I am a lavish spender and user when it comes to Internet, since the days in mid-nineties when a 10 min surfing would cost you 70 bucks (not that it does not cost this much today, it actually does, in Calcutta airport - 85 bucks/10 min - but that's another story, I digress) and when sending an email to someone in Bombay would cost less than sending an email to someone in London :). I had always managed my way to the front of the queue, get to the computer with the best connectivity and convinced the cafe owner to download the latest version of rediff bol for uninterrupted chats (yahoo messenger was bad even in those days!). From surfing the net using set top boxes and on a TV to one of the first users of those datacards back in early 2000, I have always prided myself in my 'zeal' to stay 'connected'.
Little did I know, how the Internet would silently but very effectively rob me off my sparingly available but systematically dispersed grey cells.
Cut to circa 1994, a four-year period of rushing back and forth from college at every drop of a hat. We were hostelers and lapped at every opportunity to visit home, be it sudden decision of the batch to bunk classes for durga puja, holi, chhat puja or the plague. We would head to the good old reservation counter at the station, fill up the form, stand in a serpentine queue, chat through the innumerable 'system down' time, 'lunch' time, finally reach the counter after good four hours to realise that it's a Wait List ticket, 147 to be precise. In college days, you don't have the choice of AC or first class, it is the plain old second class sleeper. So what do you do? You prepare, you know the alternate trains, you know the connectors, you know the train numbers and you make part bookings. You even know the counters from where you get reservations for different legs of your journey.
Cut to circa 2011, realised reaching the station that my train was cancelled. I was asked to go to another station to book tickets and catch a train leaving in next one and a half hour. Rushed to the other station, lost my way around, managed to approach all the wrong counters, messed up filling up the forms, learned that yet another train was cancelled, had no clue of what was the next best option, finally ended up going to the right counter only to know that the train leaves in 15 minutes (yes, when you book from the comfort of your home, you forget that there is a huge board showing train timings at the station as well) and hence online booking is closed. I returned home, comforting myself that I will log in to makemytrip and buy plane tickets to my destination...sigh, the thought was such a relief!
To be very frank, I have lost a lot to the boon of Internet! I cannot think on my feet, I cannot decide in a split of a second and believe me you, I would fail miserably if I were sitting on that coveted American Prez chair, and my Home Secretary were eyeballing me 'It's time Sir, approve the nuclear attack,' as I would invariably say, "Google please."
Let's not get that far! Today, I book my cinema tickets from home, if I do not get a good seat in one theatre, then I look for better seats in other theatres on other days. Leave me in front of a ticket counter, with a branded queue expressing their dissatisfaction at my indecision and I cringe. I fail to decide whether to choose a right aisle seat, if left aisle is unavailable, I fail to opt for the next best show, if tickets are unavailable for this one.
Cut to Circa 1995, I would have known the next show timings, booked tickets for the same and would also book tickets for another show to kill time in between. All good seats, and mind you all within the two minutes that you are allowed at any counter. Today, I pine for my laptop to help me decide...sigh.
From tickets to recipes, from the best stores to the best movies to watch, from the best gossip to playing bridge, I depend on Internet, I am at loss when I face the reality, I cannot (and a voice inside me tells 'must not') cook a decent dish anymore without checking the Internet nor 'am I sure if a certain 'Kumkum Kundapathy' is truly an old friend unless I check their profile on facebook.
I, hereby, humbly declare that my intelligence, my wit, my knowledge, my smartness have all been adversely effected by the Internet. Even the blog that I am writing - I cannot finish at one go - I have lost the capability to write fluently - you see this blogspot 'autosaves', so I take my own sweet time.
*Disclaimer: I use Internet to check spellings and whether the sentence construction is correct. I take no responsibility of the same.