Neo-Luddite on the loose

Computer Anthem: Have you saved, have you saved?

Ludditespeak: We don't shave, we don't shave.

So here´s another great print push for the even greater Internet cause. Himal, tu has turned Brutus. Here was a magazine which said it revered the printed word. Now what´s to become of us poor heathens, gawky as we´re with machines? Another technological marvel is passing us by, leaving us green-eyed and silly as always. And it´s particularly pinching since they say the Internet is the wildest orgy ever. If I had an email address it would be And amidst the runaway technological success of the WWW (woof woof woof) consider the plight of the average South Asian postal person. My own postman´s angst was most upsetting. "Sar, they say I´m going to lose my job and my post office will be used for a mortuary." Well, don´t you believe the snobbish high-tech dandies, I told him. They´ve, without checking with any one of us, gone ahead and emailed the epitaph for the entire global postal administration. They insult with snide references to "snail mail". But surely, the dogs, better judges than humanity and without a computer terminal to their name, would never silently suffer such a parting with the much-awaited visitor.

Then, what about the whole art of actually posting a letter? The writing done (using the mighty fountain pen, the pagan tool), the address all properly capitalised on the quaint-smelling envelope, a furtive lick and then the journey to the fire-engine red postbox. One last check, and you put your hand into cool netherworld, careful that you don´t crush the letter on its way down. The whole orgiastic experience will be a thing of the past if VSNL and PTCL have their way.   But our Netizens will never fathom the beauty of ink on paper. These are the one-day buffs who do not understand the intensity of Test match cricket. These guys are far too lost in the hype of their own making: sitting pretty in the Cyberia mansions which look down upon the honest ghettos. What colossal hype: trying to sell us the idea that the Internet is the greatest democracy of all time, that geography as we know it is gone, and that a massive revolution is underway. Hot air, blah-blah.

Tell me, honestly, is there need for more talk, more communication, more onslaught on the Queen´s language? Is not what the Subcontinent needs just some quiet intro-´spection? Let´s not [stretch matters any further, already we´re meddling too much into others´ affairs. We need silence, not babble. In all this, the biggest betrayal has come from the print-media. Should every other magazine have to carry a hoo-haa Internet story? Should everyone have a Website that no one visits? Shouldn´t the low-tech sub be allowed to sit in a corner with pen and paper? Should the ones with aversion to machines, be marginalised?   We´re not whining. I, the post man, the librarian, the lion´s share of South Asia´s population, are made of sterner stuff. We won´t let ourselves be raped by technology. In the august company of the Queen of England (on whose Net site I am going to use a flame thrower one of these days), we shall stand up for the pure and genuine. Long live hard copy!

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Himal Southasian