July 15, 2009

IT, mystique and relationships.

I took this really interesting class, Advanced Operating Systems under Dr.Griff @ UK and in one of the classes he talked about pervasive computing. Quite fascinating -- images of intelligent lighting systems, homes, even clothes that warm up or cool down according to a person's body temperature by using nanocomputers! What I want to write today is not exactly pervasive computing as the definition goes but in a way, this seems like pervasive computing to me. Think of the number of social networking technologies there are -- facebook, myspace, twitter, blogs and information engines -- google, yahoo search, wikis. It seems to me that people are finally finding outlets to express themselves; outlets they could not even have dreamed to adopt a decade back. That's great, mostly. From the disgruntled house wife (Home maker? -- Think "Mitr") to the adolescent gamer, everyone is online and "connected" all the time!

I wonder if this whole wave of constant-connectedness will change the dynamics of human relationships. Let's take blogs for instance. I hear SRK and Amir Khan blog too. It was big news when the big B started blogging. Now, my very first serious crush, SRK, blogs too. I assumed I would be thrilled but when I googled for his blog, I almost wished I wouldn't find it. Somehow the charm and mystique he (and bollywood) stands for would be lost if I read it and realized that he is just like you and me. But then, he is human too, just elevated to dizzying heights, I guess. So, why wouldn't he want to blog and express what goes through his head? Thoughts and observations too trivial or too complex to express face-to-face but perfectly safe as bits on a screen?

The same goes for facebook. Almost everyone at work is on facebook -- we know each other's trivial and not-so-trivial thoughts that we feel we need to type as status messages on facebook, we know our big days and celebrations, our not-so-great moments and setbacks. Everything bare for everyone (or perhaps a smaller network of people) to digest.

I sometimes think if I were a teenager in this current era, I would find it very hard to fall in love! The mystery or hidden faces of people no longer have a chance of existing in the shadows. So, I don't really get a chance to wonder if he is thinking of me, if he secretly reads classic romances or if he actually cries at sad movies, if his friends are wild and unpredictable or if he has a hidden talent. Thanks to social networking sites, they are all out there for me to see. I know most of what there is to know about him. Hmm...interesting. Wonder what li'l r~ would think of this comment when she becomes a teenager :)

On the other hand, I have reconnected with faces from my past. We are sort of in-touch. We thumbs-up each other when we see photos we like, we comment on random posts now and then. Not what you can call a heart-to-heart talk, laughing and giggling over college days, but still not strangers who need to be reintroduced after several decades either.

So, what does this all come down to? Absence no longer makes the heart grow fonder because there is no real absence in the real sense of the word, unless of course you are like my brother and are phone/internet-free because you are in some quaint little town somewhere in Kashmir hiking towards the Himalayas? But then you are back to being connected and the magic is there for everyone to see -- which sorts of disperses it and makes it not so magical...right?

I mean, my brother texts me, my gynecologist texts me about appointment details and my boss does when he is in meetings and cannot actually call. Seems like we are all there for each other. No mystery, no wonders.

"Hmm, the last I saw her was when I graduated...she always wanted to settle down in America...wonder if she is still with so-and-so..."


"Hmm, the last I saw her was when I graduated. She is now in Africa, a travel guide who has written several books on the topic. Nope, she is still single."

There is a difference...isn't there? It all seems fabulous if you think about it -- I can see my blog comments on my iphone when am waiting at the dentist's office. Don't have to worry about delayed gratification. It's all instant. But then, the kindle can never replace the authenticity of a worn-out novel in a library. I guess, that makes me old-fashioned. But, you already know that -- you saw my facebook update.


Parth said...

Proves my argument why 20-20 works today and tests don't. Gratification has to be instant in today's world, unfortunately. There is no mystique left.

kamal said...

nice post honey ;)

Now I could have told you this in passing but this can live here for posterity

RS said...

Parth - Wonder if it's a good thing or not...

k - :p

aseel said...

great post. I am still thinking about it all :) Will ping you more thoughts as I get them!

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