Technology changes, emotions don’t

By Victor Mukherjee

Growing up in a god-forsaken small village on the south east coast of West Bengal, life was never easy. The technology which existed in our lives are the usual suspects. A Videocon colour TV, a Philips two-in-one radio, a Kelvinator fridge and my most favourite Nintendo TV games which introduced me to two of my all time favorite games, ‘Mario’ & ‘Contra’. But as we had to live in the era of state electricity boards, most of the time these gadgets never worked due to load shedding. And that got me hooked into reading story books. Especially thrillers and science fictions. Issac Assimov & Phillip K. Dick were the two authors I loved to read. There were a few Bengali science fiction writers who were hugely inspired by H.G. Wells. And the local library had all the books.

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In one such book, I read about a device which is like a smaller version of a computer. Please note, I am talking of a time when Windows 95 was yet to release and the only portable device we knew off was the five and half inch floppy disk. The thought of this device made me visualize it my own way. Back then every machine used to have a jog dial, so my dream portable computer had a screen that is portable and can be attached to any device on the world. India was yet to experience the Internet then. So my first thought was to put this portable device to good use by playing Mario and Contra on it. With one of my imaginary devices I could connect it to any corner of the world and play a 2-player Contra. That device will also back up as a communication device and by attaching a handset to it, I could use it as a high powered satellite radio (That was also the pre-mobile age).

Other than these, that device would store all the comic books in the world and I could read from those, write all my stories there and whenever I am tired, it would play music to soothe my mind. That imaginary gadget was all I needed to have a happy life. It would let write my stories, let me connect with people, keep me entertained, and keep my mind relaxed. I named it Vic-live (I was so sure I would invent it… if only physics marks did not betray big time).

Ten years down the line, with the invasion of laptops, I finally believed, that something like this would happen and a tablet was exactly what I envisioned Vic-Live to be. And surprisingly it does the same things that I wished Vic-Live to do (well, without my imaginary jog-dialled accessories). And with the portability it allows me to do all those things on the move – working, reading, listening to music and more. But the one thing I still enjoy on a tab is playing a game. Unfortunately I don’t have the contra anymore, but I have Temple Run, Subway Surfers, Batman and my favourite Plants vs Zombies. Wherever I have a little time in my busy life, be it at airport, waiting to meet someone, taking a break from work, I quickly go back to my game to finish another level. And this takes me back by twenty years when I used to sit in front of my Nintendo and wait to finish one level. Technology changes, gadgets change but the emotions always stay the same. For years we build this emotional connect with technology, and it never lets us down…

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