Thursday May 05, 2022

Old days had their own charm, despite limitations

Old days had their own charm, despite limitations

Representational image.

The other day my friend in England sent me a lovely video of her taking a walk in a local park. I then sent her pictures of old Dubai that I thought she would like to see. The photos took ages to go and for a minute I thought it might have had something to do with a slow internet connection. When I told her that they were taking time to come through she said that her video was taking time to come through too. I then realised that it wasn’t a slow Wi-Fi connection but the size of the images. She then sent me a voice message reminding me of how we had to take our reels of films to a local chemist to have them developed and if we wanted to send them to someone we had to post them.

And the time they took to reach the recipient depended upon the destination and the amount you paid for the postage. It was also more difficult to send to places where the postage system was irregular. Yes, that aspect of being able to send images and videos at the press of a button is the best. But I think that, despite all the conveniences of today’s life, some aspects of the old days were better.

Yes we had to use phone booths to make calls on the go and most of the phone booths were icky. We didn’t seem to be bothered about who might have used the phone before us. It looked unclean yet we got in anyway. Of course, today we have a phone in our pockets. A phone that does more than just make phone calls. It can make video calls, take pictures, surf the internet and we can even conduct our shopping and banking with them.

To be honest, a lot of what our phones can do and a lot of what others can do with their phones is frightening. On Eid day I was walking past a group of men taking photos of each other. I was extra careful about where I walked in case I also ended up in their pictures.

 Today’s cameras take digital photos and these photos can be manipulated using free software. But with the old cameras it was impossible to turn a picture, or part of a picture, into anything other than what it was.

I also like the old days when everything was in hard copy. Magazines, books and photographs, everything was available in print. No one ever told us to download it onto a device. I find it easier to read things in hard copy. I have also found that when I’m painting from an image, it is far easier for me than having to stare at a screen. I can measure up and measure down from a hard copy a lot better than I can when the image is on a phone. Measuring accurately is a problem when the image moves. In fact, there is a YouTube artist I follow who always advises artists to take a colour printout of an image they wish to work from.

 Back to the old days, and not technology related at all, ever wondered what you’d do without an internet connection? Well, firstly your smartphone would be just a phone. But that’s okay. I think that, as long as you can make a call, you will survive. I turn off my phone around 8 or 9 in the evening.

To be honest, there’s only so long you can keep scrolling through your social media feed. The quotes are irritating and so is the advertising. And, to be frank, I don’t really care where someone is or what they’re doing ‘today’. Or what or where they’ve eaten. In fact, I don’t understand why other people care what their friends are eating. I saw a movie the other day about a single dad taking care of his two kids. Instead of having her breakfast the teenage daughter was too busy taking photos of it.

The frustrated dad told her to eat her breakfast because no-one cared about what she was eating. I think he was wrong, and maybe I’m wrong too. Perhaps people always wanted to know what their friends and acquaintances were eating. But because there was no internet they couldn’t find out except by asking. So perhaps this is not an internet trend at all.

 The last remnant of the old days that I hope is never discontinued is a traditional library where I can pick up an actual book and read it. Not online but a physical book whose pages I can turn and where I can use a physical bookmark. I don’t mind carrying around a book in my bag. Yes it takes up a little bit of weight and space but that beats making sure my device is fully charged so it doesn’t go flat in the middle of a good read.

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