What’s on your BUCKET LIST ?

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“The Bucket List” is a phrase that’s been around awhile but entered the common vernacular in 2007 following a film of the same name, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as two aging and terminally ill men who strike out together to cross accomplishments off their bucket lists – their term for those things they hope to achieve before kicking the bucket.  The idea of reaching certain goals and milestones before crossing life’s finish line is nothing new, really, but now we have a name for it and countless people have embraced the idea since. When was the last time you really wanted to go out and do something ? Something that would make you really happy to accomplish ?

We dream big, plan big, and view the world around us as something to be explored, experienced, and conquered.  We are driven to growth, personally and collectively, and we aspire to greatness as we define it.  But something happens as life sets in.  A great many of us become complacent, simply satisfied with where we find ourselves and without any desire to push beyond.  Contentment is one thing, and we’re certainly not knocking anyone’s contentment if it is well-earned and built on accomplishing goals and dreams. Sometimes we get wrapped up in the daily “to do” lists and forget about doing the things that enrich our own life. Instead of doing the things we want to do, we stick to the things we need to do. A way to accomplish some of these things is to make a bucket list.

To prevent boredom and personal complacency we believe developing a bucket list is extremely important. Getting caught up in the day-to-day grind easily overwhelms and puts us in a type of survival mode where one day looks pretty much like the last, and predicts the next.  There is great power in having hope for your goals to add happiness and an edge to life that otherwise gets suppressed.  Redundancy and the boredom that comes from it creates its own kind of stress that working on a bucket list reduces. Putting our goals and dreams on paper helps define us, teaching us what is really important and clarifying our nature and character.  This might seem silly; of course we know ourselves right ? We’re intelligent, fully actualized adults, in command of who and what we are.  Or are we ? Life is actually a journey, and self-discovery an ongoing process.  A lot of us fall into roles that seem right, or responsible, or just expected of us, without a lot of thought or real insight.  Taking a hard look at our bucket list might redefine what we think our roles should be, or even prompt us to change course or cast off the expectations of others.

Life is very short and time really does fly past us. I am in final year at college right now and I feel as if I just graduated high school yesterday. I have some regrets from my previous years, that I didn’t do all the things I wanted to do. So from now on I am living life to the fullest and creating that bucket list. Along with any items, big or small, I’ll be working to cross off everything on my bucket list! And now some judgemental people might ask “Eh, why the bucket list ?” Because it should be; it’s really that important to collect memories instead of regrets.

So, what’s on your Bucket List ??

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HYPOCRISY: Mother of All Evil

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“Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promises, it costs nothing” – Edmund Burke
…and so goes the ground rule for every election campaign. Be it politics, society, judiciary, or any other aspect of this 21st century community it seems everyone has their own hidden agenda. India is far from perfect with colossal hurdles in all aspect of governance but bear with me when I say that the mother of all evil is none but hypocrisy.

Reality declares honesty is never the best policy and ‘practice what we preach’ is almost obsolete. This situation seems to define corruption in its true form. From the biggest criminal scandals to traffic policing more often than not justice has been given a lucrative coating. Take the Jadavpur police interference controversy; the atrocities committed by the ‘hired’ so called police are a disgrace to face of judiciary that they represent. The government wants to fight and reduce rape; but how will that be possible without even considering post marital rape and even worse, socially derogating the victim for life. If the very people we depend on for safety become unapproachable, then where does the common man seek refuge? This unfortunately does not limit only to governance but even in professions like education and health. From seeking admission in schools to successfully procuring a degree, money before merit seems to be the slogan. One can almost sarcastically claim to be ‘buying’ the preferred degree with distinction than achieving the same. As a child I had the misfortune of coming across teachers who would not appreciate a student’s talent in school unless they are enrolled in their after school tuition. How different is it from purchasing grades. The consequence of this does not end in academia itself as it generates professionals who are completely inept in their fields. At the end of the day their clients are at the receiving end of this malpractice and with it goes down the efficiency of the country. Playing with lives for financially elevating one’s own is seen most prominently in the health field. The conquest for the correct diagnosis is so elaborate, that by the time proper aid is received the patient is already on his death-bed and the family is bankrupt in the process. Here the power of money is not in blame but it is the hypocritical mentality of the people who give fuel to this corruption of such magnitude.

The other demon to social stability and one of the biggest issues of date is the pursuit of equality. I guess one can safely agree that the Indian society can only pursue for equality but never truly acquire it. Be it religion, caste, class, gender and in a more daily level, looks, people will continue to proclaim to propagate equality yet judge those that differ on the same grounds. It is a lie to say that in marital affairs or in voting, caste, religion, creed and class is no longer a matter of concern. It is a lie to say that people no matter their financial status have the same rights when the homeless are not allowed to even enter posh shopping mall. It is a lie to pretend that men and women are equal because here half the country suppresses women while in other half, the men are misjudged and ill-treated in the name of women empowerment and feminism. The theory of equality in our society is by far the issue that is most affected with hypocrisy than anything else. Claiming equal status without eliminating the notion of superiority among the very same citizens is hypocrisy caught red-handed.

Caste prejudice is a plague whose roots delve deep into Indian history and has become equally tough to uproot. The Constitutional policies that dilute this are all-the-more intensifying the contrast. If the same opportunities were given to those truly living a lifestyle devoid of such options then not only would we have had better social unity but also would have gone another mile in eradicating poverty and bettering standards of living but no hypocrisy marks this too as its territory. Another significant field of unfairness is that of religion. Cases like Shah Bano episode and the low pan-Indian representation of Muslims in the government do suggest remains and potential return of the Hindu-Muslim intolerance.

Coming to the issue of gender even though the situation is improving the balance of rights still remain currently the most widely assessed international problem. One can write books on this solitary subject but all I would like to conclude is that both sexes are different but instead of looking down on one another and oppressing each for their weaknesses why not respect their strengths and use each other’s capabilities for the betterment of the human species as a whole. In fact this holds for all people in general. Instill this into the minds of the youths and prejudice would long be forgotten. “All Indians are my brothers and sisters…” well it is high time that the nation matures itself to claim their brothers and sisters as human as themselves. United we stand divided we fall; so let’s learn from history and stop this inequity.

Finally I would like to address an emerging problem of freedom. It is a question to ponder upon that after 67 years from independence can we say that we have the fundamental freedom of speech and of thought? Incidences like the AIB roast reveal a level of hypocrisy in this as well. Ironically, it is ok to verbally offend complete strangers but when done the same on a staged platform for an audience who chose to pay for such entertainment it becomes a big controversy. As I see it insult comedy would soon be made illegal if this continues. Censorship is one thing and restriction of freedom is another. This difference is something that remains to be understood.

Another more prominent is the right to love. India still needs to come out of the closet regarding this. Gay rights being made illegal speaks for itself when I say the society has not evolved mentally as has the rest of the world. Its hypocrisy to hope to reduce rape with the mentality that women are “asking for it” when wearing the clothes of their choice; an hypocrisy that we are all Indians yet call our north-eastern brothers “Chinki”; it’s a hypocrisy to call everyone is born equal, then bias each other not only for those factors I have spoken about but also for their looks, their weight and their complexion.

Remedies of these can only come from changing the mentality of the nation. This cannot happen from the head of state but from the family, the youth. To remain true by word and action and show humanity. As for solutions on the political level, “Caste based affirmative action (reservations) clearly perpetuates an “us versus them” psychology”* which could be modified for better effect. The constitution and laws to be refined and cope with the rapidly changing society to mend the loose ends that make the system hypocritical in so many ways. And lastly to respect the freedom rights of the citizens and not to make promises one can’t keep.
For this governance, is by the people, for the people and, if one thing should change in this democracy, in my view, it should be without a doubt, the eradication of hypocrisy.

Reference:

http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/opinion-india/hypocritical-india/

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YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE

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“Live everyday as if it were your last.” I believe in this quote because life is too short to procrastinate; do the things you want now because there might not be a tomorrow. I know it might be hard to live like this, but I’m sure if you asked a group of older people if they died tomorrow, are there still a lot of unfinished goals that are yet to accomplish, most of them would say yes, and wish they would have done these goals earlier in life. This ideology is like a breath of fresh air in the current hectic and fast moving world. It gives people the liberty to do whatever they want; however crazy it is. This ideology helps people in removing their fears about everything as the followers believe that there is just one life and you must take all the risks because you might not get another chance. Many researchers have claimed that YOLO followers are free from any sort of depression or emotional traumas. Most of the times we see people who have a lot of crushed or suppressed desires and they never get a chance to explore them. YOLO gives you a chance to fulfill all your desires in this very lifetime.

We have only one chance to live this life; it would make much more sense if we live our life on our own terms, instead of thinking about what others want. If you are too concerned about what others said about you in life, you might end up like a clown, trying to make everyone else happy but yourself. Yes, sacrifice yourself for your love ones makes you a hero, however please also remember that your life, it belongs to you. There are times you need to respect and appreciate yourself too. So, don’t forget to give yourself some space and do things which you really want to do. You only live once, make sure you live it to the max. Whether it is learning how to bake a cake, how to ice skate, how to surf, how to speak a new language, trying or learning new things will always excite you. It is a very good way to make friends and also to enrich your life. Besides trying different things in life, you should also try your best in anything you do. One of the best things in life is you can always confront your failure and then conquer it. If you have failed something in the past, be it in losing weight, learning how to make cookies, or anything, you should go back and give your best shot. If you really want to do it and you have started it, then never give up until the moment you succeed.

A lot of people are afraid of getting out of their comfort zone because they are afraid of disappointment or getting hurt. But, come to think about it again, isn’t that life is meant to have up and down? A fall in life is meant to be there to make you stronger. The most important thing is that you always keep the door opened, try out new things, and it will certainly spice up your life. We all have big dreams and it is dreams which fill our lives with hopes. It is amazing to own a big dream no matter how silly it sounds of the others. How the other look at your dream doesn’t matter at all because it is your dream after all. The most important thing is that you make use of every second you have to keep moving forward, marching towards your goal. Embrace change and enjoy your life as it unfolds. Make every moment a meaningful moment.

Feel it in your heart…Be part of something you believe in…Travel to new places…Forget the past; start living in the present…Meet new people…Learn things that fascinates you…Indulge in craziness…Fall in love…Enjoy the beauty of Nature !! Take a look around yourself and recall when was the last time you have a good laugh or yell because of excitement. You will realize that it is the time you spent along with your loved ones or with your buddy. Not all happiness comes with a price tag. There is some happiness which is free, yet are so precious to make you feel it is worth living !!

So, don’t keep calm, because you only live once !!

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FLAGGING INDIA’S LOST FREEDOM

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Dr. S. Radhakrishnan explained about the national flag in the Constituent Assembly which adopted it, “Bhagwa or the saffron colour renunciation. The white colour denoted the light to the path of truth to guide our conduct. The green colour symbolises our relation to plant life. The Ashoka Chakra in the centre is the wheel of ‘law of dharma’. The wheel also denotes ‘motion’. There is life in movement. India must move and go forward”. The Tricolour is a common factor of inspiration for every Indian it is indeed a true expression of pride for our mother land.

It is true that we were once under the British rule, but that does not mean that we will follow all their practices, and eventually end up disrespecting our national flag. Yes, we can definitely express our aggression and anger according to our ‘right to expression’, but that does not mean that we will simply insult our national symbols like the national flag or the national anthem. Some people light-heartedly make cartoons so as to mark it as a satire for our country, but some people are too rigid to take this lightly. There is nothing wrong in presenting our flag in any cartoon, until and unless one is not insulting our national flag. We have our right to express what we feel, and it includes the use of our national symbols also. Yes, we ought to respect our national symbols, but we can take help of the symbols as and when required.

If done properly, there is no restriction on the display of the National Flag by common people, private organisation or educational institutions. Consistent with the dignity and honour of the Flag as detailed in the Flag Code of India, anyone may hoist/display the National Flag on all days and occasions, ceremonials or otherwise. Even Sachin Tendulkar, who is loved by Indians all over the country and the world, was subject to considerable criticism for cutting the cake that represented India’s national symbol. Similar controversy surrounded Mandira Bedi, a popular TV personality, when she wore a saree depicting the Indian Flag for a cricketing event and appeared on live television. Cartoons that play around with the national flag feature quite regularly in a variety of British newspapers like The Sun, The Daily Telegraph. I feel that through the cartoons and caricatures, important, thought-provoking issues are being brought up such as female feticide, caste problems, illiteracy, poverty, government faults etc.

Our Constitution says that the Flag must not be embroidered or printed on cushions, napkins, etc. On the other hand, British flag is allowed to be printed on cushions, and is commonly used as a print on handkerchiefs, caps and shirts. In India, national symbols represent the country’s sovereignty and integrity. For the same reason, it is an established law that you cannot use the national symbols for any purpose, whether personal or commercial, unless you are specifically authorized to do so by the process of law. This show how rigid is the mentality of our countrymen. They usually tend to aggravate even a small issue. The people feel so insecure that we see sedition everywhere, even in a humble cartoon !

 The most impressive rules are that of countries like Norway, Denmark and Japan, where the people allow their own flags to be burnt or caricatured, but won’t stand for it if that were to happen to a foreign flag on their soil. In India, the people are just too over-reactive and sensitive about their belongings, including the National Flag. Especially the political leaders are quite conscious about who, why, when and where is making their cartoons and publishing them. For example, political figure Mamta Banerjee got the Jadavpur University’s chemistry professor behind the bars, because he made her cartoon !! I totally agree to the idea of  throwing satires on these political figures through cartoons, because this is something, I feel personally, that can make them realise what they are actually doing to our country in the name of “Government”. But the leaders unnecessarily bring up the topic of Flag in cartoons, shift the attention and get the artistes locked up !

In this context, the author Dipankar Gupta comments, “It is a fact that India is pretty sensitive towards political cartoons, especially involving the Flag. As we pride ourselves for following the Westminster model, and for being the world’s largest democracy, surely best practices in places like Britain should have been our guide.” Therefore, I personally feel that there should not be any problem in using the national flag for any other purpose, till it is being respected and not misused in any way.

“It is our flag and we all must respect it, love it, and above all fly it”- by Naveen Jindal

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The Mind Machine (Part – II)

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Day 3

Next morning Siri called Irfan and asked if he was busy or not and told him that she wanted to know about that device. Irfan asked her to come to his house. When she came Irfan convinced her to again wear the device and he again connected her to his laptop. He opened MindExplorer, navigated to the mindset directory and opened the.lvr subfolder. But he got shocked by seeing that there is only one fileirfan.lvr and as he tried to open it, the interface showed the ultimate error message, ‘File Corrupted, Unable to Read/Write.’ He simply got frightened about what is going to happen to them.When he was in such a condition, an interesting idea came to his mind. He knew that his friend Niniva used to live with her lover Ankit. Irfan planned to take those two files from Niniva’s brain and after doing some alterations, copy it to Siri’s brain. He stopped the interface, woke Siri up and asked her to return to her hostel as he was feeling very low. Siri went away. Irfan called Niniva and asked her to come immediately. Niniva came and he told her that he has built a new machine and want to test it on her. Niniva got surprised to his proposal but seeing him serious, she didn’t tell anything and agreed to wear that. Irfan easily copied those two files ankit.lvr and ankit.lvr.log to his computer and told Niniva that his experiment was done and she could leave. Niniva couldn’t understand anything why Irfan called her and why he now almost driving her away. However as Irfan had an old reputation to be a little crazy, she didn’t mind too much and went away.

That afternoon Irfan kept himself busy in editing those two files. He parsed the binary one and replaced each entry of ‘Ankit’ with the entry ‘Irfan’. He knew before that these .lvr and .log files don’t store any characterization or image of the person, instead they take those from the .frnd file, whenever it is needed. So he could easily prepare those files. He called Siri and asked for pardon that he was rude with her and asked to come to his house in the afternoon. Siri told that she didn’t mind anything and she will of course come if he explains the device to her. Irfan said, ‘Sure.’

Siri came. He convinced her to again wear that device and successfully transferred those two files. He safely closed the interface and removed the machine from her head. She woke up.

‘Hi’, he greeted her. She smiled.

‘Now tell me how it’s working and what you’ve discovered.’

‘Yeah… Sure.’

Irfan told everything he knew from that machine in brief and she was happy to his great invention.

Now it was dinner time. They had their dinner like every day. Siri told that she was having headache and going to bed and asked Irfan to come fast. Irfan didn’t tell anything. Only a smile of pleasure covered his face that he had finally got rid of his great disaster. He went to bed happily.

Day 12

Irfan and Siri were lazily lying on the bed. Suddenly Siri asked Irfan, ‘Can you remember the name of the hotel where we stayed in Goa?’ Irfan was about to frown. He had never gone to Goa. But suddenly he remembered that Niniva and Ankit went to Goa last month. He heard the name of the hotel from them and it was the Ocean Palms resort. So he readily replied, ‘Oh… it’s Ocean Palms.’

‘Yeah… yeah… now I remember.’ She continued, ‘Irfan, you remember how we enjoyed those evenings on the beach? Wasn’t it nice?’

‘Yea, it was awesome’, Irfan had no other choice.

‘Irfan, Can you remember that … … … …’

‘Yea, yea … … … …’

‘Irfan … … …’

‘Please Siri, I’m feeling very sleepy now.’

———————————————————————————————————————————————

Irfan could not change that .lvr.log file, so he had to agree with Siri about all the things that Niniva had done with Ankit. But it wasn’t a huge pain for him as both Niniva and Ankit were his good friends. He didn’t ever used that machine any more. He and Siri then marry each other after a couple of years and they had an excellent life. Only some times Siri would refer to some incident which was totally unclear to him and that would remind him about his great invention,the mind machine.

The Mind Machine (Part – I)

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Day 1

Finally it is done. The machine is now supposed to work properly. Long and hard days have gone through his life during his last 7 years. Now it is hopefully complete.

Hero of this story is Irfan. He started this long research when he was 21 and in his sophomore days in the Mechatronics course of his college. The idea came to his mind when one day the professor of automata theory class introduced him with Alan Turing’s work on classical automata and proved that machine can’t think. However soon he realised that the quantum computers may think as it need not follow the rules of classical automata. So he readily came to a decision that he is going to build one and started learning about it and soon came to know the stories of failures of the physicists in making the quantum computer. He would get rescued from his idea if he didn’t attend a biotech lecture that his institution had almost forced him to attend. The lecturer claimed that our brain is a quantum computer and nothing but a quantum computer and this is the only thing which makes it possible for human to have emotions like anger, frustration, sexuality etc. Readily he changed his plan to something which was much easier and interesting to implement; it’s a digital interface for human mind.

Now it is complete. The machine is not at all magnificent to look at. It’s just a helmet shaped thing with a thick wire coming out of it which connects to an analogue signal parser which in turns connects to any computer through its USB port. The setup is quite simple! But if what he planned is going to be true, then the possibilities are limitless. It’s a machine that is going to make him the richest person… sorry, not the richest,money can’t do everything, but this machine may make him the most powerful and happiest person in the world… wait, happiness? That another emotion which scientists have already attributed to be a purely quantum phenomenon? O.K, whatever it is, the machine is going to totally change his life and possibly our material world also.

So what the machine does is really simple. It actually shows the directory and file structure of our mind, almost what we see in our computer…may be a little complex. But the most striking fact is that use not only can read one’s mind using it, you can also write something into it or change some data or configuration files to change the mind, in brief, you can hack someone’s mind. Such a machine should immediately get tested but there is only one problem, while the machine is being tested on somebody, he is supposed to be in a state like sleep, which means that he can’t test it on himself. The first testing of this machine is a huge risk as it may cause some serious damage of the mind if it is not programmed correctly. But someone must need to take the risk to bring the machine to reality.

Now let me introduce you to the second character of my story. She is Siri. She was the only person among the classmates of Irfan who didn’t think him a crazy when Irfan first told about his project to make a digital interface of the mind. When others were just laughing at this impossible project, she was his only friend who gave him constant support. In fact, being a computer science major, she also helped him to realize this project in many ways. Now Irfan has just completed his PhD and Siri is also just about to get her degree but still doing her research work, so they live together in an apartment near their University. When Irfan finally completed building his machine, she was not at home. In fact she went to a techfest with some other CS students in another college. She was to return home tonight or tomorrow morning.

Day 2

Today is Saturday and it’s 9 O’ clock when Siri returned to their apartment and Irfan welcomed her with his usual hug and she directly came to his study cum laboratory room to see if there is something new Irfan has done. As soon as she entered to that room she realised that Irfan has probably completed his machine. She took it in her hand and inspected it from every possible direction. In the meantime Irfan came to that room.

‘Irfan, why have you not told me that you have finished building your long waited machine?’

‘Yeah…you’ve just returned home, I’d surely show you.’

‘Anyway, Congratulations…Hope it is working perfectly. Have you tested it?’

‘Not really…’

‘Why??!!!’

‘You should know the reason. Nobody in my institution knows that I was building this and it is not a kind of device I can test on myself. After all you should never forget about the risk if something happens wrong.’

‘Well now I’m here. Now you should not have any lack of guinea pig.’

‘Ha… have your breakfast first and get yourself fresh and eh… it’s not possible, why are you forgetting about the risk? I cannot test it onyou.’

‘Huh? What will happen to me? If something goes wrong then you’ll first fix your machine and then fix me. Isn’t it simple,my great scientist?’

‘Hmm. Get yourself refreshed. We’ll think then.’

Throughout their lazy noon, Siri kept on nagging Irfan to test the device on her. Finally Irfan agreed to try the machine on her, may be his own curiosity was also tempting him to test his new invention as soon as possible.

‘Yeah, sit on this chair and put on the device on your head’, Irfan said to Siri.

She did so and Irfan began to set up the device, connected it to his laptop and opened the interface,MindExplorer. As soon as he pressed the ‘Connect’ button, Siri lazily closed her eyes and started to breathe slowly. Readily she went to a state somewhat like sleep, just as expected.

‘Conscious Entity Connected Successfully!’ a popup message appeared on the screen. A smile of success appeared on the corner of his lips. He opened theroot directory, to his astonishment there were only three folders –config,data andmindset. He kept on exploring all of these folders, their sub folders with great interest. The files inconfig folder was written in something like binary format, but not exactly the same. He fiddled around them for a while but couldn’t understand anything. He opened themindset folder and there he found some subfolders named in a peculiar way like- .frnd, .lvr, .acq etc. He opened the.frnd folder and found lots of files with .frnd extension. He read the names of some of these files and readily understood that those files do nothing but correspond to the friends of her. He examined those files and understood that those are some special kind of zip file and contain images, memories, event logs and many other things related to that friend. He felt satisfied that he has been able to understand at least one mechanism of mind. But there was something even more in store for him.

He opened the.lvr folder and saw with great amusement that there was only two files– irfan.lvr andirfan.lvr.log, from his just previous experience, he soon understood that the.lvr files represents her love life, i.e. corresponds to her lover’s name. He opened the file irfan.lvr and saw some awfully looking binary expressions which forced him to close it. He opened the .log file and it was somewhat readable, looks like an inventory file, which seemed to him to contain all the incidents and feelings of their love life. He got a nice taste of success upon this great revelations. He was so excited to say all these discoveries to Siri that he suddenly removed the device from her head to wake her without disconnecting the interface from his computer. An alert message ‘Data Synchronization Failed!’ appeared on the screen but he hardly cared about it.

He removed the device from her head. She opened her eyes slowly and looked at him. It took some time for her to again come to the reality.

‘Hey’, Irfan called her.

She replied, ‘So your device is working perfectly?’

‘Yeah… It’s working great. Just wait a minute, I’m telling you everything that I’ve just discovered. Aren’t you hungry?’

‘Ha… somewhat.’

‘I also, let’s have our dinner first.’

‘Sure’, she nodded and went to the dining room.

They finished their dinner with some light chatting and excitements of success. After the dinner is over, Irfan was just about to begin to tell her all the things he had just discovered.

‘Irfan, it has been quite late tonight. I’ve to leave now. Please don’t mind, I’m also very eager to hear these but I’ve no way. I’ll surely come to you tomorrow morning and listen to all of these’, She said.

‘What? Where are you going now?’

‘Why? In my hostel. If it is late I might have problem to reach there.’

‘What? You are going to your hostel. But why? I can’t understand.’

‘Ha… it seems that you don’t want me to sleep tonight.’

‘Why? Are you mad? If you are fatigued you can go to sleep now. Who has forbidden you?’

‘Oh… that’s why I’m going to hostel.’

‘What? Where do you normally sleep? Where did you sleep yesterday? In your hostel?’

‘I was in my techfest trip.’

‘Ohhh… forget about yesterday. Where are you sleeping for last one year? Is it in your hostel?’

‘No… I mean, it now seems to me that I spend my nights in your apartments… but why? I mean, why will I sleep in your apartment?’

‘Because you are my …’

‘What? We are just friend. Have you gone mad, Irfan? What are you saying these?’

Irfan immediately realised that Siri have had some problem in her brain and its cause was not also unknown to him. He removed the device from her head without stopping it from his computer. He was clueless about what to do. In the meantime Siri left his house and went away.

(To be continued…)

Digital Intimacy

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Comparing the time before 20th and 21st century, one of the prime differences in communication we find is that in this century there is no excitement and curiosity in receiving the news of our near and dear ones. Prior to the digital age, the notion that communication fosters a healthy relationship most commonly referred to the traditional offline communication, whereby couples maintained intimacy primarily through face-to-face communication. Technology, no doubt, supports lives, jobs and education and its advantages are simplicity and convenience. The cell phones and laptops are convenience, because every time we want to connect to somebody, we can easily do it anytime. The difference between 20th and 21st century is that our lives now are more dynamic, and we depend a lot on technology.  I am mindful that technology itself is never the reason things change, and I strongly support this notion. Rather, it is how people choose to apply technology — and whether they make wise decisions and address real needs — that makes the difference in the long run. However, just like everything has its own merits and demerits, technology has its own boons and banes.

One of the biggest conveniences that we get from digital technology is the access to internet. Through internet, we have the ability to search and find different information that we need. Another advantage of technology is that through technology deaf and dumb people have connected with everybody. They have special mobile phones, iPads and computers which allow them to be a part of the society. They can have friendship with people from all over the world, and they don’t even feel isolated from the world. There are many “matrimonial sites”, which not only connect people, but in many cases bound two people and their families for life-time in the auspicious thread of marriage. For example in Ravinder Singh’s book, “I Too Had A Love Story”,  he shares his personal experience of how he met his fiancé through a matrimonial site, and fell in love with her. They did not even meet each other until a few days ago before their engagement.

The disadvantage of technology, especially of internet, is that one can create a virtual world of their own, with virtual friends from “Facebook”, “Twitter” and “Skype”. But the internet and cellphone obsession can lead us in a wrong way, because there is a possibility for us to think only about the life on internet world, forgetting the people around us, dismissing our family, career and our responsibilities. Moreover, using the new technologies, we have stopped talking face-to-face, and believe in written messages and texts. I think this fashion to write texts develops a distance between everybody and the new generation will have a very new way of communication, let alone the increasing cases of cyber crime, suicides, and unnecessary misunderstandings due to fake accounts on social networking sites. Taking a look at technology’s affect on romance, we see that technology is “completely degrading” the way we communicate romance. Given all the information that exists about each person online – from their Facebook profiles to Twitter updates, technology leapfrogs couples three months and has made the blind date practically obsolete. Online information complicates romance. It may be helpful to research potential dates and get the skinny on them before meeting them face to face, but it can also sets up expectations. And these expectations, if not fulfilled, lead to problems, crime and even suicide. Basically, the relationships in the present 21st century has become behind the screens of PCs and mobile phones. People are sometimes in relationship with people whom they have met over networking sites and might have talked over the phone, but have never met each other in real time.

Highlighting a research by Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary anthropology at Oxford University, he said that according to “Dunbar’s Number” human brains can really only handle 150 friendships. But on the contrary, we have hundreds of virtual friends on the social networking sites. Dunbar initially came up with this number in the 1990s, but recently repeated the research to consider social networking sites. You may have 1,000s of friends, but according to that research, you can only have meaningful friendships with a much smaller group. (Incidentally, Facebook says that the average user has 130 friends.) But as for how technology is changing work relationships, though people are working longer hours because of technology, workplace satisfaction surveys indicate that people are actually happier because they have more flexibility.

 It is obvious that technology will continue to develop, and we will be more and more dependent on them. We should support the newest gadgets and software, and use them very careful, because they sometimes can work against us. It is within our power to determine whether this generation is to experience the rewards of self-discovery, a higher quality of life, and a renewed sense of community that derive from an interactive sharing of information and knowledge. If we make that leap, and ensure that every citizen has access to the Internet and the chance to learn the skills to apply these new technologies for personal advancement as well as the common good, we can make a successful transition to the millennium. If we fail, we may leave a legacy smaller than our own inheritance.

References

  • Facebook ruined my marriage-digital intimacy interference on social networking sites (by Lynessa M. Williams)
  • Reaserch paper of dr. Robin Dunbar on “Dunbar’s Number” (Oxford University, 1994)

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