Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ten Years

This blog was started because a teenager ran out of paper one March afternoon. Over a decade, not only did it translate mood swings into phrased strings but influenced the aforementioned teenager’s transition into adulthood. And what better way to do a celebratory post than usher in some nostalgia.

Nostalgia, the deceptive force that compels one to resist change by cunningly bringing forth happy memories from the past. That, coupled with apathy is the reason this blog still uses a static template, has primitive social media integration tools and chooses to stay away from the modern-day icon-loaded landing pages with Helvetica slashes. You see, this blog is my sole reminder of what the internet used to look like when we were younger – everything was plain, simple and text-heavy. There were fewer people, lesser sites, and sparser media. The internet was anonymous and we reveled in it. One could say things, be people, get away with it or simply not care at all. And as irony would have it, ten years later, I ended up working for a company whose very foundation (and a significant revenue driver, may I add) is in attaching a single identity to every click, anywhere on the internet.

From text and music, it became image and video. From Yahoo chatrooms, it became Tinder. From being an escape, the internet became the focus. From being restricted to half an hour on a dial-up modem after school, it became fifteen hours a day, only a minimum-hour restriction this time. But let’s go back to the modem thing, because apparently restricting access to the internet may be a human rights violation in the years to come. Back in the late 90s, getting online was both slow (we’re talking 56 kbps) and expensive (as in choosing between making a phone call or loading a web page). Yet my family’s prime concern about their darling daughter embracing novelty was what it is today – moderation. That ‘online’ was new made it induce skepticism; we didn’t trust novelty back then – new cultures, traditions or even food. It took pizza chains half a decade to even consider scaling up in India. 'New' was never entirely trustworthy, 'new' could waylay children. 

But that was then. Now, we are more flirtatious, make informed choices - and faster- because of something that was once a novelty. In a country of adopters driven by word-of-mouth assurances and the fear of missing out, going online is a matter of four out of one’s five friends being online and recommending it. I personally look forward to the day restricting internet access will account to criminal violation and the juicy media output said violation will result in. That may also be the day we realize we are on the other side of a massive pro-liberal culture shift, but that’s for another blog post.

From pen and paper poetry being typed out and uploaded for the world to see to not sparing time to write at all, the internet has ironically affected the sustenance of this blog in ways more than one. But here’s to ten more years.