It was the mid 80's of the last century. I was in Class VIII living in the Bihar township of Dhanbad (presently in Jharkhand). Back then we subscribed to an English daily of Kolkata which used to reach us in late evening, about 5 pm.
Though I used to read almost all sections of the daily, the Editorial page attracted me the most. As I loved to read the column "Letters to the Editor", a fascination took birth in me to share my opinion also on various issues. Thereafter I started to send letters, most of which were getting published also.
Now the writing process. After exploring the daily and finding issues to write upon, it is time to jot down my thoughts on a sheet of paper in the best possible handwriting. Thereafter enclosing it in an envelope, walking to the post office, purchasing a stamp, affixing it and thereupon dropping the envelope in the box so as to initiate the process of waiting! The letter would reach Kolkata in six-seven days and see the light of the day after 10-12 days! And I would have to wait till evening to view the published letter!
The situation turned a bit different after my shift to Kolkata in 2001 following my entry in the service sector. Now I could physically access more dailies of the city, both English and Bengali. Instead of dropping it in post boxes, I used to deliver the letters directly to the reception of the concerned dailies. But the process of writing it through a pen and enclosing it in an envelope continued to remain.
However the "revolutionary" change got witnessed after I "promoted" myself to the domain of the internet in 2008! All stories of pen, paper, ink, envelope and physical delivery turned into a piece of "antique" overnight! Just type the piece on the desktop and a mere click on the "Send" icon and instantly it goes to penetrate the concerned mailbox ---- right from Panaji to Imphal, Kathmandu to Colombo! It might reach Colombia as well in an instant if I had been enlightened about the Spanish language! Yes, thanks to the magical world of the web, dailies of the whole country and the world are in my grasp. Far from waiting till evening, I can view the dailies of the world right in their respective mornings! Promptly I can send my responses to view it published right on the next day or alternate day! In certain cases, mail sent after sunset has seen the light of the day along with next morning's sunrise! Simply unbelievable! Or within a few hours if the concerned daily carries an Online Edition !
And the latest change in my writing life has arrived after "graduating" to smartphones! Previously I had to remain present at home with the desktop in running condition. So I used to miss my writing persuasion while remaining out of station. But now I am carrying my "writing equipment" right in my pocket! Be it in the midst of a social ceremony within my city or a tour outside the state, smartphones still allow me to access dailies and send my pieces! Few months ago I was travelling in a long distance bus. To spend my time in a constructive way, I took refuge in the dailies accessed through the phone. Sun is fast moving towards the western horizon to shine in another part of the world and at that juncture I sent a letter to a New Delhi daily only to get published the next morning! That was my first experience of sending a letter from a moving bus to get published in the earliest possible occasion i.e. very next morning! What a drastic change from the mid-80s phenomenon! Seems like nothing but a fairy tale of sorts!
A giant technological leap indeed within just three decades! While this massive electronic innovation elicits a very big praiseworthy surprise; but wouldn't it have been also great had we witnessed such a drastic change in the social sphere also and in a positive direction! But alas, it is nowhere! While our mid 80-s dailies "graced" the news of Khalistani terrorism, anti-Sikh pogrom following Indira Gandhi assassination, Bhagalpur riots, Bhopal gas leak and social crimes of all hues; the dailies of today's era speak of the same(or rather more gruesome) sad stories of terrorism, riots, communal disturbances, religious/linguistic imperialism, and social strife with atrocities on women and vulnerable sections seem to be increasing with each passing day.
Can we come up with a technology possessing the potential to make a revolutionary change in the mindset of the general society also for the better!
(The views expressed are personal)