Shrinking world?

To write in a post that ‘the world is shrinking’ or that technology is bringing the world closer is to say nothing new. It’s almost like being a Gallileo-too-late and waking up to declare to the world that it…is actually round. ‘Yeah, what of it? What’s new?’ So, well, nothing ‘earth-moving’ in that (if you follow my desperate attempt at pun).
Yet, you wonder sometimes if we take these statements and progressive (or so I’m made to believe) proclamations—in technology, economy, or yoga practices—at face value, believing much too easily and without debate. So, what prompts me on a work-evening to launch into a sermon that will pull you out of the Matrix and make you see the conspiracy theory behind it all? Just a couple of articles I read, each startling in its right to either side of the spectrum (besides temporary joblessness).
One is about the latest social networking sensation (yeah, I know, ‘another one!’) called Twitter (GQ-British, May 2009) that allows you to tell the world ‘What you are doing’ in 140 characters.
The other is about the 11-year old ‘suicide bomber’ called Abdullah (police say he’s the youngest they’ve seen) who was caught, strapped in explosives, and who said when interrogated that he knew he’d be ‘in pieces.’ (TOI, Mumbai, 8 April 2009).
Twitter, according to the article, is a rage in the US and the UK, and a lot of celebs are ‘on it.’ The idea is to write out pint-sized texts of your day to day, nay, hour to hour activity. So, the ‘real Britney Spears,’ as Twitter promises, tells you what she’s doing right now, just as does Barack Obama, it seems. And thus, you get to follow other people’s lives. And you get to tell other people about such things of utmost importance as ‘sipping coffee,’ ‘lazing at work’ (if your Boss is not on your list), ‘going to sleep’ or ‘visiting my grandmother.’ I know you’re probably saying, ‘he’s late to the party,’ but it’s quite amazing for me to think that things I thought trivial, it seems, are now things that interests the entire world, if Twitter’s 1000 per cent rise of users is anything to go by. And in this mad rush to almost-voyeuristically peep into others’ lives and exhibition your own (obviously celebs love it), it seems that worlds and peoples are coming closer than ever before. I’m not ‘Tweeting’ yet, but my Facebook homepage tells me I can change my status message via sms. So, there’s already competition on the horizon to fuel a mad rush towards, what this writer calls, “a test of our powers of concentration” and what some would call, a fresh onslaught at privacy. Millions of lives and activities are closer to us than ever before. Truly technology is connecting us like never before, connecting people across time-zones, social boundaries and cultures. I can brose Google Maps to figure out my way from VT to Juhu, the gyms I am enquiring give me info on phone, and I can access my bank account online! Yay.
But even as my friend visiting Calcutta from London and taking a flight back from Hyderabad to Heathrow tells me about the convenience and reduced flight-rates, I know that the 11-year old suicide bomber and his country are less flying hours from Heathrow and yet, beyond my reach, physically, and in thought.
It’s amazing how in our happy bid to create out hi-fi little ‘global village,’ we left out people, races and regions entirely. Young Abdullah goes to a school where he’s taught how to use Kalashnikovs, and “about the foreigners coming to Muslim lands, killing women and children.” “When I’m older I’ll kill non-Muslims. If I don’t, they’ll come to our homes and kill us” is his warped image of our global village.
So, what went wrong, I think. Why, when everyone woke up to the happy, 20th Century modern world, did this boy and his entire race get left behind? Global politics, ignorance, or religious extremisim, I don’t know for sure. But our cocooned little worlds aren’t as pretty or as small as we think it to be. Abdullah is not on Twitter, but Google gives me 168,000 results for ‘Abdullah suicide bomber.’


Jayeeta Mazumder said...

Very thought provoking and yet at places the article confused, well, all the more thought provoking!!!
Good work!

Sarit said...

As they say of the golde rule, 'If you can't convince, confuse!' Apologies for the typos though. I spotted them only now.

tanmaysekhar said...

hey its (thought) provoking, really touched my senses...!!!