As I sat down before a grubby beaten-down keyboard, a hesitant mouse and an archaic terminal laiden with a slow motion Windows-98...I realized it's gonna be long haul to finish up my daily rituals on the net. It was one of the confining cubicle spaces here and I can't move my legs or hands except on the keyboards, and just like me, many of the young sweating punters were busy peeping into their monitors...some doing their Rediff/Hotmail/Orkut, some playing solatire online, some occupied with their yahoo chat rooms, some oogling at the pics of...you-know-what, some good ones Googling for their school assignments, while some serious ones drafting their one-page CV on the pirated Microsoft Office Word 2007 (Huh. I still don't have the latest version on my lappy...and they've got it in their cranny Cybercafe in this rickety half-built house here in a considerably remote part of the world).
I remember when the Open-Source evangelist Richard M. Stallman came to my college, he seemed all excited about his quest for expanding his Free Software foundation in India...because of high rate of piracy here (the reason he himself pointed out)!
As I got along with my work I found a small 7-year-old sneaking into my system, and just then he quizzed me with a candid smile "Bhaiya net pe accha interesting sa dekhyae na..." (Bro please show something worth enough on internent here...). I thought there's so much of the world out there for this chap but I swear I can't show them all to him...And I kept thinking...
Anyway this is another story. What concerns me here is the limitlessness of the internet (in terms of how much it can help you) and the general ignorance people all around have about it (especially here in small places where they can utilize their plenty of time and mind on it). Apart from regular recognized services everyone knows about (i.e. Mail/Orkut/Trading etc), there are thousands of useful Tools/How-To's/Forums to aid you for daily living. Then you have sites that pay you just for visiting or reviewing or writing, sites that let your craft and creativity reach the world, sites that can give them new identity and sites for learning with fun. These things can be of enormous interest to junta if they ever knew about it...WHO'S GOING TO TELL THEM?
Who can guide them and tell that just an e-Choupal movement is not enough, through internet we have the potential to do lot more, to change a million lives. Companies and Banks are doing their part to reach out...but when'll masses realize there are other important avenues that they need to explore and more importantly, that should be far away from commercialization. Small town sentiments and mindsets are different and they are more keen and fussy about small details in life. We need some light and directions is here...I am seeing a Business Plan here :)
[ In between, just as I finished typing my mails in the cafe...Poof! the power went off and its gone, all terminals blacked off...they have a dozen computers with no UPS! ]