Monday, February 04, 2013

Modern day Slaves

This is my first attempt at writing a blog post on my tablet. There are just too many gadgets all around us nowadays.
Our television is playing in the background - it always is as soon as I get back from work. We don't really watch anything seriously - we mostly flip channels, I catch a few snippets of some football matches on the sports channels once a while, catch a few headlines on news channels - flippant, nonchalant time pass - but it's on nonetheless.
On most days I spend umpteen hours on my laptop at work and often on coming back home, I spend a little more time surfing on my personal laptop - paying bills online, checking statuses and snaps of friends & family across the world, going thru my G-Mail inbox and mostly deleting umpteen unsolicited e-mails.
On the way to and from work, I connect my mobiles to my Bluetooth enabled devices to basically extend my office environment into my car as well. Once in a while, I also use mobile car chargers to keep my mobiles going.
And as for mobile phones, they are becoming more and more intrusive. With smartphones thriving all around, it is the first thing that I use in the morning (desperately trying to turn off an irritating new alarm app) and the last thing at night (checking a few messages on Whatsapp) and anytime thru out the day when I get some breathing time (checking out SMSes on my way up the escalator at office) etc. and yeah, it's my personal phone. The official one rings so much that at times, I can hear it ringing in my ear even when I am fast asleep.
There is a PS3 on which I have hardly ever played anything, although I make plans almost very other weekend; a MP3 player which I use at times for my jogging even though I have more songs on my mobile and I could have jolly well used the mobile only; a music system on which we keep thinking that we will hear our collection of CDs and cassettes, but end up mostly listening to the same inane repetitions of songs played by RJs on radio channels....
And to even think that I was even contemplating buying a SMART TV!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Childhood – Then and Now

When you think of it, we had a very different childhood from the ones that kids of today, are experiencing. And as I pen down that line, I am amazed at the length of time that has passed, at the enormity of the differences that have cropped up in the childhoods of then and now and also, at how things remain the same, the more they change!! Indeed, when I was young, my Maa would speak of her childhood with the same prefacing comment – “We had a very different childhood” and her descriptions would seem scarcely believable. I am sure that Gurhgurhee would feel similarly, when I speak of mine.

But amongst all the other things that have changed – and there are plenty – the most disheartening, I think, is the slow disappearance of the bonhomie and the accompanying fun and frolic with the wider family.

I grew up in Kolkata and we had many cousins around. The wider family was more or less concentrated in and around Bengal and East India and many would be in Kolkata. Meetings and get-togethers were frequent and there would be many opportunities for the younger lot, like me, to have fun. The fairly regular visits to Patna were the highlights of our holidays and the occasional visits from Mejo Jethumoni and family, from Bombay or our vice-versa trips, would be more eagerly looked forward to, than anything else in life.

Dada used to have so many posters of sportspersons & superheroes stuck on the walls of his room - his stories of Mike Tyson and Clive Lloyd and his interest in comics from Phantom to Flash Gordon to Captain America, rubbed off on me too. Weekend visits to Baromashi’s place at Garpar would be so much fun – if there is ever a place that I would associate with constant hustle and bustle and the unfettered fun that children so crave for, then Garpar would be the place. We would never want those visits to be over J

Afternoons at Pishemoshai’s place in Mahendru, devouring all available Enid Blyton books of Rintu Didi’s (and what fun they used to be, with their odd titles – Rub-a-Dub, Rat-a-Tat and what not); Didi visiting us at Salt Lake and writing down lyrics for the songs of Sound of Music [I still remember – she wrote – “Doorbells and sledge bells and something with noodles” – and I still don’t know that missing word ;)]; Kolaghat at Mejo Mashi’s place – my first ever outstation trip without my parents – always outdoors with Bapi Dada and playing so many sports - and tasting those heavenly Chilli Chickens and Roomali Rotis that Mejo Mashi used to make with such aplomb; my earliest hazy memories of Bhagalpur, riding pillion with Chhotomama and Shejomama and wandering around in the gardens – so many of the memories that make up the montage called childhood in the mind, invoke cousins, Aunts and Uncles.

Today alas, children have fewer cousins, they meet them far too infrequently to develop any lasting bonds and we, ironically, have become far too inward looking and self-centred in an age when the world is supposed to be coalescing.

Guess, I must give my parents and my Uncles and Aunts and everybody of their generation, a lot of credit for giving me a childhood, with so many memories to cherish.