The first cyber café I used to frequent in mid 2000’s, had calendar featuring goddess Saraswati in which the proprietor of the shop used to mark the payments he had to make during the month. It also had three fans, seven bulbs and four chairs. I knew every thing about the place. Not that I was a stickler for details, but there was nothing else to keep me occupied while I waited for the dial-up connection to link to the network. My ears would strain to hear the tones of the modem, my face lighting up at the sound of the first note, which meant that I had finally made it to the World Wide Web from a remote corner of India. The few minutes of wonder about this thing called Internet would be interrupted by painful disconnections and 60mins of surfing would leave you poorer by `100, (Yeah, the last decade also gave Rupee its symbol and it looks really cool!), though you’d hardly seen the banner of your mail site loading during that time.
But that was all before the internet started picking up pace in India we left behind the drip irrigation inspired dial-ups for gushing waters of the broadband. A few years into the millennium and all of us have multiple email accounts, Net identities and favorite portals.
Everyone had a pet hobby, some one liked to chat with total strangers in ICQ chat rooms, and some liked making friends in the farthest corner of the globe.
War is an interesting idea. It has been with u since primordial tomes. But where does it begin? Neuroscience tells us that it does not germinate in the neo-cortex or the ration brain. Our fight-or-fight impulses are driven by the amygdale, the primitive brain we are factory fitted with. The brain does not recognize alphabets and numbers; it can only deal with shapes, sound, color and movement. It was this part of brain the primitive man used to find food, water and shelter. It takes control of emergency situations and also sings a lullaby.
The 20th century produced only one widely used personal device, the pocket calculator. It was a century of neo-cortex. It was a century of math-logical thinking; it could not think beyond add & subtract hence the calculator was the most dispersed technology device. The current century, on the other hand, is going to be led by emotive mind.
The amygdale is the base of all human institution. That is why devices like an Apple iPod do not come with a user manual. You open the box and you simply “get it”. That is also the reason why a tribesman in Cochobamba and a student in MIT like a touch-screen cell phone with the same intensity. In 1929, JD Bernal wrote in The World, the Flesh and the Devil, “There are two futures, the future of desire and the future of fate, and man’s reason has never learnt to separate them.”
Finally, towards the end of this decade, we started maturing into netizens. We are empowered and no longer queue p to pay the power bills. We don’t need to visit the bank as we prefer to do all transactions from secure environs of our homes. We became small-scale travel, agents booking rail tickets and hotels for every one in the family, trying to corner the best air deals and planning foreign journeys on our own. We no longer bother to remember spellings, (that is the reason this Blog of mine has no spelling errors; Thank You MS-Word). We could just Google away our doubts.