That was a very hectic day, even by standards of a government day, for it was Monday, the internet has ushered the speed like never before. There used to be days in bureaucracy when a letter flagged as urgent would find some level of attention after few days. The entire working culture in the government sector has changed, it has become efficient than before. Now, one has to be glued to the email to check at regular intervals emails from headquarter. The emails from headquarter in New Delhi now comes with a deadline and the deadline is now not in days but in hours. For example, an email arrives at 11.00 am with the response time of three hours. The response is expected by 2.00 pm. If no response is sent the phone or even the mobile phone of concerned official starts ringing and yes, the call comes from New Delhi. This is no exaggeration, by any standards. We had an upcoming national level exhibition coming up in a few days and we were at our busiest best.
Time has changed and has changed very fast. I had penned an article titled Lost in Transition about the period when computers took over the rudimentary cracky typewriters and the end of typing institutes. I had no time that day though to ponder back, for there were lots of work to be done. It was around 12.45 and our lunch break was nearing. I received a phone call from my reception informing that a guest had come to meet me. I was a bit irritated for the timing of the guest, first, the person had come when I was very busy and second it was during much-deserved lunch break. I went to the reception to check who the guest was and why he had come uninvited. To my surprise and shock, i found Mr.Sonawane, the typewriter mechanic referred in my earlier article. Mr.Sonawane was a tired man now, his dress was torn and soiled, like his shoes. He smiled at me, to be frank, i was feeling embarrassed, for the colleagues were now staring at this ‘guest’ of mine. I took the person to our canteen for a cup of tea, in a bid to cut short his visit and to avoid him to take him to my cabin. He sat there, drank a couple of glasses of water, he was a tired man now. I was feeling pity. He inquired about my family, my mother my kid and with a faint sigh said here is my son who threw me out of his house. A father in him, still inquired, whether I had seen his son or his family members of late, he inquired about their well-being. I came to know that he had shifted to his native place after losing it in Mumbai. I don’t know what had gone so terribly wrong in his family life that his son threw him out of the house. I knew Mr.Sonawane was alcoholic. Even in his prime, he was a regular drinker. But, then, he could afford such luxuries and as long as he could fund his family, his alcoholic habit was ignored. The man went back in the time and started remembering his old days when his Institute was running fine. He recollected that I was a good and obedient student. Memories were all that this poor man had now to treasure.
Just then the waiter came and I ordered two cups of tea. The man almost admonished me and said that this was lunch time and I was ordering just a cup of tea. I ordered a lunch for the old man. And man, he gulped it like as if he had not eaten well for few days. He admitted that in no uncertain terms that he did not eat properly. I was starting to feel very down now, somehow, I maintained my composure, I gave him few rupees and gave me my mobile number to stay in touch. I excused myself citing busy schedule, it was not a lie after all, but, I could not face that poor man anymore, for I had seen this man in his days at the top.
The man failed to keep pace with technology and was thrown to the sidelines, while, technology and sudden influx of technology gave birth to many new dreams, it abruptly ended few as well.
Change is essential, change is unstoppable, one has to sense the change coming and adapt to the changes to remain in the flow.