India Uncut

This blog has moved to its own domain. Please visit for the all-new India Uncut and bookmark it. The new site has much more content and some new sections, and you can read about them here and here. You can subscribe to full RSS feeds of all the sections from here. This blogspot site will no longer be updated, except in case of emergencies, if the main site suffers a prolonged outage. Thanks - Amit.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The past that ceases to be

In a beautiful post titled "Our times, their times", Jai Arjun Singh writes:
One thing I find moving about some older people – grandparents especially but increasingly even people who are only in their 50s or 60s – is how convinced they are that no one from my generation knows or cares about what life was like when they were young. I'm not talking here about Golden Ageism, about elders who declare that everything was so much better in their day; quite the contrary, my grandparents are so awed by things like the Internet, iPods, even laptops and digicams, and so conscious of their own lack of understanding of these things, that they never dare to say anything bad about modern-day technology. What I'm talking about is more wistful and vulnerable. It's a feeling that a lot of older people seem to share – that with the world changing so rapidly, the past is becoming irrelevant and so are they.
I think at some age you stop adapting to the world like you used to. Whether it's in things like discovering and relating to new music or picking up new technology, we opt to stay in the comfort of the familiar, and soon what is familiar to us becomes archaic to others.

Let's take blogs. If they exist 35 years from now, they will undoubtedly exist in a drastically different form, one that we can't imagine now. Some of us may not make the shift, and who knows, if I'm still around then, I may be looking back wistfully at my India Uncut years, bewildered by the new kinds of content around me. And the young people of that time will look at me strangely and wonder what I'm on about. "My world means nothing to these people," I will think, "and neither do I."

It may not even take 35 years, given the scarily rapid pace of change. A couple of days back I went to my ATM machine and found my card was damaged -- I felt lost and helpless, even unreasonably angry at the world, like a baby that's lost a rattle. Losing my mobile phone would make me feel pretty much the same, and I get irritable if I don't have internet access for more than a day. (Needless to say I'm immensely privileged, compared to millions of my fellow countrymen.)

I wonder how it would be if I entered some time-neutral zone and came across the Amit Varma of 1994, the freshfaced and refreshingly thin young graduate. What would I make of his world? It's dead and gone, and so is he. And so will I be. Such is life.
amit varma, 9:27 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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