One fine day I noticed my Gmail account which used to flood with emails, useful and spam, all through the day didn’t have any new mail notification for me. The child in me discovered google account too can run out of space. Everything has a limit, indeed. When you load your google account with stuff like photos and videos worth GB, such a day was sure to come! Never did I imagine I would have to clean my Gmail after all that we do to clean Outlook, it’s exasperating!
Nonetheless, few hours of my day had to be devoted to making space so that I could receive Emails again! I was awestruck by the drastic change in the quantity and quality of the Emails when I went down the memory lane with the ones received and sent during my schooldays!
There were 3 eras, as I can now define.
- Landline era –
The only interaction apart from school or class, was through the landline. The situation at home started to heat up with lengthy telephone bills! But we had important stuff to discuss then. The situation hence risen, introduced us to the magical world of electronic mail (e-mail). Emails contained stupid “food-for-thought”, forwards, “cute” images or world’s best things listed down, and things which make you laugh out while reading them now after all these years. Gmail was the black horse then among others like Yahoo, Hotmail, and Rediffmail. Google, during the early days, required an invite by someone who is already a member to own an account! Yeah, you didn’t have a Gmail account – you owned one. For some, it was a matter of pride!
- Not-so-Smart-Mobile phone era –
You no longer met your old friends frequently, as you did a few months back! You were the lucky one if you owned a cell phone. Free messages defined the prepaid pack while getting a recharge. I had this one friend, who kept collecting 1 rupee coins to call from a PCO! Nice gesture. Call from an unknown landline number – it’s him!Email subjects got replaced with one line messages. “What’s up” “Let’s meet up” were some of the notable lines which set the trend. Exchange of Emails giving an update of things on the other side of the globe increased with people traveling! Constant logging on the computer while looking forward to new Emails in Inbox was such a thrill! Managing the internet pack on desktops and finding the correct time to chat at godly hours, then, with a friend who kept traveling was the best thing to do. Landline bills reduced but the time spent exchanging emails increased exponentially. Since groups scattered and they were the only ones you knew after school, getting to know what they are up to was the most important task. In time to come, the introductioN of Orkut was a significant step in making us stay glued to the desktop.
- Smartphones era –
The most efficient age of course, but then there is no waiting for the mail, no looking at the clock to catch up with the time zones, no look forward to meeting or talking to someone after ages!! It’s like everything is just a click away! In many ways it’s good, but I genuinely miss the black and white era!
Our generation never felt the personal touch of expression with hand written letters. We never speak about inland letters, rather some of us don’t even know how they look, no chance we can talk about them and stamps and envelopes and postcards and postman. There was an excitement to receive the expected and unexpected letters from our relatives and friends when we saw the postman!
We are the generation born with improved technology, we might have been the ones with whom the black & white televisions phased out, the telegraph system phased out but still we managed to experience the hand written letters in the form of Emails just to an extent. I miss those days! Did you right now, at least for a few seconds?
In the path of progress, you are outdated if you go back to following ancient methods, but it is indeed a surprise to see a mail in your box once a while, and it is definitely more effective than a WhatsApp ping!