Daily Archives: February 18, 2005

The world I have known

It’s quite interesting to note, that the world I have known has changed so much. And all this in a span of such a short time. Now it seems as if I talk of the stone age when I talk of yesteryears. Which was not very long ago.. just about 7 years back. I was still at college then. There were no cellphones. Ok I’ll rephrase that as no one used to sport a cellphone on their person except maybe if they were the Tatas, Birlas, Ambanis, Hindujas. You get the drift. My parents used to call me as often as they could (which would be once a week). At times, they used to book the call through the army exchange. This entailed *waiting* for your call, till the operator would tell you that the call had been connected. It could take the entire day for your turn depending on the call traffic on either end. The girls’ hostel having just one external line, which also had the intercom connected to it, made it an impossible task to get through to anyone. At times I got the call during my classes. The ‘tai’ (hostel maid) used to call us from the class. The person would go bolting like a bunny to the phone and attend the STD call. The STD rates were exhorbitant. Just 5 minutes of a conversation meant parting with one ‘gandhiji’. This also when the rates would be 1/4th, which used to happen at 11pm in the night. We would especially request our warden to let us go to the nearby PCO (which would be a km away) and call home.

Picture the scene now. My mom picks up the cellphone and dials my sister’s cellphone number.(She happened to be studying in the same city as I did). They talk every *single* day. Not only this, they keep calling her to ensure her safety, the entire duration of the train journey that she makes to that place. It was one of my “duties” to reach back and let them know of my safe arrival as soon as possible.

The advancement in technology has changed this world so much. There was a time when I used to write looooong letters to my friends and post them all over the country. (Ahem… They used to wait for letters from Twilight Fairy). Buying greeting cards was a major pastime with me. I would lounge around in card shops spending hours and come out with a huge stack keeping in mind miscellaneous occasions and several people. I would keep my supply of inland letters and stamps stocked. It all slowly came to a fullstop when I started working. Most of my friends had also started working and now they had an official mail id if not a personal one. Greeting cards got replaced by e-cards. Archies? What’s that.. ok, a comic character by that name comes to my mind now.

To withdraw cash from the bank there was a “procedure”. Firstly one could not just get up and go, visit the bank whenever one felt like. There were certain days assigned for cash withdrawal and certain timings. One had to fill in a withdrawal slip and sign it. The passbook (with a not so complimentary picture of you) had to be taken along with it. Once at the bank, one had to go through a huge rush at the withdrawl counter. After waiting for your turn, you would get to a person who would stare at you and then at the picture in your photograph, and ascertain that the person is indeed you. Once this interesting detail got confirmed, they would go through some drawers, finally landing at something you scrawled, but now called specimen signature, indexed somewhere according to your account number, match it with the one you made on the withdrawl slip and *then* sign the withdrawl slip and pass it on to the cash counter. phew.. Again, await your turn, produce your passbook, get it updated, collect the cash and be able to leave.

The scene now – go to the ATM, punch some buttons, withdraw cash and come back in less than a minute.

I am sure at the pace that the world is changing, some day I would just need to utter the word “cash” and it would come flying into my pocket. I dont care where it comes from, as long as it lands in the right pocket. The left one is also ok.