CHANGING TIMES

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CHANGING TIMES

By Manas Maisnam

Technology has made our life easier. But among such changes, some basic humane aspects are diluted to a great extent. We are becoming mechanical like a programmed robot. And yes, the bag containing the old letters and cards was kept safely inside the very untidy cupboard again….

Some times back, I was trying to clean up my very untidily kept cupboard. Among bunches of papers, booklets, old cartoons, I found a polythene bag containing letters written to me by my family members during my days in Delhi. They were well written 2-3 pages long letters written by my late father, mother, sister etc. Even I found letters written to me by then fiancé (and now my better half). There were many cards sent to me by my friends, family members etc. on birthdays, new year etc.

Needless to say, my venture to tidy up the cupboard was unsuccessful, leaving my better half all the more annoyed because my effort has messed up the place even more!

On seeing the old letters and cards, my mind went off to an interesting tangent. Who all are writing personal letters now? Perhaps the days of writing long letters using pen and paper are over now. We are now living in a world of emails and SMSes. Shortened words without consideration for grammar or spelling, emoticons etc. are the trend of the day. Sending cards on birthdays, anniversaries etc. have similarly discontinued for all practical purpose. On a friend’s birthday or anniversary, it would be a simple SMS wish. Or at the most, an email with a jpeg picture!

I myself have never written a letter to my sister and her family living at Bangalore for the last 7 years. My usually bad handwriting has worsened over the years because I draft documents (officials or otherwise) directly on computer like many others. Hand-written drafts are also on the path of extinction.

I remember those college days, where on returning to hostel after a tiring lecture session, the first thing we looked at was the letter-board. Finding my letter stuck against my room number filled my heart with a thrill. Opening up the envelope at the confines of my hostel room, I used to read its content in privacy. It was one of the links which connected me to my family members, staying thousands of miles away.

Are today’s students getting such letters now?

On a similar line, getting money through MO or TMO was greatly awaited moment. We used to hang around in our hostel portico and wait for the post-man to arrive. On his arrival, it was a scramble to look for their respective money orders. Some friends who were in desperate need for money, but money order not arrived borrowed money from the post-man, which was to be adjusted later. At an average, sending money from my home took about 5-7 days to reach me. But now, thanks to internet banking, money transfer has become instant. But the expectation or frustration on not receiving money order was an integral part of our student life, which today’s younger generation must have surely missed. An urgent message to home means sending a telegram.

Who can forget the beeline at STD booths to call home at 11 PM (odd hour at Manipur) at one-fourth rate to save call charges? Conversing with family members but eyes constantly on the display screen to see the call charge! But now, mobile phones have made life a lot easier. One can communicate with anyone, from any place at any time. Even from a loo.

In conclusion, lots have changed in this world over the short period of time. Technology has made our life easier. But among such changes, some basic humane aspects are diluted to a great extent. We are becoming mechanical like a programmed robot. And yes, the bag containing the old letters and cards was kept safely inside the very untidy cupboard again.

It is a remnant of my past……

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