Caught in Virtual world!

Karanvir Gupta

Horses….Pigeons….Letters….Telegram…..Trunk-Call……Land-line…Mobile…. SMS…. Web…. Online messenger…… Social Media…… IM (instant messenger)…… Whatsapp….!! This one sequence summarizes the whole journey of evolution of communication both in terms of technology and the pace of delivery of messages. Not only this but also it is a reflection of the ideology on which the modern day world is based upon: Globalisaion. The whole world is at the dispense of one click or at the most two. The globe shrunk literally with the advent of technology. What is even more amazing is it took too short for the systems to develop in later phase of evolution.
This technological boom revolutionised the way world existed. Things paced up, there was more that could be done in the same 24hrs. People became progressive and catching up with the pace became a norm. There was a drastic shift in the ways things started being observed, implemented and practiced. The scene was altogether different then. Meeting a person living in another village of a same state was a difficult task. Children studying out would come to their home only during the holidays. Distance was not the issue, the means to travel was. Students then were too anxious and excited to read and study but what was not readily available was information, books and content. Gathering information formed the major part of the trouble. Buying meant only a number of products (industrialised) that couldn’t be manufactured at home. Transaction meant in terms of barter system let alone cash. Chatting meant men sitting under the shade of tree discussing politics while playing cards and women gossiping at the ‘choolah’ or while sitting at the verandahs.
Who would have thought that the world would one day dawn in a different make over. The whole world would be viewed from a different outlook. The basic definitions would change. We would have found solutions to the old problems and also found new problems. Shopping, Payment, Chatting, Studying would be all set at a different stage. Everything would be a unique experience much evolved and advanced in its own way. Yeah you can say Life would have become easy and busy both! Honestly speaking to me it seems at times more of “look busy do nothing” situation.
After all what is so great that we have achieved with all so advancement? Let’s have a sneak peek into this. When it comes to connecting with people, what we really do is go click some like buttons, type some comment and then we type some status message which sometimes is a genuine message/wish and sometimes a clear sarcasm which the recipient comfortably comes to know. We are busy scrolling the page up and down finding what is happening in others’ life and the fact is when that person really needs us we might not even be a mile close to him/her. This is how we “connect”. Money, well what is that, is the question I expect my kids to ask me. When I myself have grown used to not seeing money(currency notes) much, I am sure they are even less likely to see it. But obvious, the value of an intangible object goes down. On the other hand money is precious like never before. And we say we have grown wise with such antagonistic viewpoints and outlook.
Shopping once upon a time was a way to get out of the daily chores and find timeout for ourselves from the mundane routine. Eventually we landed up at e-bay, amazon, flipkart, jabong, myntra, etc which give you umpteen choices and price variants. A wholesome shopping experience at wonderful discounts. Above that No travel, no hassle. What else you need. The problem is after it is done we say we are stuck at home. The ‘poor’ us! (pun intended). Leave barter, leave cash payment we are already using virtual payment techniques and mobile transactions like mchek, direcpay, techaloo, etc. And I hope you would have heard of ‘Bitcoins’. That’s it, all the money sometime from now would exist in wires, plastic cards or mobile wallets (e-wallets).
The prerequisite for if you wanted to study early days was to find content itself, arrange for books. It was information starved world back then. But with web and internet, it became information surplus world. With one click you can listen to Nehru’s speech on 15th Aug, 1947. Within seconds you can view various lab experiments performed live. There is a repository of information and knowledge on the web. From discovery to history to politics to art and culture, all is available there. You just need to explore. What you need to do today is filter which info you actually need rather than in getting lost in that world. Such drastic has been the change.
Our pleasantries have become even shorter. A ‘hi’ at the ping or ‘c ya’ at the chat is what we all mean. For all sort of activities what we really stick to is a box in between our two hands with thumbs lifted up in a position to scribble fast. From scribble, I realise another big problem which our generation are going to face is the lack of ability to write. Think! Well, for entertatinment-net, for studying-net, for shopping and payment-net, for seminars/presentation-Skype/Webinar, for catching up with friends-whatsapp. Net, Net and Net all around! We are badly stuck in the VIRTUAL WORLD. Obviously we are so blinded by the merits and easiness of utility of this invention that we seem oblivion of the poor REAL world. One of those times in the history when we are most disconnected and seemingly most connected.
I might seem and sound anachronistic but I am just trying to shake you up to the reality. I solemnly accept and use the benefits of ‘The Virtual World’ but I try put a self restraint time and again. But I ask you Dear Readers, when was the last you noticed a leaf fluttering? When was the last you listened to a bird chirping? When was the last you preferred a sea/river’s sound to metal/pop/jazz? When was the last you sat with your parents spending time with them? When was the last you had a supper with your near and dear ones? When was the last you took time out for him/her to physically realise each others’ presence (probably this you did)? Smile or No Smile; feelings or no feelings, emoticons do all the work. When was the last you felt that ‘The Real You’ doesn’t exist in profile pic or dp as we all call it but inside you which is not visible. As I said earlier intangible things generally loose their value and sheen. Now you can understand how deeply and how viciously we are CAUGHT in this VIRTUAL WORLD. They say no….”Excess of everything is bad” but that is what we are doing to ourselves.
Go, get up; sit together n share the laughter
hang around, do the leg pulling, crack a joke
drop your earphones n listen to the wind
tune to the rhythm of nature
once a while, sit under a tree and sip your tea
hug each other and let the worries flee
Wake Up to the Real world before it takes on thee!
(The writer is a Software Engineer in Chennai)