Until a few years ago, the first things I set my eyes on when I awoke in the morning were one of these - the poster on my wall that cried "NEVER GIVE UP", the tumbler of coffee that my Mom threateningly left on my study table saying "This is the last time I'm heating this coffee for you! You better get out of bed!", the clear blue sky outside my window (In India I lived on the 6th floor of our building, so there wasn't much to obstruct the view of the lovely sky) and sometimes if I woke up really really late (read 10 AM or later) then I was most definitely woken up by our maid servant sweeping the floor of my room. Ah, those were the days!
Nowadays, I invariably wake up to one sight - the desktop background on my laptop! In fact, my laptop is closer to my bed than my cellphone, or even my spectacles! Subconsciously, the first thing I do when my eyes open up in the morning is to boot my laptop up, login to Gmail hoping to see some unread messages in my inbox. :) This is followed by some other inboxes, facebook, the news, some music and back to more facebook snooping before I can actually drag myself away from my computer!
Its funny how much all of us are dependent on the internet. This other day, one of my friends missed a call on his cellphone from a number he didn't recognize. This friend I talk about is quite a slave of the internet. So, instead of calling the number back, he "Googled" out the number! Turned out that the number was one of those promo offer numbers from the service provider and in fact, there was a forum online that had discussed how annoying the calls from that number were! Man! Gone are the days when you used a 1000 something page telephone directory to painstakingly find the number of the local restaurant so you could reserve a dinner table for your big, fat family on a Saturday night. Now you just google out the restaurant and what's more, some of them allow you to check the menu online, so you can order over the phone itself!
Two years ago, when I first came to the US, I never took the internet seriously. I would check my email once in a day. My instant messaging stints were limited to 5-6 line conversations. I didn't know the first thing about ordering stuff online. A big jerk came when I learned that most of my courses' study material was online. That was then. Now, I check my email every five minutes. I chat with my friends incessantly about the most trivial subjects. I've ordered everything from airline tickets to backpacks online. And for the most embarrassing part - I borrowed five books from the library last month in an effort to do some self studying. Ironically, I've been doing all my self study from online resources while those books gather dust in my living room! And if you think this is a lot, I know of people who take music classes over Skype. Beat that! :)
But I wonder where all this is taking us. How much more virtual can we get? I do have an idea in that direction actually! It occurred to me the other day when I was video chatting with my Mum while cooking. I wished I could communicate to her the aroma that was emanating from the food that I was cooking! That was the only thing that was lacking in that whole conversation. My Mom could see what I was cooking, she could hear the crackling and spluttering of oil. Hopefully, there will soon be a day when she can smell it too! Atleast then she'll believe that I'm a decent cook. :)