Why go out at all?

//Why go out at all?

Why go out at all?

The last time I went out, I caught sight of a new library a few kilometres from where I live.

Before I go any further, there are a couple of things I need to clarify: ‘The last time I went out’ was at least a month ago, if not two (I can barely remember); and the ‘new’ library could have opened three or four years ago – speaks volumes about how frequently I tour the neighbourhood.

Anyway, the view of the passing library stocked with books and more books reminded me that it was years since I stepped into a book lending library. It also reminded me of something I wanted to do for a long time – register at a popular online library here in Bangalore. I came back and did that, and reserved a couple of books I had wanted to read. They were delivered the next day.

Thus the library became one more place I used to go out to, that now arrives at my door. To think that somewhere in the periphery of our memory, there still exist dusty, book-smelling libraries we used to walk into, long queues we stood in patiently to pay bills, book stores we frequented to feel the rustle of fresh paper in our hands, hotels we visited to taste food we loved, shops we pushed our way into to buy our monthly provisions, wooden tables and chairs we sat in to run our pen over papers and files, …

They still exist in the world, of course, but it is easy to imagine a day when none of these would.

When Amazon came into existence, it was called the largest bookstore without a single book in it. It took me a while to understand what that meant.

I now pay all my bills online. A few of the bills I get by post, many arrive by email. When I need provisions, I call up the supermarket and within an hour I get everything in my hands. One day when my son needed a new pencil box, the boy from the shop brought two different types to my house for him to choose from.

For almost two years I have been working from home solely through email, using online whiteboards for discussions, online taskboards to track my work and Skype to chat with my colleagues.

In 2009, I published an anthology of stories and sold it through the Internet. Almost without taking a step outside my door – ‘almost’, because I did visit a couple of stores in Bangalore at first, before realising that their vendors could be contacted and the entire transaction managed through phone or email.

My daily dose of fresh air reaches me when I step out to the gate – in the morning to see my son off in his school van and in the evening to receive him.

My son’s school communicates with me through email or phone. I could skip the monthly Parent-Teacher meeting if I wish, and the teacher would call me on phone if required and update me on his progress.

Restaurants deliver food to the house, and there is a variety of food and places to choose from. One can buy dresses, books, CDs and even furniture through online stores – it’s just a matter of choose-and-click. All the latest movies are available on DVD or through the digital TV. With the home theatre, one does not even miss the ambience of the real cinema – popcorn and nachos could be delivered at the door.

In short, the only reasons why I may need to step out of the door is to get a haircut or take money from the ATM. I don’t see any change happening in the first in the near future, but I sometimes manage a home delivery of money by transfering funds to another’s account and asking that account owner to bring it to me.

Do I ever wish to go out? I do, once in a while, though I would rather not. A few minutes of the heat, dust, unruly traffic, and a handful of disgusting experiences are enough to send me running back to my sanctuary.

The day is not far when schools will be extinct and children would study directly from online tutorials, and take online exams. Already offices ask personnel to work from home when required.

I don’t think anyone who first envisioned the Internet dreamt that it would one day lead to solving traffic problems or fuel price hikes. People would soon not have to travel at all (except the ones who do the actual delivery – till a better method is devised), then how would there be traffic jams, and why would anyone need petrol?!

Those days are long gone when the whole world was within reach. Now when we knock on our own front door, the world opens it for us.

By |2018-12-10T11:17:21+00:00July 1st, 2012|As I see it|7 Comments

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  1. Banno July 2, 2012 at 3:06 am - Reply

    This is a post about my life. I do go out for yoga though. 🙂

  2. vadakkus July 3, 2012 at 5:06 am - Reply

    I make it a point NOT to buy stuff (any stuff) online because that experience as you said, with the musty smells of books and all, is unparallelled. I still try and go out as much as I can. The only thing preventing me from going out is not convenience and the internet, but laziness 😀

  3. Jean July 3, 2012 at 7:13 am - Reply

    Today's world caters to laziness more than anything else! 🙂

  4. Himangshu July 5, 2012 at 6:41 am - Reply

    Hey Jeena,

    I hope this finds you in good health. I received our book yesterday, and it was an amazing feeling to hold it in my hands. Loved reading your stories! Though, I was not happy with the book's overall editing. The mag people should've done some basic editing befor publishing. They were, atleast, a few glaring errors in my story!

  5. Jean July 5, 2012 at 10:33 am - Reply

    Hey Himangshu,
    Glad to know you received it finally. 🙂
    You're right, there are slight errors here and there. But those are nothing compared to the difficulties we went through to get it. LOL!
    Thanks for letting me know, Himangshu!

  6. Danny Simon July 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    Well written!
    ITs true everything can be done at home now! Gone are the days when we would stroll to shop!
    As for the ATMs, I guess that comes in handy if we are going to the local market to buy something, most of the other stuff is found online and can be paid through your net banking or credit cards!

  7. Jean July 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    True. But many of these services (online lib, supermarket, restaurants) still rely on cash-on-delivery, so I need money in my hand. 🙂
    Thanks for your comment.

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