Keeping up with the Times

7 Jun

I think keeping up with the times has hit me. I’m slowly beginning to really feel the challenge of trying to keep up with the times. Just so I know we’re on the same page, when I say “keeping up with the times”, I mean keeping up with technology and the so called frills that come with it.

Before I actually begin this post in its earnestness, I must claim (more to bring my ego to reality than anything else) that this post could most definitely make one feel old and maybe ancient too. The ego (because a student of psychology hides behind the convenience of that than the term “self”) must be placated because listen life, no matter how much you tell me, I’m not that old just yet. So you can take your generational gap load and dump it somewhere else for the time being.

I wasn’t born in the age of computers, not in my country at least. I was born in the age of sepia; not black and white or colour just yet. But my generation would obviously get there eventually, right? I was born at a time when we had television channels we could count on our fingers, where private television companies were still ideating and putting their marketing strategies together in board rooms or while watching DD (the set of national channels); whichever. I was born in a time when point and shoot cameras, video-cassette players (VCPs), video-cassette recorders (VCRs), audio cassettes and sugar candies in the form of cigarettes were trending, if I can attribute a word such as that to a time such as then. Rage would be more apt, I think. I was born in a time when walkmans (?) were a luxury, meant to be had only once you’d earned the right to actually need time to isolate yourself with music meant for just your ears only. That would be during my teenage years. I was born at a time when having pen pals was the thing and that was the only medium through which one could interact with strangers. Writing letters was a weekly routine, as were sending birthday and all the best for your exam cards to every family member a habit. There were piggy banks that jingled with coins. There were pouches of minute 10 paise, flowery shaped 20 paise and thicker 50 paise coins which I thought I’d grow rich collecting. Long distant calls evolved from tedious trunk calls over static lines to STD calls; both of which elicited the loudest conversations ever. One always spoke as loudly and as fast as they could; calls were expensive and conversations with family were never enough, but rationed.

There was a sense of connectedness even before pagers and bulky Motorola mobile phones arrived. Having a computer then involved spending time on MS Paint or over games of Hearts and Solitaire. And Minesweeper when I randomly felt like getting bombed. I learnt that game only a few years back. People kept to their word, gatherings happened at times stated and no one ever “wasted” anybody’s time.

We’ve come a long way since then. And India’s still got a long way to go in many ways, but we’re getting there I guess. I now live in a time when I have too many accounts everywhere, too many passwords to keep track of, too many applications to keep my life in this world constantly moving. I believe in the philosophy of moving forward because I think it’s necessary to survive. It’s just as simple as that to me. I think it’s important to keep up with the times because everything has a way of functioning in waves, cycles, phases. And it’s not a pretty feeling to get left behind. This has nothing to do with being right on top of everything or even about who’s ahead with the times. It’s about making that paradigm shift where placating and helping oneself change and adjust with every passing generation and its bandwagon of developments is required. Change we all can because we’ve been handed over the cognitive and survival faculties to. Whether we want to and the extent to which we want to remains a personal choice at the end of the day.

I feel tired thinking about the platforms we have today and the places we need to really be at to be seen, noticed, understood and accepted. It’s amazing if someone can make it on their own with credibility minus the platforms people and technology provide them with. How amazing and liberating would that be? It’s an age where social media of every single kind, whether mobile or otherwise, has become the primary catalyst that catapults us to the places we want to go to. It’s a thing to be on Facebook, Twitter and a million more not because you necessarily want to but may have to. It’s intimidating. It’s chaotic. And it’s difficult to deal with. The thought of being at so many places is exhausting. And don’t even get me started on finding usernames and putting passwords together.

So while I’m on GoodReads, Quora, Instagram, Flickr, Evernote, Flipboard, Skype, not to mention Facebook and Twitter, I still feel like I’m way behind. There’s always something new everyday and suddenly keeping up with the times is turning out to be more tedious than I thought technology would make it to be. I guess there never will be enough and if such a time were to ever arise, my generation would be long gone thankfully.

In the meantime, this diaspora-like feeling of being in between this migratory phase is something one just has to deal with at some point. Whether that happens with the help of technology or the process of allowing change and relearning from within is something that will happen only when we decide to step on Time’s magic carpet ride even if eventually.

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