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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