clicks. We are programmed robotic  couch potatoes, waiting for the ‘click of a button’ to make life happen.

Technology cannot be an excuse to fence our emotions. When did we cry, when did we laugh?
Computer the Pied Piper is leading us to death. Is death a mouse click away? Are we tweeting to death?

First published in Khaleej Times, Dubai - UAE on May 7, 2010
Image (c)

More By  :  S. P. Singh

  • Views: 5029
  • Comments: 14

Comments on this Blog

Comment Thanks Shilpa

25-May-2013 01:18 AM

Comment Excellent blog.I see myself in u n makes me realize what I have become!! I cant sleep t nite if i didnt log in the whole day for some reason.Internet bills are paid faster than electricity bills..

Shilpa Edward
24-May-2013 15:47 PM

Comment Thanks Anupam

03-Sep-2010 02:38 AM

Comment A nice, refreshing take on tweeting.

02-Sep-2010 11:20 AM

Comment Thanks Preet for your comments.Yes, I did keep writing even in college and then the engineering career took over. Since last year, I have now again started writing and am glad that FB friends are also  liking it.Your comments are always welcome.


30-Aug-2010 02:58 AM

Comment SP thanks for this article. Its very well written and full of technology. You started writing long back and am glad that we have your blogs to read. Think had read your writing in 1983 for the first time. That was a great piece and had lead to a national award (Science and Technology). regards, Preet

Preet Lamba
30-Aug-2010 01:25 AM

Comment Thanks williams for your prospective of change, which indeed is inevitable.

29-Aug-2010 09:29 AM

Comment The fear of the new is not new at all. When the telephone box came we said it would destroy our well organized world. When the TV came we said the same. Not the Internet. Human beings invent and then they have the ablity to adapt. The sooner we adapt the better. Nothing is bad, the way we use it. Language itself is the most complex artifice.

Mukesh Williams
29-Aug-2010 08:07 AM

Comment Dear Proloy,

I am glad you liked the piece and sharing your own experiences. Wish you a good healthy retired life.


S.P Singh

29-Aug-2010 03:33 AM

Comment A great piece and each word is true. I can vouch for it as i too at this advanced age find life without my desktop meaningless, purposeless and boring. Post- retirement it has given me reason to soldier on and refrain from lamenting the loss of position and an office. It has helped me to acquire a new identity - that of a columnist and a social and environmental activist even though, osteoporotic as i am, I am hardly active. It was my desktop that came as a replacement for my Silver Reed portable which made a writer, blogger and a clumnist out of me with the limitless wealth of information on the internet it made available to me.
The computer has worked in a wholly different manner with me and i am thankful to my wife who nine years ago made me buy one. One can only take one's hat off for Man's ingenuity.

Proloy Bagchi
29-Aug-2010 03:12 AM

Comment Thanks Bijji for your comments.

29-Aug-2010 01:30 AM

Comment Funny but true. People prefer to tweet rather than speak in this contemporary era of web.

V.K. Joshi (Bijji)
29-Aug-2010 00:09 AM

Comment Thanks Aparna Ji. I am glad you like the blog.

18-Jul-2010 06:03 AM

Superb Write.

Solah Aane Sach Baat !

Made me laugh again :D 


~ Always Aparna ~
18-Jul-2010 05:44 AM

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