Friday, January 07, 2005

A flyway in 36 hours!

It's an amazing bit of news, isn't it? This whole deal about building a flyover around the ITO area in 36 hours.... Prefab and what not.
I remember when my sister was moving into their rather plush apartment in Gurgaon a year or so back, they had arranged for a prefab kitchen or something. Now, I still don't know what it was all about, but it appears that they chose a kitchen from a pile of choices, and brought it home. Now, obviously that's not possible. Therefore, I don't know what prefab things are. And how a flyover can be prefab(ricated), I really have no way of fathoming.
Anyway...Ajitha and I were discussing the news report, and then got talking about the stale old topic of how things are so different now from when we were growing up. Strictly in terms of technology. Jabberwock's been part of these discussions with us often, and we have agreed on this whole deal about people born in the 1980s. About how they can really not be people the way we are.
It's one thing to be a bit patronising about people born in the decade or generation after yours. But that's not all true here. In this case _ people born in the 1980s vis-a-vis people born earlier _ the deal is a lot stronger. There really isn't much between people from the 1960s and the 1970s...except for the odd television set (black-and-white of course) thrown in. Cassettes instead of LPs too, but that surely wasn't a move forward... Think about it. In terms of technology, what did we (born in the 1970s and therefore 28!) have that a generation before us didn't? Zilch.
And then we come to the 'Born in the 1980s' and 'Becoming Coherent in the 1990s and 2000s' lot. Internet (the single most important invention in human history, easily), mobile phones, CDs, DVDs....LDs and stuff have for long been defunct. And now, frefab flyovers!
It's probably just envy talking here, but I'd like to believe it's more than just that. I hate to think of a 'people' who don't know what communication mess-ups are about. They don't know what libraries are meant to provide. They don't know what planning to watch a particular movie and going back day after day to find a ticket for that movie is about. They don't know how p-u-n-c-t-u-a-l-i-t-y is spelt, because they can all fix to meet at a particular time and be on their mobiles till they finally meet three hours later. During which time neither person would be at the appointed place, and if one of them had been, s/he would have found 200 places to do 500 things in.
With prefab flyways, they won't even know about traffic jams! Not just general jams, but jams brought about because of the construction of flyovers, which have traiditionally taken over a year to concretise. (No concrete now, apparantly)
Now, it's another matter that I can't see myself surviving (living, working) without the Internet or the mobile phone either. Or cable television, multiplexes, CDs (no DVDs yet), home delivery, etc. But heck, I know what it was like before. It might not have been better than it is now, but it was 'before'.
And this feeling of being an Arthur C Clarke or Douglas Adams character from the town that's just been sucked into an alien spaceship isn't too hot. Really, despite its romantic feel.