Running away

ForestsMany a time in the past year I have thought of running away. To the rain forests of the Nile or the Amazon. To forests where there are no luxuries, no money issues, no artificial medicines, no materialistic pleasures – just live life to live, not exist. I want to take nothing with me – no electronics, no special clothes, no mechanical devices – absolutely nothing. I want to tell stories, tell tales that will become legendary, meet legends, follow the roots of myths… I want to live life the way early man used to. My daily challenge should be to get through the day alive – to catch prey and not get caught as prey – but not waking up at 7:00 AM so as to catch the 8:00 AM bus.

But then I like to eat. May be I will carry a frying pan and oil with me. And spices. And aluminum foil to store the food. A shelf to store the aluminum foil. Uhmm, may be a house of wood to keep the shelf in. A box of tools to go by. And a sharpening kit. Cannot afford them to rust, so I should probably get a nice tin roof to keep the water away from my home.  I need to keep animals away too, and fire may not be sufficient always. I probably need flash lights to look for stuff in the dark. But I cannot have a lifetime’s supply of batteries – I will need a charger – an electrical source. May be it is a wise idea to get a generator too. I need to get gas/diesel for the generator – so I need to be near a city so it is easy for me to get it. Oh and what if I fall ill? I will need medication too – I may not know what herbs are safe and non-poisonous – and also which ones have healing powers. Again, I will need medicinal supplies whenever the current stock expires. It will be useful to have conveyance to make frequent trips – may be a small vehicle. Actually I will probably not make frequent trips – so it will be good if I can bring lots of things at once – so a bigger car – may be a pickup truck will help. And I will need money to buy a-

Oh.

Damn. I am back where I am now.

Photograph © Kokonad Sinha

Too much too fast

There are way too many electronic devices in the world. Way way way way too many. And the fact they are out with a new model with incremental advantage by the time you open all the bubble wrap. The biggest regrets are accompanied with laptops, desktop computers, digital cameras and *some* Apple products. I mean, I just bought it – you are out with a new model already? And slashed the price of my model too! Come on!

My complaint, however, is not with that exactly. I want to run a comparison with the early 90s and before. When a person used to buy something, be it a car or even a radio, the love for it used to be eternal. The affection one had for his or her electronic item was possessive and beautiful. There was no competition for years to come and one did not get envious of a friend buying a better one…

Let me take an example where I myself am involved. Way back in 1996, I was gifted a Sony Walkman. Oh man I loved it! I used to wipe it regularly, used smart battery practices and used it frequently. ALL THE WAY TILL 2002. So that lasted over 6 yeras. After which cassettes went obsolete and CDs came in. My brother gave me my first portable CD player and that stayed with me till 2007 (5 years later), when I bought my iPod Touch. Three months after my purchasing it, Apple released its 2nd generation iPod Touch which is better than mine in so many ways… but the advantages of the second model are fairly incremental in nature and one can do without them. But still, it is marketed in such a way that it is absolutely essential to have that update, because you are going to reach happiness much faster.

My point is, electronic items are increasingly becoming disposable. With huge numbers already being produced at this time, product life in the market has been reduced to a few blinks of the eye. Can anyone else see things spiraling out of control? What can we expect in 2020? What kind of choices will our next generation be presented with?

Some food for thought. (In retrospect, most of the graph also holds *somewhat* true for boyfriends/girlfriends :P)

Your love for electronicsLove thy gadget
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