16 Mar 2019 05:15am IST
More than three decades ago, I was on a trip to Japan on training for six months. It was an era, when Fax communication was in its nascent stage and unknown to many. We were awestruck at the speed of response of Fax mails being used abroad. The only means of fast overseas personal communication to home was Trunk call, which was more dreaded than used, as it was normally resorted more for communicating emergency situations or unpleasant news. The mode of communication was practically restricted to handwritten letters which used to take a minimum of ten days to reach home. In all I had only twelve letters exchanged six from either side during this period. The arrival of letters was eagerly awaited to know the wellbeing of our folks back home. The wait was making us edgy and we were praying for scientific miracle for quicker mode of communications.
However on the official front the picture was different. We used to submit training reports and our bosses used to send feedback on the areas which need more of our inputs and attention. We had a lot of time to think before responding and any delay was conveniently attributed to the lethargic postal department.
Now comes the new millennium and with it the era of internet and instant communications. All our prayers were answered and miracle happened in the form of E mail communications. We were thrilled with the lightning speed of messages. I am happy to communicate and stay connected with my family, though physically miles apart, at my will through net. Unfortunately, nothing in life comes without strings. Now, I am answerable to my wife 24X7, for all my actions and inactions, not a joke by any means.
Officially, my obligations as a responsible employee now does not cease by the end of the day. It often sneaks into weekly rest days and sometimes intrudes into vacations as well. In offices efficiency of executives are often determined by the quickness of response rather than execution. Any innocuous mail copied is sufficient to make one concerned and answerable with no alibi. This is in sharp contrast to file notes used in the pre internet era for official communication, which used to take its own sweet time to get moved from table to table to reach the concerned person through proper channel. Having journeyed from the laid back pre internet era to the present, the difference in the stress levels at work place is palpable. This obviously takes toll of the health of employees and the aging is faster due to work pressure. The working pattern and life has changed irreversibly. I nostalgically remember those good old days of paper communication and now pray for miracle reversal of science and times.
Present generation seems to suffer from flooding of news. The digital gangsters like whatsapp, facebook, messenger etc., have totally changed the social lives and outlook of people. The moot point is whether these scientific inventions have really bettered our lives and the tradeoff for peaceful living of old days is really worth the transition. To me nothing can be more prophetic and apt than Bernard Shaw’s famous theory “Science brings more problems than what it solves”.