Flee The Tech PrisonThere was a time i could multiply 196 by 832, call my friends, family, lovers without referring to a phone book, remember the birthdays of those who mattered most to me, spell every word i knew without the slightest hesitation. I never owned a dictionary nor a phone book. Yes, i had a calculator on my desk but that was not to add, subtract, divide or multiply. It was for multiple calculations, finding square roots of impossibly large figures, which i needed while solving mathematical puzzles, my favourite source of shortterm amusement. Today i use my cellphone to add and subtract, recall phone numbers and faces, remind me about birthdays. My laptop tries to correct my spellings, language, grammar and often makes mistakes itself. No, i don’t need to remember anything at all. Google helps me find it in an instant. What was the song Bade Ghulam Ali sang in Khudita Pashan, Tagore’s unforgettable ghost story that Tapan Sinha directed, for which Ali Akbar Khan wrote the music? Who directed Edward Scissorhands? Who was India’s first education minister? Was Jailhouse Rock the King’s first big hit? How does one become a citizen of Melchizedek? Google has an answer for most things, from curing your cat’s diarrhoea to which old bookshop in London may have the 1921 edition of Lorca’s Libro de Poemas. When Google fails, there’s Twitter. Somebody, somewhere, will always have an answer to the question bothering you. The answer need not always be right. None of us look for right answers in life. We look for answers that comfort us. It’s a bit like finding God. If he doesn’t exist, we’ll have to manufacture him.
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