I would like to disclaim the hold that the net has on our lives – Adyasha Ranbir

“Modems, Internet? What rubbish are you blabbering? This is an STD booth”

Notwithstanding the irony of the fact that this piece of work has used the internet to be where it is now, I would like to disclaim the hold that the net has on our lives.

However Inconceivable  may it seem to fathom a world sans internet, a world where everybody and everything is no longer a single click away, where feelings and opinions have to be confined in old fashioned diaries,the sole confidant and anchor of troubled times, it may not be as unmanageable as we are led to believe. I harbour the opinion that inspite of the rapid strides the internet has made in our daily existence, we wouldn’t be worse off without it. Please Hear me out before having the brickbats and rotten tomatoes coming at me.

When times change, so do the people. Friends, family,peers play a pivotal role in this change. Our world is still governed by the ‘majority rules’ motto. Let me elaborate. There are a sizeable number of us who turned  orkut ,facebook and twitter converts only by virtue of our friends gushing over them. Then it was easy to get caught up in the madness of it all and forget simple pleasures that entailed talking, conversing, meeting in the conventional way or even through a telephone. Personal contacts with friends dwindled to nought and change in the societal norms was nigh.

It’s unarguable that the availability of swift information has made our exertions less and saved us a lot of the precious commodity that is time. Hardly any individual now has the patience or the inclination to browse through three or four dusty volumes of books to get to that single piece of knowledge that lies at his fingertips. This undoubtedly has made the pace faster. But my point is, there was nothing amiss with the slower version. Placidity and tranquillity were the order of the day. People had all the time in the world and visiting libraries was no big an ordeal. Not every second had to be accounted for. All our spare time wasn’t spent recounting our lives on social networking sites and looking for gossip.

For it is nothing short of gossip that pulls people so. It is true that we want to be connected. But we also want minute details of the personal lives of friends and enemies alike.We smirk at the misfortunes of adversaries   , rejoice in the success of others. In a nutshell, we live their lives instead of ours. Our day to day existence transforms into a need to rival the status updates of  those of our friends . Instead of just living our lives, we turn it into a showcase for all to see and judge. Opinions of strangers steadily chip into our self-assurance, their extolment  held in higher regard than it should. We set out to inform of the world of our heartbreaks, our accolades and seek solace and endearments in their empathy. The love and support of our immediate family and friends falls short of our needs and we crave the approval of the entire world.

30 nostalgic photos of manipal 1997 to 2001
The net isn’t indispensable , our way of life is.

Yes, a world without internet as we know it today, is not that dire indeed. I envision a planet where information doesn’t travel with the speed of lightning, but is gathered slowly and surely, through leisurely strolls and long winding conversations. Where libraries and bookstores rule the roost again. Where reading, that does not include audio and ebooks, catches up with the youth. For, in turning the leaves of the old fashioned books lies an incomparable joy, and in acquiring the information we want, we absorb so much more than instant gratification can provide us. A world where our private lives are shared only by our close confidantes, where there is no need to justify our lifestyle to others. Where homeworks and projects are the fruit of our own endeavours and not the result of a hundred responses to our question online. Where dating succeeds nerves, anticipation,courage and joy and not the mechanical meeting of tastes in an online dating portal.

It wouldn’t be too farfetched to say that this world would see the diminishing of anxiety and stress . This need to stay connected all the time induces pangs of concern when a loved one does not check in regularly through a text or an update. People of yore dealt with these same situations, without having to resort to constant updates, and were none the worse for wear. Time spent now in a frantic need to stay in touch would instead be wisely spent in more constructive endeavours.

I realize that I invite scepticism from those enjoying the brisk pace of this world, but don’t you ever stop to reflect that sometimes going forward isn’t the only way. Things can remain the same if we desire them so. The net isn’t  indispensable , our way of life is. And unless we wake up to the scheme of things, we might find our personal computers the sole friends we have and the only entertainment we get. It is time indeed to control and redeem our own destiny.

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