After a classic south Indian lunch, consisting of the succulent digits of the noble fairer gender, the tangy vatha kuzhambu, a crunchy crispy beetroot poriyal and all these complemented by the omnipresent curd it was time to ponder.
Ponder whether to resort to an always welcome afternoon siesta or advising an unsuspecting child on the importance of hard work or to muse on the humanity in general. Well no marks for guessing.
I remember the typical school day. The school used to be over at 1.00 pm and my friends and I were back at home by 2.00 pm. Most of us used to somehow spend the next three hours by shamming sleep, or actually do our homework. At 5.00 sharp we used to get out of the house and assemble at the pre-ordained location in the neighborhood and play and do nothing till 7.00 pm when the darkness was threatening to set or more likely our fathers were in from the work and slip in our respective houses. Life I suspect was simple. If one of us was absent we knew why. Someone amongst us would have gone the absentee’s house and figured out the reason.
Then Alexander spoilt it. You may not be aware but he invented the telephone. Then we were no longer shamming sleep or for that matter doing our home work. We got on the telephone and kept talking to our friends much to the consternation of our parents. Of course many of us still belonged to have-nots. The telephone however slowly but surely changed the life much like Longfellow’s Windmill. The 70’s and the 80’s shows on the television depict numerous situations of Al being called upon over the phone at Joe’s Diner by his friend Will.
That wasn’t enough. What happened next put even the Longfellow’s Windmill to shame. Enter the mobile. There was this well-known women’s college opposite to the place where started working and it was the telephone no-mobile era. Scores of dour looking chauffeurs in their cars waited patiently out the college to take the girls back home after college without the freedom they yearned for. The concerned parents did not want their wards gallivanting around he city blocks after college. Then something interesting happened. The girls were given mobiles. This was interesting because the boys in general actually got their mobiles at bit later than the girls. The parents were more worried about the whereabouts of the girl child. So, even when the mobile cost structure was such that the incoming calls were charged, the mobile were made available to the girl child. So what happened? The dour drivers no longer waited doggedly at the college gates. The girls now called home when the college was actually over and the drivers were available just in time to pick them up. A JIT planning with a difference. Things were going on well till something unexpected happened. The mobile was a great way to be in touch but it did not tell anyone where the owner of the mobile was! So, when a cool join to hang out came up two kilometers down the road, the girls happily came out the college (remember no dour drivers doggedly waiting) hung out, returned to the college and then called up home – “My classes are over now. Can you send the car?”
So much for close monitoring. By now of course the mobile became cheaper, easy to get, affordable to use, prepaid/postpaid options etc etc… Everyone had a mobile. Who was making money? A called B. B did not pick up the call. A left a voice message or sent an SMS. B later called A. Now A was busy. So B left a voice message. The phone company was making money all right.
We all want to know what others are saying. It does not matter where they are. Facebook will eventually tell us that. We are used to leaving signposts such as Facebook pokes, SMS and email messages. All I am now waiting for is to use the transponder. Beam me up Scotty!+