After three weeks of being away from University, I gave in today and used my phone-a-friend option, to try connecting with a friend whose company I looked forward to everyday in class. We’ve been good friends for a while, which is not to say that he is my closest friend, yet a friend with whom I have been able to share every portion of the last five years. More often than not, we used to sit near each other in class, allowing us to talk about books and the law – which has, for the most part, been my preoccupation.
On that call today, I thought a lot about connectivity. While I’ve been privileged enough to be able to speak to my friends regularly on WhatsApp, chatting with them pretty much every day, I was thinking about how, for each of us, our preferences towards the form and manner of connectivity inspires the way our interactions take place and our relationships are built. It does take considerable effort for somebody who has an aversion toward phone calls, for example, to pick up the phone and speak to someone else. As it does for people who are bad at texting to reply to messages. However, in an era where so much technology is available, attitudes towards this technology defines, in a large way the nature of relationships that are built up.
I thought back for a while to my time at school – primary school, that is. It was difficult to become friends with new people, largely because while friendships were created out of common spaces and common circumstances (take the classes I attended, or, for example, summer camps I was able to participate in), they didn’t really sustain beyond that time period – because I hadn’t set up my e-mail ID yet, and we didn’t call each other up on the landline. The only person I do remember calling up, and that too, pretty religiously, is my childhood best friend. I believe I spoke to him after school on the phone a reasonable amount, especially when our classes changed and we ended up in different sections. It was, and remains, a fond memory – and the only reason I still remember his landline number (which has not changed).
That was on my mind today: the transitions that connections have gone through. Nokia’s old tagline was Connecting People. One day that was true of hardware. That era lies only in my memory palace now.