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It's been a while since I took a vacation and I'm really looking forward to my upcoming month-long break. I must admit, though, that I have this uncanny habit of getting myself into strange situations. My last day before I took off, saw me get into one such 'situation'! Deepak, our Test Centre head asked me if I was really going to be away from work for a whole month. I replied with an emphatic "Yes!" Little did I know that this would also keep me away from the Internet and not just work for a month. In true military style volunteering, I had volunteered to spend a month without the Internet. God save me!
The start of a long lazy month… I am really looking forward to a hot cup of coffee and my morning dose at www.extremetech.com. With a steaming cup of coffee, I head for the computer and am aghast to discover that the Internet is down. How could this be? Without further a do, I call up the ISP and let the operator have it! After checking up on some details, I am reminded that I had asked for the connection to be discontinued for a month. Me? And then, realisation sets in that I am working on an article and have to spend a month without the Internet. A bit like being in the wilderness without any means of communication, if you ask me… I mutter some apologies and wonder what one can do to spend time without the Internet. I can already feel the withdrawal symptoms setting in.
To make my month in the wilderness easier, I had a week-long trip planned with a friend, but that has been postponed by a few days.
A panicked friend calls up to find out if I'm okay… of course I am, I tell him. "You haven't been online for the last five days," he reminds me. This actually made me wonder how little we speak to our friends… it's almost taken for granted that your 'friends' will be online and a smiley can replace the laughter and smiles you used to share.
I am still at my computer but it just doesn't feel this same. No e-mails, no forums… can't read up on anything or can't even download stuff… I could go to a net cafÃ©, but that would defeat the purpose of the exercise. Hmmm. It's 11 pm and I have nothing better to do than sleep. Well, good night!
I can't take this anymore… so I draw up a list of things I can do on the computer without having to use the Internet. Games in single-player mode, e-books from Digit CDs, clean up the hard drive, listen to music, watch DVDs… not bad, huh?
Finally… I leave town today hoping I won't miss the Internet.
I'm back from the trip and I am a bit tired. My younger brother has a go at me for disconnecting the Internet, but I stick to my guns… well, almost. I give him some money to go to a net cafÃ© and save myself from being talked into reinstating the severed connection.
I've caught up a fair bit on what's been happening on TV. And I agree 'Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin'. Who else can run Windows on an iMac? But newspapers suck as far as TV schedules are concerned. My trusty Internet lets me go to website, download the months schedule, export it to Excel and mark my favourite programmes. Eight long days to go.
I met an old friend today and he asked me to go with him. Where? For an encounter with the other kind! He was just going to a library! It was nice to experience the unmistakeable scent of books once again. I picked up a couple of books myself… Believe it!
It's over… I shall be free of my misery! World Wide Web… here I come! But was the experience any good? In a way, yes. The Internet is a tool and is only good as long as you keep in control. Too much of any good thing can be bad!