Monday, April 11, 2011

Those were the good old days...

I remember a time when owning a TV was a luxury. A time when all that was on TV was Doordarshan. When the whole family (and the neighbors who didn't have TV) would flock around the magical box to gaze at the colourful scenes from some cheezy movie or an equally cheezy song sequence (almost always someone's dream with a batallion of background dancers in hideous costumes).

And now, every single person has a TV in their hands. Some watch it on their mobile phones, a few on their iPads and a few more old-school folks (comparatively that is) on their laptops. Out go the anticipated long distance International calls that come once a month and in comes the cell phones which can connect people across continents and oceans. That sense of a thousand butterflies flying in your stomach as you await your turn to speak with a loved one has all but disappeared.

With the arrival of cell phones came e-mails... and then texting and Twitter. And with this all, out went English as we knew it. I cringe inwardly everytime someone leaves out a letter morphing "don't" to "don" or worse "you" to "U". I find it vulgar.... but then again, I'm one of the very few who're still typing their messages out fully with all the punctuation marks where they are supposed to be.

I remember a time when a single error in grammar or spelling meant being caned in front of the whole class. Yes, it was harsh. But it also meant that I knew far greater number of words by the time I left school than what some of my college going contemporaries knew. And for once, I'm thankful for that. I've had a few of my friends marvel at what they deem is a pretty good hold over the Lingua Franca. If only they knew how I'd come to be a bit more proficient than them, it wouldn't seem so marvelous then.

Then again, maybe I'm on the losing side (though I fervently hope not!). But for once, I'm glad the proverbial "Greener grass on that side yonder" is proven wrong. 

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