Snail e-mail

September 25, 2005

My brother is a Civil Engineer and spends most of his time on field doing land survey. He is self-employed. Being a typical hands-on Civil Engineer who is given to dirtying his hands with everything that the profession demands- right from driving road-rollers, spending days on mines in scorching sun, staying far away on un-inhabited lands etc. As a result, some time back, he knew as much about the internet as I know about mating patterns in red eyed drosophilia (if there exist such creatures!)!! Ofcourse he used computers for his work, but like his surveying instruments, the computer was like a standalone instrument meant to be fed readings and you got your drawings out of it!

However, his life got a little topsy-turvey when clients started asking for his email-id and started requesting him to send their drawings as email-attachments! “Help!!”, he shouted on the phone. I promptly create a gmail account for him and gave him the details. He was glad to know things were this simple, but the doubts lingered.

“Rashmi, can you operate this account for me? That is, if it isn’t too inconvenient for you.”

“Ah well, it wouldn’t be inconvenient for me, but it isn’t difficult at all. Really. You should be able to handle it. Besides we stay in different cities, how will send your drawings for you?”

A couple of lessons on the phone and he was on his own. Most of the snail-mail business communication slowly shifted to electronic communication. I was glad.

But, there was something I had overlooked. He spends days in the interiors with zero connectivily, and is glad if he can just about manage to call home from his mobile atleast twice a week. Sometimes he has to travel for kilometers to get a signal on his mobile or even to find a landline phone.

These days I not only read his mails for him, but I also print them and mail them to where ever he is located!

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Survival instinct

September 23, 2005

I believed in non-violence. And this belief extended to other living beings, other than the human kind.

I believed in nature. I believed nature has a purpose in everything. So much so that I found most of what modern life takes for granted, as going against nature.

My belief in non-violence wouldn’t even allow me to kill a spider, ant or cockroach in my house. With utmost care, I would collect them in a newspaper and throw them out. My family protested endlessly saying the creatures were easily going make their way back into the house. I would simply turn a deaf ear to all the protests!! I was not going to kill them. Period. Ofcourse I had no control over others’ actions and in my absence the house would be duly sprayed with insecticides and pesticides every week.

My belief in nature made be feel very guilty about trimming the garden. I loved my creepers which reached my balcony and covered it completely. The garden always wore a unkempt look. But, I believed if the plants were growing wildly, nature intended them to grow that way.

I was convinced my beliefs were unshakeable and my actions rational! Then one fine day I managed to shock myself.

My first newborn was home from the hospital. One day I saw a tiny spider close to my little one. Without a thought I folded a newspaper and ‘whack’! I killed it. No remorse. No guilt. One blow and it was over!

As the ants carried the dead spider away, I stared blankly.

The next week we spotted a snake in the garden. Everybody in the house was instructed to always keep the backdoor closed during the rainy season. Someone mentioned the snake could easily climb the creeper and get into the house. A scissor in hand I snipped off the ropes holding
the creeper. The gardener was summoned and the creeper was trimmed off.

As I stood in the balcony, the open balcony felt strange. I felt even stranger within.

I realised I had changed, without realising. No struggle. No rationalising my behaviour. Is this what nature intends to do when it strengthens and sharpens your survival instinct?

I still believe in non-violence. I still believe in nature. I still believe nature has a purpose in everything.

Online after six months

September 14, 2005

I was on a sabbatical for six months. During these six months I did varied things- read tonnes of books, revived my hobby of painting to a small extent, got in touch with a lot of friends I had lost touch with, tracked down a lot of old time friends – some even from my kindergarten days. All this while keeping away from the web. I didn’t have to do much to avoid the lure of the web; the places where I spent my time didn’t give me any option anyway.

It’s going to take me a while to key in my six month experiences. While that happens, I thought I’d go ahead and say “Hello, World!!”