Friday, May 18, 2012

A date, a wedding and a baby

A wedding invitation part of the Vodafone Indiblogger contest
One balmy Wednesday evening
Queenstown, Singapore

So, should I tell my folks to go ahead and talk to your parents about fixing a date?” Viren asked Sia. Sia demurely nodded. She had been talking to Viren on and off for the past three months. Viren’s parents had approached Sia’s with the proposal and it was now up to them to either take it forward or call it off. All this was very new to Sia, who had heard a lot about how arranged marriages went, but for her, this was the first guy she was considering. Viren had said that he had been through three such meetings before, but it hadn’t worked out and he known that in the first couple of meetings itself. They had started off awkwardly, but through these months, they had become more understanding of each other.

After a lot of to and fro between both sets of parents, their wedding date was set to be four months out, the venue decided as Mumbai, India - the hometown of the bride. Preparations were on in full intensity, there was so much to be done. Right from the hall decorations to food caterers, from the groom’s suit to the bridal wear, cosmetics and jewelry to party favors, everything was looked at in minute detail, options analyzed, every detail shredded, every alternative considered. There was an electricity in the air.

9330 miles away
Minneapolis, USA

A wedding ritual part of the Vodafone Indiblogger contestHurry up Amma! We’re getting late. The wedding would be starting any minute.” yelled Nisha at the top of her voice, standing by the wooden banister, looking up the stairs.
In a minute. You go ahead. I’ll join you” her mother answered back.
Nisha tossed a look at her father, who shrugged as if to say “as usual” and then walked into the living room. Her maternal grandma sat all dressed up, waiting. It was Anu Akka’s marriage today and Nisha had been looking forward to this for a long time. The two were maternal cousins 
but had been as close as sisters since birth. There was also an ulterior motive behind Nisha’s eagerness around Anu’s wedding. Anu, the elder one, out of the way, would pave the road for Nisha’s own wedding which she was earnestly looking forward to, considering she had already decided who the groom would be.

Nisha’s mom came down the stairs, looking beautiful in a traditional turquoise silk sari, her heels going clickety-clack, her hair braided, full of jasmine flowers that Nisha could smell a mile away.
You’re not the bride Ma. No one’s going to be looking at you. You know, they wont even see you.” Nisha said.
So what? I can still look good, after all it is a wedding in our family.” countered her mom.
Nisha rolled her eyes and shook her head. There was no point in trying to make Amma understand.
The wedding decor was exquisite. Hundreds of people, mostly relatives and close friends were mingling about. Mom was excited beyond means, its not everyday that you get to see your cousins and relatives all at once. Anu Akka looked beautiful, very much the blushing bride. Grandma couldn’t stop praising her. Nisha sat admiring everyone’s clothes, make up and hairstyles. They sat painstakingly through all the rituals that seemed endless to Nisha, but there was an aura about the event that kept her entranced. Towards the end of the wedding, Grandma murmured “O Rama, everything went well. Only Nisha’s wedding is left now. Once that’s also over, then I can go to Rameshwaram and even to God’s abode in peace.” Amma shushed her.

4000 miles away
Bristol, United Kingdom

Its a boy! Its a boy!” said Arun’s mom, standing outside the maternity ward, hardly able to contain her excitement.
Can I see him? Where is he? Why can’t I see him?” asked Arun, impatiently.
Wait, let me ask the nurse to bring him here.” said his mom.
How’s Richa doing? Is she alright? Can’t I see her?” He asked.
Arun’s father went to beckon the nurse over. She had been swaddling the baby in blankets, keeping him warm. Richa had been slipping in and out of consciousness and the nurse was trying her best to keep the baby well fed and comfortable until Richa could take over. Arun could see her now walking towards him, the baby in her arms. His paternal instincts took over and tears flooded his eyes, his chest swelling with pride and fatherly love. He wiped them with the sleeve of his shirt, and instinctively his hands went out, wanting to cuddle the baby.
A baby being born; part of the Vodafone Indiblogger contest
Even if fictional, these three events represent true happenings across the world. The globe is shrinking by the minute, distances minimized to such an extent that the advent of technology today proves the saying right ‘Where there’s a will there’s a way’. No longer does distance stop people from achieving their goals or realizing their dreams. The world has traversed a long way from 3 ½” floppy disks to CDs, DVDs, pen drives, bulky 500 GB hard drives to 1.5 Terabyte flash drives. The internet has taken the world by storm. Physical friendships and relationships have been outnumbered by online ones. We have more friends and contacts on Facebook than we meet in a day in real life. Grandparents watch their grandchildren grow up, via Skype. New businesses are built and orders placed at a click of a button in the comfort of a home. The physical trials and tribulations of standing in long queues to get grocery shopping done on a sweaty Saturday afternoon get replaced by placing bulk orders online on swanky websites featuring photographs of mustard seeds and coriander leaves while travelling in an air-conditioned car. One no longer has to be physically present for interviews! Email, telephonic calls and Skype interviews rule the job sphere today. No more tagging along bulky books on trips. Bored on a flight? Read a book or watch a movie on your big screen cell phone. Email has revolutionized the planet. And with an app now being available for literally anything and everything that you want to do, not having a smart phone is not a smart decision. Be it navigating roads or even capturing the speed of a cricket ball through a Speedometer app, people live a good portion of their lives through the cell phone today. Sure, there might be evil threads too but for the most part, the world wide web takes everyone under its wing! From news sites to movie tickets, buying art online to transacting money, from text chat to video Skype calling - internet is and will be fun on the mobile! Had it been a made-made construction, how could it not have made it to the seven wonders of the world then?

If someone had told my octogenarian grandfather in his prime, that one day people living in two opposite sides of the globe would be able to talk to each other, much less see each other via something called a cell phone or online chat services, he would have thought it was crazy. But then people thought Einstein was crazy too. And yet, internet and technology continue to advance by leaps and bounds. It is almost a mandate then, that new products have to be internet compatible. The latest cameras have wireless connectivity to Internet by which you can upload pictures and share them with social networking sites and such. Cellphone and internet provider companies also come up with value added services to promote their business. The ZooZoo commercials by Vodafone were one such example, where promotion products like T-Shirts, coffee mugs and caps sold like hot cakes.

I spend 1/3rd of my day online, browsing websites, news articles, blogs, Facebook, typing up stuff on Google docs and wonder how I survived before I had internet. But then ignorance is bliss. With every new demand in the internet space, techie companies come up with new concepts. Today its the Cloud, tomorrow it will be something else!

So is it surprising then, that even though 8000 miles away, Nisha and her family, especially her grandma who couldn’t stop describing the wedding in minute detail to anyone who cared enough to listen, could still witness Anu’s wedding being held in Chennai via live-stream as clearly as if they were attending it physically? 4000 miles away, Arun could see his newborn son? And sitting 7000 miles apart, Viren and Sia made the best decision of their lives online? And to top it off, their entire wedding purchase was done through wedding websites? The day isn’t far away when we would be transacting our entire life’s activities online saving tons and tons of paper even though ironically, we gobble up electricity, and yet that would be the day, the tree huggers would thank us from the bottom of their hearts!

The internet rocks; part of the Vodafone Indiblogger contest
PS: Updated 9 hours ago via mobile. Just kidding!!


I would love to hear your views!

33 comments:

  1. Hi Deepa

    Truly for people like me sitting outside the country, internet communication esp the likes of Skype is a great boon. Well written.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. Skype is my lifeline - more than calling up via the phone I simply Skype my family. Have done everything from show them the house to spices and clothes on Skype :) They don't feel so far away anymore! Thank you!

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  2. You are right Deepa,internet is truly a blessing.Good luck for the contest.

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    1. Thanks Indu. Yep, it is. But then the way the technology has kept advancing over the recent years, I keep wondering whats next? The folks who come up with these products and services are truly genius!

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  3. well-written, Deepa! good luck for the contest.

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    1. Thank you Uma - for both your kind words and your wishes!

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  4. Great look at the positives of the Internet. Btw, you missed out the 5.25" floppies, which I had to deal with in an era where the PC did not even have a hard disk for data storage and even the OS had to be carried around in a floppy:) Good luck for the contest!

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    1. Was this before the 3 1/2"? I thought that was the earliest? I remember loading my college project on a floppy too but it feels so ages ago. Astonishing to see how much has changed in the last 10-15 years!

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  5. When the post began I settled down nicely to read a story and how the three were connected.
    Quite a refreshing post!! Good luck :)

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    1. I'll admit it did start out like the Butterfly Effect. But I hope it wasn't a letdown considering I used these events only as examples to talk about the Internet. More fiction to follow soon! :) Thank you!

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  6. Well written Deepa... All the best :)

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    1. Thank you Naba! I saw that you were a runner up too! Hearty congratulations!

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  7. Nice post, Deepa! All the best for the contest. I agree, I am already doing a lot of online shopping, netbanking, bill pay, and a lot of other things. I don't use my mobile much. I am more of a PC or tablet person. And, internet was instrumental in helping me find my husband :).

    You might like to read about that here
    http://www.rachnaparmar.com/2009/11/my-knight-in-shining-armor.html

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    1. Still to read this, finally now that I am back online and connected, this is top on my list. BTW, I did figure out why it got spammed. Because of the link in the comment. I have Indimailed you a way to include the link in the comment without it getting spammed. Hope that helps!

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  8. Nicely written...good luck!

    http://chroniclesofraviakula.blogspot.com/

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Ravi! Glad to announce that this post won a runner's up prize :) Thanks for the wishes!

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  9. Undoubtedly we have advanced so much to incredible levels that we could not foresee a few years earlier.About 20 years back MTNL would not easily give wireless telephones for use in cars without recommendation the charges for which was Rs,7 per minute then.There was no cell phone then.
    World has shrunk technologically but divided chronically as ever.Can we envisage what is in store 50 years hence and how backward we may look then?
    Nice one Deepa

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    1. So rightly said. Now broadband and touch screen phones are in every house. Touch TVs are gaining popularity. Every time something new comes in the market, I think what else can they do beyond this but these product companies never fail to amaze me! Its astonishing how technology had advanced by leaps and bounces over the past 10-20 years and still continues to do so! Maybe our grandchildren would laugh at us saying we used devices to communicate and they would just do it by telepathy! Who knows!

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  10. My wedding story was very similar to Viren and Sia. We had chat online on Skype before we said yes without physically meeting. :)
    Nice post.

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    1. Thank you! Glad you could relate to it! Its a beautiful experience in itself. Skype and the online matrimonial seem to have gained worldwide acceptance and its heartwarming to see people finding their soul-mates - a beautiful gift from technology!

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  11. Power of Internet unleashed to the hilt! I liked your style of putting it all, right from the title. All the best for the contest!

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    1. Thank u! Honored to say that the post won the runner's up prize at the contest! Thank you for the wishes!

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  12. Hi Deepa such a beautiful narration. Skype is so important for those who have relatives and loved ones in different corners of the world. My daughter is able to connect to her grandparents on every day basis thanks to skype. She even shows them her toys and dresses and feels as if she meets them everyday.

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    1. Initially I used to chat with my Mom through yahoo messenger. But Skype and Google video redefined staying in touch online. Its so much more to be able to see them in front of your eyes. I am sure your grandparents must be loving it too! And they get to be high-tech too!

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  13. Deepa, I'd put a comment here many days back. Maybe, you can check your spam folder and see if it has landed there.

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    1. Am glad you mentioned this, coz I would never have known to look. Wonder why it did that, I have 'unspammed' it now!

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  14. all three little stories meeting in one , now that is a good one and as you say the miracles of internet surly have made the world a lot smaller ..

    Bikram's

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    1. Thanks Bikram! :) Yes, I do believe that the positives from the internet far outweigh the negatives!

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  15. Very nicely written Deepa :) Internet has really changed the way we connect.

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    1. Thank you Jas! Yep, you're right, it has definitely done that big time!

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