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“Chronicles from times with no connectivity”
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“Chronicles from times with no connectivity”

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Harmanan Singh picBeing unexpectedly cut off from the internet and Wi-Fi access is frustrating, but as Harmanan Singh, 18, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Mumbai in India writes,there are lessons to be learned when one ventures offline.

Charles Darwin was an English naturalist who first introduced the theory of evolution of man. From the early cavemen to the Neanderthals to modern day Homo sapiens, every discovery has marked a breakthrough in our bid to be the smartest creatures on the planet.

Had Darwin been alive today, Techno-Homo sapiens would have found a place in his theory. We have all talked about the merits and demerits of the technological progress in schools, forums and platforms. So integrated is technology in our lifestyle that we often fail to realize how dependent we are on it. Internet has revolutionized innumerable processes; the digital age has reached colossal milestones in the past decade and it is here to stay.

I time-travelled to the past this summer and experienced the digital advancement my era has seen. With the onset of summer after a grueling academic year, I headed to my birthplace in the northern part of India. Dehradun, my birthplace, is a sleepy old valley town which is fast emulating big cities, but with a rather haphazard planning. The population encompasses those who are shell-shocked to embrace modernization or technology as well as others who have evolved with time to integrate digitalization to their lifestyles.

Hours of road travel with limited access to the internet meant that I immediately engrossed myself in trying to connect to the Wi-Fi as soon as I reached my Grandparent’s house, even before I greeted or embraced them. Frantic moments later, I couldn’t quite connect to any Wi-Fi and enquired about the same to my grandfather, who had some trouble understanding the word and technology. I stood dumbfounded, almost aghast at this proposition. I couldn’t quite console myself to the fact that for the next three days, my connectivity would be limited to the painstakingly slow mobile data.

Countless attempts later, my mobile internet still would not allow me to proceed beyond the Google homepage. As the frustration was mounting, I threw my clinched fist on whatever I could lay my hands on, injuring myself in the process. The scream that followed dislodged the peaceful pigeons from the sill and cautioned my mother. Endless cajoling later, a majority resolution was passed by my parents and grandparents to leave me to confront my troubles alone. As I looked out of the window, with the mountains in the background, I began to ponder….

I started to appreciate my parents and ancestors greatly. “How could they live without the internet all their lives, I mean how did they work or entertain themselves?,” I wondered.

I managed to curb my acrimonious emotions as I sat down at the table for tea later that day. I did “enjoy” the evening over cookies, tea and Grandma’s marvellous stories (I know this is clichéd) but I think I found the answer to my “what did they do?” question.

I learnt a couple of lessons in those couple of hours:
• Respect your elders and ancestors: It required immense determination to lead a life without the internet. To consider that Grandma’s tales were their substitute for YouTube also showcases their accommodating and ‘‘rejoice over what’s available’’ attitude.
• Faster internet makes one more frustrated: How? you may ask. Our uncanny ability to embrace new technology means its absence for any period of time makes us impatient.
• We need to install air bags on our computer and tablet screens, so you and your device remain safe when you bang your head in frustration over the loss of internet connectivity.

Photo: Pat Halpin

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About me
I am a science student in Mumbai, India. I am an explorer with an endeavour to visit every nation on this planet. I aspire to be a travel journalist and experience varied cultural vibes across geographies. Wildlife, debating, poetry and entrepreneurship are some of my other interests.
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
Learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent
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