Old is gold

Old is gold

Technology and mindless modernity have taken over our lives and they are calling the shots. My faithful old and battered manual typewriter may be a pre-Paleozoic age museum piece and a poor cousin to sleek computer keyboards.

But, in my estimation, it still maintains the old world grace. It is an invaluable tool in my hands for my patented search-and-peck method of typing my articles with emails strictly out of my lexicon. I don’t have to worry myself to distraction about hackers and mischief makers playing havoc with my email ids and what-have-you.

Okay, I am a decrepit specimen fit for the scrap yard, for I don’t have a mobile phone. The old, 1950 model ITI-manufactured dial telephone is my trusted companion and so what if it takes an eternity when I poke my finger into the ‘)’ slot and the dial takes its own time to return to its original position. Thanks to my old contraption of the telehone, I am not bothered by telecallers (Thank Heavens for that) or mobile service providers calling me at odd times to announce their new pre-paid and post-paid plans. Thanks to not having a mobile, my English grammar is intact and I don’t have to rack my brains sending SMS and mastering the esoteric SMS language.

What’s all this hoopla and hyperbole about CD players, ipods and what-not. They don’t catch my fancy at all. Modern and hitech though they may be, I prefer to use the old HMV gramophone record player and 33 RPM discs to hear and enjoy old Lata Mangeshkar classics — Aayega aayega, et al. The sound reproduction might not be stereophonic hi-f i (whatever that means), but the sound is authentic and not cacophony and that is what matters, isn’t it?

Internet banking via voice mail? What’s all this about? I still wait in a long queue in front of the teller’s cabin, filling out challans and withdrawing money. I don’t have to spend sleepless nights fretting that hackers, using futuristic gizmos, will access my account and fraudulently withdraw large sums of money, leaving me fiscally stranded, but I do confess that my bank account is now down to a rock bottom minimum balance of Rs 500. The same argument against modern contraptions goes for ATMs too! And to my jaundiced eyes, they look like old Las Vegas slot machines.

Microwave oven? No, thanks. There is no better way to prepare idlis than using my grand mother’s old steam cooker and the chutney in the cobbled grindstone which, unlike a mixie, won’t conk out when there are guests around.

With people rushing off to cyber cafes to send emails, faxes and voice mails, the familiar and friendly post offices now find themselves sidelined, but to any right thinking person, a post office is a ‘happening’ place — buying a humble post card or an inland letter or the even humbler stamp is the right way to communicate with a friend or a loved one. Emails are so impersonal, and to me, they sound the death knell of friendship which is the cornerstone of human relations. Technologically, post offices might be in backwaters, but they facilitate friendly communication and more.

This middle class ‘dream’ (or nightmare to me) is the root cause of trusted old methods being dumped, only to be taken over by moronic technology. What better way to wash clothes than by beating them on a stone with bare hands and hanging them on the clothesline to dry under the bountiful sun? But no, we have to go for washing machines which need as much lavish care as babies do and nothing is more time consuming than attending to the machine after the washing chores are done. And,  if this contraption ‘acts up’ and begins to rust, better get ready to go to the gujri and the same goes for dish washing machines too.

To be sure, my wife frets about her dish-pan-hands, but the kitchenware is shining bright and that’s what kitchen management is all about, isn’t it?

The right and sensible way to manage personal finances in these days of economic uncertainty and inflation is to pay spot cash for purchases and thus keep personal and household expenses under check. But those iniquitous credit, debit and ATM cards have turned things upside down.

They instigate people with limited means to splurge without realising that the judgment day will come in just 30 days, accompanied by service charges, interest charges and waiver fees. Thus, mindless technology has a deleterious effect on even a vital aspect of day-to-day life like personal finances.

Have you observed how even bright youngsters have lost the faculty to do simple arithmetical tasks quickly and mentally? With pocket calculators finding their way even into elementary classrooms, simple calculative prowess has gone down the hill and, speaking for myself, the right way to add up five and five is to use my fingers. I do not reach out for my calculator or mini computer.

Things have come to such a sorry pass that when we meet a long lost friend, instead of heartily greeting him, we ‘text’ him. Believe me, the most sensible way to get rid of mosquitoes that buzz around our ears and spoil our sleep is to use our god-given hands to swap them and not go in for futuristic, sci-fi gadgets that generate high-intensity, alpha and gamma radiation rays to kill them!

The litany against unthinking technology can go on. After shampooing and washing my hair, I refer to stand under the sun to dry it and not use a power-driven hair dryer. And, there is no better way to keep one’s teeth sparkling white and healthy than by using a neem stick and fingers, but no, we have to go in for electric toothbrushes. But, I say old is gold, go for it!

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