There is a sense of nostalgia when I see an old cassette lying about in some dark, dingy corner at home. Similarly, there were the bulky VCR’S which ate a fat black cuboid of bad quality video as their meals, and certain candies like nutties and the much beloved and almost extinct, poppins. I remember getting very excited when we bought a huge ass television set and the old computer monitors that had a protruding butt, in our home. Owning technology like that was a privilege. I remember seeing those tv sets covered with a cloth in some households, like an obvious statement screaming out, “this is my precious, do not touch!”
How can we forget the first cell phone there ever was. The limited calls that used to be made because call rates sky-rocketed, the new stereo system that was just too important and fancy to be handled by my 4 year old hands. (We used to use that seldom, because it was meant for ‘special occasions’ and rest of the times you could help yourself to a serving of B4U or MTV.) It was amusing, and seeing and thinking about these innovations definitely takes me back to that time.
But it also makes me realise that a period for which something can be called modern is so short lived, transient. Transient because owning a touch screen phone is considered being up to date, today, but being able to make calls from your pen might just be the thing of the future. You may chuckle at the thought, but no one knew or imagined that light could come out of a balloon shaped glass or humans could actually pull off going into space. (Someone took the hindi phrase, “Main tumhaare liye chaand taare tod launga”, too seriously I guess.)
Similarly, what we are so used to currently, blenders, airplanes, laptops, i-pads, wireless speakers that can order pizza for you, the list is endless, did not exist a few decades back.
The transition from the bulky Nokia phone to an Apple iPhone has been so quick and smooth for the users. The inventors, however, are busy busting their minds to come up with ground breaking work. The funny part is that more often than not, we don’t even know that we need the service or upgrade until it comes out. We didn’t know we needed e-books, everyone was okay making the effort to flip a page before kindle. Similarly, there was a time when a specific drawer in the house vomited flyer’s from all the prominent restaurants in town. That drawer is dead since long, courtesy of sites and apps that collate food menus and restaurant data for us. Also, obsolete are the job positions that required people to distribute those to indifferent, irritated passer by’s.
Even today, we come across services and ideas that are new. For instance, Uber, it’s a luxury, our lives were working just fine without it. But if we can’t find one within 5 minutes now, it’s like Domino’s being shut on the day you craved pizza the most. Similar is the case with portable chargers.Why charge your phones at home, no? We will charge a third party device instead, that will THEN charge our phones. Soon, there will be a portable charger for your portable charger.
Innovation on some level is certainly coming up with services that we realise that we don’t need until it is live. In other words, we are encouraged to pay the money and embrace laziness. Apps today are doing everything and anything. I am pretty sure I can outsource the task of deciding what to wear on a certain day to an app today.
People till the end of the 19th century couldn’t have contemplated that soon there would be metal flying in the sky. In the early 1900’s the Wright brother’s did just that.
I can only imagine someone disregarding the thought of being able to talk to someone miles away using a plastic body the size of your palm. So it is only hopeful that soon some scientists could discover or come up with a time travelling device or a device that let’s you teleport. We cannot totally negate the possibility, can we? This is the kind of moment when Phoebe convinces Ross, the P.hd that 1+1 can somehow not equal 2.
We call sleek buildings, automatic doors, fast elevators and cities like Singapore ‘modern’ and something like Victorian architecture and even libraries, ‘classic’ and vintage. But we sort of ignore or forget that for people living in the Victorian era, THAT was modern. For people who started using oil lamps, THAT was modern and perhaps new. With the advent of electricity those oil lamps became old and obsolete. It’s funny imagining something like oil lamps or something as basic as cooking gas, modern. Cooking gas today is probably the most ignored member of the house. Let’s be honest, we take it for granted while making our morning tea/coffee with a straight face, but the day you discover it’s over, hell breaks lose.
The tall structures, the Burj Khalifa’s, the concrete jungle like cities, might just come to be associated with the ‘old world charm’ a few decades later. Something even more radical, like the kind of cities that existed in the cartoon series, ‘The Jetsons‘ might be the thing of the future. The craziest level of innovation would however be something that could prevent humans from dying. Something that could keep us going on forever, converting us into immortals, which would eventually lead to the world becoming the best versions of India and China. Earth would overflow and then we would go to a galaxy far far away.
P.S.- The more I am reading this post, the more rant like it sounds, hence the title. Let me know?