All it took was a bicycle ride to go down memory lane.
I took the ‘road not taken’ after a very long time; it’s been a few years since I took one. The ‘road not taken’ was not a metaphor here. I did really wander into true wilderness, a chance remark of the road by a new acquaintance set my senses tingling with curiosity. My confidence was my familiarity with the local language, but that was not enough to make it the full distance. Distance wasn’t a deterrent, but the solitariness of the terrain was. The sound of silence, the chirping of crickets and the ‘beware of wild elephants’ signs also was. While managing to cycle at a pace so that elephants didn’t catch me unawares, and simultaneously trying to take pictures of the forest surrounding me, realization dawned.
This was a place where humans were scarce. A country of billion people, only two bikes and three bicycles passed me in half an hour. My mobile was silent too, no network! Space was not a premium here; technology here hadn’t kept pace with the rest of the world.
Suddenly the world appeared to be getting prepared to go back to an age when there was no automation or technology. Were humans getting tired of getting everything at their fingertips, without manual intervention? Most enterprises still searched for the elusive ‘Straight through processing (STP)’ in all aspects of their businesses. If absolute STP were possible, there would be only type of end consumer. A situation where all human interventions were eliminated resulted in no requirement of human power. So, how would the eliminated ones earn their bread, and how would they become end consumers?
Enough movies have been made and novels written, which depict human race on the brink of extinction owing to excess technology being created. Where would we go from here? The next step did not seem to find land, just a vast expanse of ether. Commutation didn’t seem to need the motorbikes and cars to take us wherever we wanted to go; communication didn’t seem to need the gadgets that eliminate proximity from fellow beings.
The world seemed to stand still for a moment. I had visited this place in my previous birth, any one’s previous birth for that matter. I had traversed the time warp into an age where there was just joy, a sense of belonging and a daily ambition to just see another day. No cars, only motion; no phones, only communication; no watches, only time.