Friday, November 09, 2007

Diwali: From 'diyas' to electric lights and SMS msgs

Diwali in India has given way to forwarded SMSs and emails, replaced ‘people to people’ contact. Where have those days gone, when people used to meet, mingle and share?

DIWALI IS round the corner. But over the years Diwali celebrations have changed. Candles, ‘diyas’ are getting replaced with electric lights (of which the majority are of Chinese make), as they are cheap and readily available. It is not only the case with ‘diyas’, but it is also the way people greet their friends and relatives that has changed. Nowadays, it is just SMS or MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) from the mobile phone, or an email to one who has an email id. With millions in India owing mobile phones, this is relatively fast and simple.

SMS is replacing, phone calls and home visits. In the years gone by, during festival time, people used to visit, call and mingle. Then came the easy way out - expressing one’s feelings by posting a greeting card. Greeting cards are getting expensive these days.

For calling people, you need time, have to spent money on airtime and importantly, have to relate to that person. But with SMS available, one just goes to his/her mobile phone message box, types a message and the formalities get completed. But what does one write in the message? This is also simple. One just needs to a use a little bit of brainpower. One can just forward an SMS one has earlier received. The only caution one should exercise is to delete the name of the person from whom one had received the message and add one’s own, which many fail to do. Also, one should add one’s name at the end of message (it is possible that the receiver does not remember your mobile number). The other, simpler way is to send an email. Download a simple email greeting and forward it to as many individuals as is possible.

These technological solutions are definitely fast, simple and economical, but aren’t they replacing the much-needed ‘people to people’ contact, wherein one meets, mingles and shares? Earlier, one used to prepare days ahead for it, and many a times one used to forget old differences and start afresh. Times are changing, things are different, one hardly gets time – faster alternatives are replacing older ones. May be, that is the reason one sees more rush at markets, networks getting clogged and crackers (read money) being blown off. May be, we need to ponder upon it.

Anil Gulati

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