Sep 20, 2015

Times Have Changed

Note: Got this photo from Social Media and the original owner of this photo or the document shown in this picture is unknown. Somebody while doing a clean-up at home or while going through the old documents of parents or grandparents must have found this.  

This document is in Marathi showing the details of expenses incurred on Wednesday, 13th October 1971, on account of Diwali and shopping was done from Itwari Market, Nagpur. 

This person seems to have taken Rs. 94 as festival advance from his office and has incurred expenses of Rs. 43.11 on 13.10.1971 and after shopping, he/she has taken Rs.50.81 back at home. In the end, he/she seems to be upset since there is a  major (yes indeed!!!) difference of 8 paise (Rs. 0.08) in the whole calculation. It's a fun to the see the prices of various goods in 1971. 

Since this document is in Marathi, I have translated the calculation part into English which is as under:

Festival Advance Received
₹ 94.00

Groundnut Oil 2 Kg.
₹ 9.00
Dalda Vanaspati Ghee 500 gms.
₹ 3.00
Whole Wheat 15 Kg.
₹ 14.50
Chana Daal 1 Kg.
₹ 1.25
Toor Daal 1 Kg.
₹ 1.95
Poha 500 gms.
₹ 0.90
Sugar 2 Kg.
₹ 4.20
Rice 2 Kg.
₹ 2.75
Hamam Soap
₹ 0.75
Agarbatti Packet
₹ 0.31
Rava 1 Kg.
₹ 1.25
Dried Shredded Coconut Flakes 125 gms.
₹ 1.00
Cloves and Cardamom
₹ 0.50
Potato 500 gms.
₹ 0.30
Misc. eatables for Kids (खाऊ)
₹ 0.25
State Transport Bus Fare
₹ 1.20
Total Expenses on 13.10.1971
₹ 43.11

Cash Balance to remain in Hand
₹ 50.89
Actual Cash Balance in Hand
₹ 50.81
₹ 0.08

After having a look at these price levels, we come to know how valuable these coins must have been at that time. 

Having said this, I don't want to comment on whether the cost of living was very cheap at that point of time, since it has to be looked in connection with the level of earnings at that time. This person has taken Festival Advance of Rs. 94 which logically must be the Salary in Advance before Diwali. So the salary of this person must be in between Rs. 100 to Rs. 125 or so. And he has spent Rs. 43 on groceries which is  almost 35% of the salary (assuming it to be Rs. 125). If we compare this to the level of earnings and prices today, I think in percentage, it must have come down drastically. People say that things like Radio, Bicycles, Fans etc. were so cheap in those days. But at the same time, it's a fact that hardly anybody was able to afford those goods.

Equally it is true that even after dramatic increase in spending power, people have forgotten the happiness in these small things. I still remember the day when we got a refrigerator at home, the day when we bought a 2-in-1 cassette player with radio (AM & SW frequency only, no FM) and the day when our BSNL (DoT in those days) landline got installed at our home. Till late 80's, I remember when somebody gave us whole Re.1 (अख्खा १ रुपया ), we used to be so happy since a lot of chocolates with assortment used to come by spending Re. 1.   

I keep on telling my 6 year old son that these guys nowadays have to buy all the happiness and they won't ever would be able to understand the fun that we used to have in those days, which used to come free of cost. 

Sleeping on the terrace at night during summer looking at the stars, waking up at midnight sometimes due to a slight drizzle, enjoying the Ice Cream from the hawkers in those special glass cups, people coming out for having a chat with neighbours in case of power failures at night, entire neighbourhood gathering at someone's place to watch a TV, watching 4 movies in a row when VCR is rented for 12 hours, using neighbour's drawing room to accommodate marriage guests, watching election coverage on Doordarshan only for the movies shown for those 2-3 days of counting, news breaks when tough cricket match is on the climax, TVs being arranged in marriage halls on Sundays so that guests should be able to watch Ramayan / Mahabharat (else the attendance used to be poor) are only some of the things which give me the nostalgic feeling. 

Nobody was ashamed to ask a cup of milk or a bowl of sugar when unexpected guests dropped in, since on some day or the other, everybody had to ask the help from each other.

All these things are impossible to be understood by the younger generation. But they are not at fault in this. 

Times have Changed!!!! People have Changed!!!

Jul 24, 2015

Are we becoming dumb with digital revolution?

Last week my 5 and 1/2 year old son, Arjun, got a fracture in his right hand while playing at his School. Such a lovely kid he is, that he didn't even cry and did his classwork in the school on that day. Since there was hardly any swelling and he wasn't crying as well, his School teachers didn't think it was a fracture. And they were not at fault. Since even after he got home, we also didn't think it was a fracture and applied ointment after telephonically consulting his doctor. Next day morning, when he still wasn't allowing us to touch his hand, we took him to our family doctor. He also didn't think that it was a fracture since Arjun was pretty comfortable otherwise. Still the doctor asked us to confirm by taking X-Ray and then we found that it was a fracture. He took him to an Orthopedic Doctor and Arjun got a plaster on his hand for three weeks. He was advised not to go to School as well since there was a chance that other children unknowingly may hurt his hand again. All of a sudden, Arjun's routine changed and this playfully talkative child had to undergo through a temporary phase of partial restrictions on activities. However, Arjun isn't even complaining that he could not play outside or couldn't attend RSS Shakha and is getting bored etc. He is supporting us wonderfully well that way. And his non stop talking continues. He is also trying to be self dependent as far as possible. He is trying to put his plastered hand in the pouch (purchased after we clicked the picture below) himself, after waking up in the morning. He is eating with a spoon in his left hand. He is fastening his shoe bands with one hand. See his cheerful picture below:

Now coming to the point on what bothers me the most. Even though the fact that Arjun's hand got fractured was known to most of the close aids, people try to show the superficial concern by posting "Get well soon Arjun" on WhatsApp. Let me be very clear on this. I absolutely don't have any sort of expectation that people should show the sympathy towards Arjun, or should call him showing the concern etc. Neither does Arjun expects that. He is enjoying this phase as well. What I feel disgusting is that people's apathy and lack of warmth in relationship gets exposed because of all this. They know that this kid is not on WhatsApp. So is there any point in posting get well soon messages there? The only intention of posting these messages is to officially register the concern, even though it is superficial. I don't like this mentality of wearing masks in close relations, which is very prevalent these days in the society. We should remain just like what we are and should never try to portray us as being something different. If I am not concerned with somebody, I should simply stay away from him/her rather than pretending that I am very much concerned. But if I am genuinely concerned with someone, it should definitely be whole hearted. If someone else, who I feel is close to me, chooses to stay away from me, even though I would feel sad, still it would be acceptable since that would be his/her choice, as long as there is no effort of hiding the real face behind the artificial mask. 

So if someone is genuinely concerned with Arjun, he should have simply called him and this talkative child would have excitedly told you the stories on how he got injured, how did he attend the school that day, what did he say to the doctor etc...

Same thing goes with wishing someone else. They are not "Warm Wishes" anymore. They are just full of some beautiful WhatsApp smileys. Just to complete the formality, post a Birthday/Anniversary wish and move on to post some jokes or philosophy of life. People keep on pouring the wishes, without bothering even to think that the person to whom we are wishing is not on WhatsApp. Day in and day out I see this on WhatsApp. Husband is on WhatsApp while his wife is not. Still people wish on her birthday in WhatsApp groups. And husband has to keep on posting "Thank You" replies. Kids like Arjun also get the birthday wishes on WhatsApp even though they are not there.  One of my childhood friends is not on WhatsApp. But he got wishes on WhatsApp group of our common friends. I simply don't understand what we want to show by doing this. If the Birthday is of someone else, are we wishing each other on the group in his absence? These days, we hardly remember anybody's birthday. Facebook tells us whose birthday is today. 

I am a techie by nature, and absolutely not against the technology. I definitely understand that earlier postcards were the only means of communication. As the technology has evolved, only the means of communication are changing and postcards were replaced by phone calls, emails, Orkut/facebook and now WhatsApp. And I completely agree that we should change with the world else we will lag behind. Only thing is that we should know where to stop and identify the moment when technology is taking control over your mind, your life and changing your basic nature. 

Use of technology which increases our productivity, brings out the creativity, eases out the otherwise day to day complex tasks is acceptable. But people are definitely becoming more and dumb and becoming the slaves of technology. Post any puzzle and rather than using own mind, people prefer to Google for the ready made answer. Below is a representative image of a group that I had received through Social Media, who went on to visit their grandma after a long time.

Picture Credit: Unknown. Received through Social Media

Here are some of the real life examples that we are getting dumb.

Example 1: 

There was a period some 10-15 years ago, when I used to remember all the phone numbers and had literally written over 100 phone numbers (with STD codes for landlines) on paper just to test. Nowadays, we are completely dependent on mobile phones. We don't even see the number once. We ask the person to give a missed call and save the number from call log. Later on there is only dialling by name. One fine day, your mobile phone is lost and you don't even know your wife's or parents' phone number. In my case, I still remember most of the numbers written on that piece of paper at that time, even though they are obsolete now. But I hardly know any of the numbers saved in my mobile phone. It's a fact!    

Example 2: 

Now this is a real life story told by one of my friends settled in US long back. He was in some store and bought goods worth $52 and gave the cashier a $100 note. If it would have been in India, any streetside vendor would have immediately asked "२ रुपये छुट्टे है क्या?" But the cashier there simply could't understand this. Only thing he entered in his system that Cash tendered was $100 and he needed to return $48. Since he didn't have change to return $48, he went on asking at other cash counters for a change. Same thing has now started happening in India in big stores. Even when we buy vegetables from a streetside vendor, forget about bargaining, but people don't even bother to do the basic calculations. Rather we can't do it nowadays, without using Calculator App in mobile. So if the vendors asks for Rs.248, we pay Rs. 248, if he asks for Rs.268, we pay Rs. 268. Even if you try doing the mental arithmetic, I am sure that the person on the other side of the counter will be far quicker than you, irrespective of the fact that he has sold same vegetable at different rates to different persons and some have bought it 1 Pav (250 grams) while you have bought 1 and 1/2 pav (how many grams ????????........ ok....I think it's 375 grams). I still remember the days when I used to enjoy doing complex calculations quickly using Vedic Mathematics techniques. Obviously, it couldn't be quicker than calculations in excel, but your mind conditioning gets far far better.

Example 3: 

Another example dated some 3-4 years back. I went to buy bananas. They were priced at Rs.30 per dozen. I asked the vendor to give me 6 bananas. He immediately said "साहब २० के ८ ले लो". It took some extra 5-6 seconds for me to check that he was right. 

Example 4:

This was what I had posted at the time of my birthday in 2012. I had deliberately hidden my birthday from facebook, a week before. And later did the comparison with my 2011 birthday. 

All in all, it's the time to realise that we are getting dumber day by day. Anyway, it's said that we hardly use even 10% of our brain. And if continue using our brain even lesser, how can we expect it to remain sharp? It will get rusted soon, unless we undergo digital detoxification. I really admire the creative brains who have developed WhatsApp, facebook, Candy Crush etc. They are not at fault in this. Problem is with us only. And if your mobile phone's battery is lasting longer, it means you are enjoying life more. I am also the part of this, but at least have realised how my life has changed over the years.

I was an avid reader till couple of years back. Nowadays, I often complain that I hardly get the free time to read. I am still to finish Amish's latest book "Scion of Ikshvaku" that I had pre-ordered and got delivered on same day of release i.e on 22nd June 2015. Earlier, I was frequently writing some articles, used to keep experimenting with some workarounds and editing HTML here on my website. Now this post is after a gap of more than 1 year. क्या करू? टाईम ही नही मिलता.....अजिबात वेळ नाही मिळत हो......... आणि जर मिळालाच आणि वाचत बसलो तर Candy Crush मध्ये प्रगती कशी होईल?

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