Being a day dreamer of an advanced level, I let loose my mind to wander around the universe and travel back in its place. Nothing unusual about it since I have been practicing this for almost a decade. It is when bizarre thoughts occur and unimaginable visuals start floating around. A lot of “what if” and “how about” start flashing and it is in moments like these that standing on the moon and staring at planet earth from there also looks possible. In one of such day dreaming moments, it suddenly occurred to me what would happen if a superpower wipes off from planet Earth it’s most powerful tool: Internet. What would happen if we were to wake up and discover Google does not exist anymore and Internet explorer is reduced to a mere blue logo. Search engine becomes a phrase and departs to rest in heaven. Already feeling a lump in the throat. Who would have imagined life sans Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc that have become the lens through which we view the world. And without the infinite in your face information available just a click away. I choked on this one. How do we stay connected with our loved and not so loved ones. The not so loved ones are the friends we’ve “added” in years, the ones that “follow” and “like” us and an assortment of colleagues and “less than friends but more than colleagues” people who although add no value to our lives but nevertheless keep us busy. Being busy is good I read somewhere.
So now we only get to call people or SMS them. The long neglected messaging service is resuscitated which for the longest time had become a broadcaster of all sorts of unwanted pesky texts. And the range is interesting. From acne treatment to weight loss in 5 days, from buying affordable housing to availing just one more loan for the bank’s sake, it has everything to offer. Variety is the spice of life I was told once. Since it is herculean to call or message all of our approximately 500 friends daily to discuss inconsequent matters, we find ourselves limited to being in touch with immediate family and friends. Now these are the friends we’ve made and not added in years. Initially we find ourselves at a loss of words since expressing oneself earlier was mainly done in shortened English laden with smileys and symbols. Worst is, it wasn’t even grammatically correct always. Now meaningful conversations take place and we sort of start liking it. The charm of the 90’s is brought back when the world didn’t need to know if one was going on a holiday to Bahamas or to a movie in the nearby theatre. When our dear fathers were the most authentic source of information and connecting with friends meant yelling their names to come out to play. When hobbies included reading real tangible books and wedding and anniversary pictures were one of the most prized possessions not meant for publishing. Virtual wasn’t real and real was all that mattered.
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Ofcourse there will be significant inconvenience and life will be disrupted since we’ve long forgotten to exist without worrying about remaining data in phone and wifi in vicinity. To be fair, the news that earlier travelled around the world at lightening speed now reaches us a little late. And millions world over sustaining from platforms such as YouTube will surely be thrown off guard. But not that it was always this way, so they will figure it out. Or so I believe!
As hard as it may be to imagine a world without internet, the fact is that such a world existed and for millions of centuries. Where it was created to bring people closer for collective evolution, it is now a source of image construction or deconstruction. An image which is sometimes hard to reconcile with the actual.
What can I say? Frankenstein’s monster has been unleashed and it is here to stay. I wish sometimes we could all pretend it is 1990.