I thank IndiBlogger and Vodafone. For they set me thinking of god, saithan, fun and the Internet, all in the same thread. I think the Internet is God, if only because I don’t understand either. Moreover , the Lord, they say, works in mysterious ways. So does the Internet. Our God, we believe, is omnipresent; so is e-mail network. And then isn’t it a godly attribute to produce miracles ? By my book, the dot com can do us wonders.
It had me reconnected with a friend I thought I had lost over 50 years back. The Web facilitated my blog-to-blog dialogue with T R Kini, aging friend , ailing, and living way away on another hemisphere. In our younger days we had spent a couple of years in London of the 60s. Kini is now down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Bound to wheel chair life can be excruciatingly confining. Kini’s window to the world around is his Net connected computer screen. We blogged about the years we spent together, about the Swinging Sixties, our travels overland when hitching rides was the youth’s preferred mode of cross-country travel. My friend Kini, who hitched rides through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey to Paris and beyond, wrote of his vintage experiences in our blog-to-blog.
I re-discovered Irshad via a blogpost I did after watching a movie on TV. Featured in this German movie I recognized a friend I had lost way back in 1960s in New Delhi. We used to meet on a daily basis at Janpath coffee-house. It was quite a thrill, discovering your coffee-house friend on a TV screen.I wanted to get in touch. Googling Irshad Panchatan produced a Wikipedia entry that didn’t help much.So I blogged - Irshad Mia, where are you? It was my way of sending a message in the bottle, hoping my friend, Net browsing, might happen by my blog. He didn’t, but Irshad’s daughter did - find my message-in-the-bottle and conveyed it to her father in Berlin. Internet can be fun, even for those uninitiated into live chat, video games, web streaming and what-have-you. I read about a Vizag-based web-casting agency that streams live a wedding in your family. Sharing a family event live with out-of-town friends and relatives is fun.
Early earthlings worshiped the Sun, the moon, rain and wind. Ancient Greeks had god or goddeses for earth and the sky, beauty and fertility, war and violence. If we have a goddess for fun, we would call her the Internet. Not an unmixed fun, perhaps. For the Internet also serves miliants as an instrument to promote terrorism . Terrorist training manuals in PDF format in German, English and Arabic, were among the digital documents they recovered from Osama bin Laden’s safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Terror plots relating to Mumbai-style attacks targeting European cities, and al-Qaeda road map for future operations were found in digital storage device and memory cards. And mobile phone, far from being a source of fun, can be lethal in the hands of terrorists. Bad guys in movies use cell phone as trigger device to blow up places.
A mobile, going by promos and Vodafone commercials, is no longer used for basic communication by way of a telephoic talk. Instead, it is marketed as a fun, in-thing, with which you listen to music, take photos, play games, send SMS, check mail, and trade missed calls with those you want to avoid talking. Writing on the death of the phone call , Clive Thompson reckons this generation ‘doesn’t make phone calls, because everyone is in constant, lightweight contact in so many other ways: texting, chatting, and social network messaging’.
Gone are the days when we engaged in conversation the people we met at railway platforms , we made friends on travel. In buses, during train travel, we find youngsters into their own trip, meddling with their mobile to check mail, watch video , play games and whatever else they do with that thing in their palms . Even elders on morning walk nowadays seem to have forgotten the old world grace of greeting those walking by, or the art of striking a park-bench conversation with strangers. Instead, we keep our ears plugged in to mobile music mode.
The internet on mobile isn’t just a no-fun thing ; it is unsociable to plug in your ears to a mobile, utterly unconcerned about the happenings around you. If Internet is fun, do we need to have it on call, and round the clock ? In our addiction to the digital kind we may well be losing out on the fun we can stumble on, in real world, at the park, on our way to work. I am all for fun on the Net, but a mobile shouldn’t be so packed in with ‘fun’ features that we lose sight of real point of a mobile - to make/take a call on the move.
The Internet, in my book, isn’t fun on any ‘fone’. And I wouldn’t fault Vodafone, if my post is considered off-topic, for the IndiBlogger contest on ‘How Internet is fun on your mobile’.