Monday, 27 October 2014

How much I wish I were not a Luddite!

I was a nerdy kind of a guy by the end of engineering when it came to my brush with the latest technology. I was the kind of guy who used to rip apart my age old Pentium 3 with a whopping 192 MB extended RAM just because a tutorial suggested some weird pin configuration, I was also the kind of guy who after occasionally playing with XP skins went on to try all kinds of Linux dixtros. Alongside, I had a happy Nokia 2600 and life was mirthful and full of joy when it came to technology. Any new accessory brought that jubilant feeling alongwith it and my first usb data dongle was a smash hit(well for me at least!). For someone who moved from a 56K dialup in 1999 to such astonishing speeds that were now accessible from anywhere, life was more like an Elysium. I embraced every rapid advancement and I welcomed every move on the microprocessor market which was rabid with a host of announcements by that time. It was more like a nirvana, getting so much in so less, getting happy people shop for their stuff in the nearly venerated Nehru Place and the nearby Laxmi Nagar markets. And then suddenly, as if to vanquish my dream of mellows, came the era of tabs and smartphones. 

Those wonderful days
The world had a surreal attitude full of utter turgidity, with all kinds of modern cultures evolving around the use of these new devices. Selfies went on to become a cynosure, but there were many things that people started doing with their devices. Like ravenously watching some video on their literally larger than life tab even while taking an escalator and then nearly tipping off with no one around them to hold their hand because even the persons behind were engrossed in the brilliant effulgence of the tiny device. I couldn't bring up a number on how many casualties were reported with this cause but there would be many. What's more, initially this penchant which belonged to only a few, went on to become a passion for everyone as rates went going down and older devices had to go to someone. Markets expanded, consumers became more savvy, and I always lacked pace to catch up with the enigma. When asked why my smartphones(which wouldn't qualify in that category for many) appeared so squalid and laggard, I would stumble and regurgitate and come up with the reasoning of not wanting intrusive forces to take over my life. People found it too arcane and maybe and went back to a nearby store to buy another latest model to extenuate their bad mood on the disrespect my sore comments meant for the entire world of tabs and smartphones. 

The crowd that is increasingly shrinking
To avoid prevaricating again, I had to learn about the new phenomenon even though people were living it by now. The latest models, the latest launches, the latest announcements, the new entrants. I soon realized that except for some features, other parameters remained pretty much the same as for PCs. Although I never found focus on a L3 cache or processor performance being measured in flops. But sooner than I thought, I gleaned enough from online portals what processor is in, what model is selling bizarrely or what blemish a latest model has. And then I even expanded my horizon to tabs, the nascent phablets and all that argot that was a part of public parlance was still with me. But my smartphone(which still didn't qualify as one. Actually I still owned the same model) remained recusant and refused to leave me so easily. Actually I found it so hard to leave tech stuff that I still keep an old IDE 10 GB hard disk that had to be later replaced with a 40GB model just because the 10GB model had the look and a bravado of its own. So how could I let go of a phone? Never! But Alas! Technology struck again and the latest upgrade of WhatsApp(Which my smartphone, okay I wont call it one again, barely managed to run) left my unit incapable of running it anymore. Now WhatsApp is a desideratum, the last barrier between those who are normal and those who are recluse. So I finally had to budge and get what would finally qualify as a smartphone.

My enemies will do anything. Anything!
I spent a month making the final decision, dithering every now and then, seeing the looming trouble by spending more than 7k and still foreboding the trouble of making a historical investment which may fall out. So I was wary, apprehensive and I knew very well that I'm neither the bourgeoisie, nor the proletariat and hence my range would fall in the middle. It did and I could even hear the cash register rattle, even though I bought it online. I knew I'd manage how to use the device. I had years of simulated practice and I had sometimes dreamt of being able to do all on a smartphone which I did on the best PC available 3 years ago. Even though that best smartphone of its era would have costed me a portion of the bone marrow or maybe a kidney. So I knew that I may actually be entranced by the new device and be stuck in a never ending labyrinth of believing I was the boss and actually being a lackey. But courage and determination to get in the contemporary crowd, I had aplenty. I'll no longer have to keep up appearances, and now I would flash a unit of my own, so what if that in front would be far more superior. I could smell victory but humph!

Realities always jostle you up and so it happened again. My dream of blending in without a hitch, my long awaited entry into the sacred coven, all of that got quashed away. People had moved from one smartphone to two, both of which costed more than plots on moon, and some of them usurped my attempt of breaking in by having a large tablet on top of that. People also kept power banks like garrisons defending a post before actual military reinforcements arrive. The dynamics had changed as people still had the same money(economy just came out of a blenching, remember), but maybe these guys finally did sell their kidneys and marrows and traded their eyes on a future or a derivative. They raced past me again. Yes, they look frail and morbid. Who wouldn't after donating body parts while alive? But they fended off my attack on their impregnable fortress. They were seditious and they set my claims on fire, knowing I would never try again. Gnawing and agape, I stare at how many bags they carry to put in those devices, how they let go of that dream house down payment by sticking with a gadget instead, and how they won their joust against me. And all I'm left with after this humiliating defeat, is that same 1999 PC, a 2003 IBM laptop which IBM themselves would denounce as they sold off their hardware division and they hate it now, and some new age gadgets which were either outdated when I brought them, or went so after another day or two. How much I wish I were not a Luddite!