Tuesday, March 19, 2019

No more waiting, for anything

FOR BUS

* All my school and college life, I lived in the Sainik School campus. It is near a village called Chandavila, about four km from the small town of Kazhakootam, and 30 km from the city of Thiruvananthapuram, in Kerala. If I had to go to the city, I had to rely on just one bus that came from a place called Kattayikkonam and passed through Chandavila. It plied just three times a day: at 7.30 am, 2.30 pm and 5.30 pm. If I had to go to the city, I had to wait for this bus.

Now, no more waiting. There is a public transport of a different kind (called Uber Share or Ola Pool), which picks me up from wherever I am and drops me wherever I want to go.

FOR NEWS

* I was a news freak right from my school days. My portable transistor radio was my friend. Listening to news gave me a picture of the world that we live in. Every day I waited for news thrice a day: in the morning, afternoon and night, to know what's the latest. Listening to the BBC World Service news at 7.30 am, 1.30 pm and 8.30 pm, and the All India Radio news at 8.15 am, 2 pm and 9 pm, was a part of my daily life, for as long as I can remember. Besides this, I had to wait for the morning to read a newspaper.

Now, no more waiting. The newspapers, radio and television are all on the palm. Always there are at least a dozen news apps on my phone. The latest news arrives with a beep, as and when it happens. (Anyway, I can't wait now, since tracking news is a part of my job.)

FOR BOOKS

* I enrolled as a member of the British Library in Thiruvananthapuram in 1980. (It closed down in March 2008.) Members were allowed to borrow four books and three magazines for a period of 4 weeks. So, I had to wait for a month to borrow and read a new set of books, and newspapers and magazines like The Times, The Telegraph, The Economist, The Spectator, and The New Statesman.

Now, no more waiting. There are multiple bookstores (Amazon and Flipkart to name just two) of millions of books on my phone. I can buy any one of them at any time of the day. There is a library of a different kind (called Kindle Unlimited on Amazon) that lets me borrow 10 books at a time for any number of days for a fixed annual fee.

FOR TV SERIALS

* Till the early 1990s, India had just one television broadcaster, called Doordarshan (a government-owned one) for the whole country. It showed movies, but one once a week; later it became one a day; and television serials, but again one a day, at 9 pm. There were great serials like Nukkad, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, and Hum Log. But I had to wait for a week to see the next episode.

Now, no more waiting. Successive episodes of all serials are on the phone and can be watched one after the other on Netflix and Amazon Prime. So much so that we have something called binge watching.

FOR ELECTION RESULTS

* We had to wait for three to four days to know the result of the national election to the Lok Sabha; because it was all paper ballots. Considering the size and population of India, even with round the clock counting of votes, it took that long.

Now, no more waiting. Even before elections, there are many pre-poll surveys which give us an idea of which way the wind is blowing. After all the phases of elections are over, there are exit polls by multiple agencies, giving us an idea of what to expect. Since it is EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines), on the day of counting it is all over in about three to four hours.

FOR GROCERY & HOUSEHOLD ITEMS

* At home, if we ever ran out of any household item or grocery, there was no alternative but to go without it. We went shopping only once a week, it was Friday for a long time. The reason, the closest market was some 5 km away. So I waited for the shopping day to buy anything I wanted.

Now, no more waiting. Open the phone, a few taps on the screen to purchase whatever I want, and it's all delivered at my doorstep. What more, I can even tell the seller when to bring them.

POSTSCRIPT

Now, I have new problems:

* My laptop is taking too long to turn on ... I have to wait ... for like 1 or 2 minutes!

* The website is forever buffering! And the app is forever crashing! It is so frustrating!

* I finally managed to order some food for the night. The delivery boy was supposed to come at 9, and it is already 9.15 and there is no sign of him!

* My call to helpline is just getting passed from one automated answering machine to another. Aren't there any human beings I can talk to?!

26 comments:

Liz A. said...

Ah yes, modern living. We are so spoiled, aren't we?

B Pradeep Nair said...

You bet, Liz. In this modern age of technology, what puts me off the most is the notion that automation is the solution to all problems!

Darla M Sands said...

All this instant gratification has done more than spoil us. I believe it's causing depression and anxiety in our young people. They need instant gratification and constant personal validation. So sad. ~shakes head~ Be well!

B Pradeep Nair said...

Indeed, Darla. While there are huge benefits thanks to technology, there is a huge flip side to which the younger generation hasn't woken up still.
Thanks for your comments.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Pradeep - It's my brain that needs to work faster and perhaps take more in!! It's great and I've learnt more since I've been blogging; I missed so much being in South Africa ... but was occupied and playing lots of sport, so didn't worry too much; I got into BBC World Service via the ipad when over in Canada ... and am still somewhat tied into that.

The world really has moved fast since World War 2 - my 'defining' time - ie we break the 1900s into pre WW1, post WW1, then WW2 and then after it - ie 1950 onwards ...

I don't know who is going to write all our laws and regulations ... can't do it via twitter, and who will be responsible for various things - life is changing - I am quite glad I'm where I am - last 1/3 of my life (perhaps even last quarter - more likely!) ... but young at heart and happy to learn!!!

Mind you in the 'old days' we had time to stop and smell the roses, time to think about things etc ... now it's rush, rush, rush ...

I'd love to visit Kerala sometime ... take care and thank you for getting me to think about things - cheers Hilary

J E Oneil said...

The internet and computers bring a whole new set of problems, don't they? I'd still rather deal with the computer taking too long to turn on rather than not having one :)

rudraprayaga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rudraprayaga said...

Everything has its pluses and minuses. Ultramodern youngsters lead an E-life snug with all new appliances. But when these devices go on 'strike' human brain is required to set them right.
True that waiting in certain areas have vanished, but new waiting for the net to work well and pages to open and the like have cropped up. You have designed this article touching all the details. Well done Pradeep.( Before completing the comment, the finger went to 'publish'.)

Patricia Doyle said...

I chuckled at your newest frustrations with waiting...isn't it amazing how much life has changed? And yes, I too get frustrated at waiting for a site to load or at trying to find a real person to talk to on a customer service line. Visiting from MLSTL.

Amy Johnson said...

Yes, there are some wonderful things about technology, but you're right we still have to wait for some things still. I still have to wait a week for groceries as I live 38 miles away from the city and I only go into town once a week.

Amy Johnson said...

Forgot to mention I'm visiting from MSTL.

Cheryl Riley said...

Such memories your post has invoked. Taking out books from the library! What a pleasure it was when I'd reserved a book and got a notice in the mail that it was available for me to come and get it! One thing I used to love waiting for was the postman. I had several penpals and was always getting something in the post. It was a great feeling waiting and wondering what he would bring me every day. Life is much too fast now, I prefer the days when we had to wait for everything (although the younger generation surely doesn't agree with me!). Visiting from MLSTL. :-)

Sue Loncaric said...

It is amazing how the world has changed and become 'instant'. The downside is no one wants to wait anymore they want instant gratification and then I don't think they can appreciate it as much as if they had to wait. Thanks for sharing at #MLSTL and enjoy your week. x

Leanne said...

So many memories here Pradeep - I can remember waiting for a lot of these things myself. Now we get so impatient when we have to wait for a few minutes for anything. I'm still enjoying my new laptop that boots up and loads everything in seconds instead of minutes - it feels very luxurious!
Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I've shared on my SM :)

B Pradeep Nair said...

Thank you so much, for your detailed and insightful comments. As we have evolved /continue to evolve, life has got/gets better. But the changes inevitably bring in their wake other issues, which we need to recognise and recalibrate our approach and make course corrections.
You are right, in olden days, life was much slower; now we need to consciously slow down.
The state of Kerala - tucked away in the southern tip of India - is a beautiful place, lots of lush greenery and backwaters. You must visit one day. :-)

B Pradeep Nair said...

Same here, Oneil. Gadgets have made our lives much better in terms of convenience and comforts. I would patiently see through the small problems they pose.

B Pradeep Nair said...

Thank you, Sarala, for the comments.
You are right. Any gadget or other technological aides are only as good as the way adapt to them and use them.

B Pradeep Nair said...

Thank you, Patricia, for the comments.
I guess, while we accept the benefits of gadgets, we should also be ready to adjust to their flipsides.

B Pradeep Nair said...

Thank you, Amy, for dropping by and for the comments. 38 km is a long way off. That's like the time I spent during my school and college days. Nowadays, I stay in the city. Only the airport is that far away, around 40 km away.

B Pradeep Nair said...

Thanks, Cheryl, for stopping by.
Your comments reminded me of the postman. Even I used to wait for him, for letters from my penfriends. Forgot about that to include in my post.
Yes, life is hectic. I am now trying to consciously go slow.

B Pradeep Nair said...

Thank you, Sue, for dropping by. Yes, the norm today is "instant gratification" -- another stage in the process of evolution.

B Pradeep Nair said...

Thanks, Leanne, for dropping by and for the comments.
Life was a lot slower during those days, weren't they?!

Susan Kane said...

Then and now, so true. In many ways, this was true of my hometown in Midwest Illinois when I was growing up. But, all the technology has changed our lives forever. Life was simpler and slower.
Good post.

Susan Kane said...

Oh, and thanks for stopping by my blog!

indu chhibber said...

Despite all these facilities-we are busier today than we ever were.Or is it because of these facilities?

Pradeep Nair said...

Hi Indu: Thank you for dropping by and for your comments. I guess it's the second reason, since everything is within our reach.