I’d like to say I haven’t written for a week to prepare myself for the mountain that is GloPoWriMo, because starting today, I’ll be writing one piece of poetry everyday. But I’d be lying. I haven’t written for a week because I haven’t gotten myself around to writing. It’s as simple as that.
I’ve maintained multiple e-mail accounts since I started using the computer for my own purposes. My first memories of a computer stretch back to 2004 and 2005, when, as part of the technology boom wherein my dad picked up a Nokia N95 Connector, we were privileged to have an HP Laptop in our house.
Actually, scratch that. It goes further back. I used Windows 98 on a big desktop PC in our house – to play Pinball, watch Tell Me Why CD’s and play a couple of deemed-to-be-educational games.
Anyway, post the HP Laptop, my grandfather installed Typing Tutor and tried to teach me the art of speed typing. He even helped me create my first e-mail ID on Yahoo. It ended with .co.uk – a fitting tribute to my colonial past as an Indian, but offered me something I could boast about to my friends – a presence on the interwebs.
I eventually found out this wasn’t the sort of presence on the Internet that mattered to people of my age. What mattered more was your Miniclip ID and the corresponding points you had earned, or whether you were a ClubPenguin/RuneScape Member (I was not). Nonetheless, I was pretty impressed with an e-mail ID, and because Typing Tutor expected discipline and daily practice, I weaseled out of it by formulating a typing style of my own.
That led to a manifestation of my thoughts about Kids Next Door on Microsoft Word – documents I still possess and value deeply.
When GMail erupted and you could voice chat through GTalk + they offered unlimited storage, my grandfather switched over. Soon, my dad did too, and I followed, creating a new e-mail ID in Bangalore during my 2006 holidays. It was crazy. GTalk opened up communications for me and my dad when he was in India, away from the prying eyes of my mother, and I assume he valued it more than I did at the time. To me, as a child, I thought GTalk was super cool because of how advanced technology was becoming, but to my father, it was an opportunity for him to talk to his son one-on-one. From Bangalore, he monitored my internet use.
From Bangalore, he monitored my internet use. I had auto-login enabled, so he knew when I signed in (to play RuneScape) and when I signed off. This worked till I learned about the Invisible mode (and therefore extended my gametime without his knowledge). Sorry dad.
I operated primarily on this ID for everything between 2006 and 2015 – the year I came to college. The e-mail ID posed a lot of social problems. Innocent as my intentions were when I created the account, an amalgamation of my parents’ names is also a very popular Indian feminine name. Which led to some (a lot) of teasing. An explanation however led to an animated situation where my friends found it cool, but couldn’t express their sentiments, since they had already made fun of me.
I switched over from this account in college, operating on a more formalized, so-to-speak, ID. However, so many essential functions were linked to the old account, that I had to log-in till I switched everything over. Having managed that, I logged in a few weeks ago to find some 300-odd mails left unread in my mailbox.
With some time on my hands these days I read through old e-mails. Things I sent during my time at school, responses I received, my chats with my friends from when I wasn’t on Facebook & WhatsApp didn’t exist, and that set off a massive nostalgia trip.
Aside from that nostalgia trip, it provided this amazing perspective on what has shaped me today. It’s crazy, but I have an e-mail from every strong memory that I have associated with school. Whether it was something positive: Board Results, Student Council Elections, MUNs, or something downright negative: A good sounding from dad, an e-mail from grandpa that went unread that he caught me out on, chats that went awry, a semblance of this exists on my Google Inbox.
I understand today with some maturity that I am a product for Google to sell, and a lot of spam I receive is Google’s doing, but damn, technology, and damn, science. You’ve provided a way for me to re-live a couple of years at a click of a button.
Forget the nostalgia trip. Go through your e-mail inbox when you’re feeling at your lowest.
You’ll find rays of sunshine and pearls of wisdom that have made you everything you are today.
And that’ll set you up for something truly special tomorrow.
In Anticipation of a month of poems (and hopefully normal blog posts),