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Remember when cameras used to have film? Most of you won’t, but I do. And this is not to imply at how old and obsolete I am (fyi: I’m just twenty), but instead to marvel at how rapidly things and times change.

Cameras, once upon a time not too long ago, used to be equipped with film and a flash that needed to be attached or remove as was seen fit. Now, cameras come with a memory card and an ‘auto’ setting for the flash which takes into account the surrounding light intensity and then decides whether ‘to flash or not to flash’. (That sounds wrong, but you get the point). Life is becoming digitized and getting easier in the process. Or is it?

Many of these high-tech gadgets are a bit difficult to figure out. The new fangled dials and the numerous buttons make it hard for the average Joe to understand the workings of such things. The personal touch is gone; the camera now decides the best angles to take a picture from.

Captain Planet - do the children of today know what it is?

When I was in primary school, the concept of unwinding after a tough day at school was to come back and slip a cassette of my favourite cartoon in the VCR and watch it with a good home-cooked meal. Now, the same thing is done with a DVD and a pre-packaged frozen meal, that just needs to be micro waved and is ready to be devoured then. Convenience at its best. Where the highlight of the day was the evening show of Thunder Cats on PTV, kids now have a multitude of channels to choose from what they want to watch. Variety is the spice of life, but in trying to achieve that diversity, the end product is just not up to par. In trying to incorporate the digital image in the cartoons, the final result turns out to be somewhat of a mess. Keep it simple; kids don’t understand a lot of that high-tech stuff anyway. I sometimes feel sorry for the little ones these days; they have no good cartoons to watch anymore. Explains why they are quick to switch to films and dance along with the Munnis and the Sheilas of the world. We were contended just by wearing rings and impersonating the Planeteers. ‘Go Planet’ was our mantra, not ‘I’m too sexy for you’.

Erotica was a somewhat hibernating concept then, something that every parent would wish was still the same. Gone are the days when the illustration of nudity was just restricted to obscure artwork and paintings that a lot of people didn’t understand anyway. Unclothed pictures of both men and women are splashed all over the internet, and more often than not a person has stumbled across a porn site, albeit ‘accidentally’, or so they say. Nudity no longer seems to be a matter of shame, and is in fact turning into a big money making business. The human body is supposed to be respected; this industry takes it next level and considers it something to be revered. The only problem is, they do that in the literal sense.

When I was in the sixth grade, we got a Biology textbook that had a few pages stuck together, because the content on those pages was considered unsuitable for sixth graders. Our teacher told us that the pages included chapters on pregnancy, breast feeding and breast cancer, and the images accompanying the text were considered inappropriate for us. She told us that we would learn about all of that “in due time”. And we did. We studied everything in a lot of detail when we were mature enough to handle it. If I look at a sixth grader today, he will probably have all that knowledge already and then some, and most of it would not even have come from school but due to the vast expanse of soaps, movies and websites easily accessible now. These things were considered a concept almost too holy for words even, hence were not even spoken about much. And while it may be a good thing for children to have information about all aspects of life, there is also such a thing as a child learning too much too quick.

If our parents think that our generation is messed up, I wonder what they’ll say to their grandchildren. Our kids will probably grow up to be more corrupted than we ever were.

Letter writing became obsolete long ago, to be replaced by emails and now, by wall posts. While the internet is definitely the faster way to go as compared to snail mail, it is making us lose that personal touch we would have liked to add when communicating with someone dear sitting on another continent. If a person means that much to us to want to keep in touch despite the overwhelming geographical boundaries, shouldn’t we adopt means that will make our presence felt? Personal handwriting does that better than a few typed out words, just like telling a person they look pretty at a wedding is definitely more personalized than clicking a ‘like’ button on Facebook. I say the personal touch is gone, because we no longer feel the need to describe in out own words what an amazing experience our latest vacation was, when posting up pictures on Facebook would suffice for the details. A picture is worth a thousand words they say, but I would much rather have the thousand words. In fact, it is in the dearth of those words only that a good chunk of the experience is lost.

Kids buying Indian Eid cards - how long will that last?

Even the concept of handwritten cards is getting somewhat obsolete now. Eid cards used to be a sort of tradition on Eid day, to be replaced by e-cards now. These e-cards give us the option of setting a specific date and time when we want the card to be emailed, making it easier for us to ensure that the card reaches the desired inbox on Eid day. In most cases, this means that the person is most likely to come across the card after Eid, because who checks their email on the day of Eid anyway?

Can’t we make the effort to pick out a card or send a handwritten letter to someone we love, or are we really that busy or just that impersonal now?

Chatting, which was once the ‘in’ thing, has also been replaced by a few words on someone’s wall. Both signify the end of the human aspect in our conversations, because that can only be achieved by words spoken and heard, not by those typed and read.

The advent of Skype opened new avenues for easy communication. Not only can we talk, but we can also see the person on the other end. It is worth giving a thought to though as to how personal a bad resolution picture of a person can be. Thank you Skype for solving our long distance communication problems, but it is mere peanuts compared to actually having the desired person around us.

I’m not questioning progress. But I am questioning how the ‘human’ aspect from everything is disappearing. We are slowly becoming robotic in our interactions. But that’s okay, the future of the world will be in the hands of robots right? I guess that’s the price you pay for living in the 21st century.

One day, I will pose this question to my kid: Remember when cameras used to have film? I will probably be the parent who will not be ‘with it’, your average old-timer.