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Urban Junkie

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Beam me there

This post by Sujatha and a comment I wrote on it has had me musing on the ‘beam me up, Scottie’ theme for the past couple of weeks. Does anyone else experience the growing need I do, to shrink the world to city-size? To be able to hop across continents for simple everyday things like having coffee with a friend, going to the supermarket, or eating at a favourite restaurant? We’ve become so accustomed, haven’t we, to having everything a phone call away … or an sms or an email away? On email, there’s really no difference between a friend who lives in Bangalore and one who lives in London. In the virtual world many of us live in, it is easy to forget the limitations of geography. Which is why it is startling – and faintly annoying – when our bodies can’t follow where our minds (or hearts) are.

I remember a conversation with my mother last Diwali … when the whole family was there at her place for the traditional ‘Diwali lunch’ – and I, in Bangalore, was feeling the pangs of being left out. I could have, of course, gone to Delhi for Diwali … but that wasn’t the point. I wanted to be here in my own home, I didn’t really want to go to Delhi … I just wanted to hop across there for lunch, and be back in time to light my lamps in the evening. Why should that still not be possible, when so much else is?

For those of you who hop between cities – or countries – is there a confusion arising from the merging of worlds? Do you make plans to have dinner at a favourite restaurant, only to realize you’re geographically challenged? Do you find you need something that you know is available at the neighbourhood supermarket – but, oops – that’s no longer the neighbourhood you’re in? I want to be able to choose between Karavali (in Bangalore) and the East Coast (in Singapore) for dinner. I want to be able to hop across to The Bisque in Gurgaon for Date & Walnut Cake. I want to work in Bangalore and attend my dance workshops in Delhi. I want to be able to meet a friend in Cairo for a drink after work. To visit a sick friend in Mumbai and be back to walk the dogs in the evening.

High time, isn’t it, that we could do a ‘beam me there …’? Technology has spoilt me, I think. The miraculous leaps that I have been witness to in my lifetime make me believe everything is possible. In the not too distant future. And make me almost impatient about things going too slow.

Come on, all you guys who gave us mobile phones, text messaging, blogs, podcasts, chocolate croissants, (and chewies, prompt Boogie and Gypsy) – ok, chewies, Seinfeld, Friends, The Meaning of Liff, satellite television, Coffee Day, John Abraham and Single Malt whisky. Wave your wand one more time and make it happen. Beam us there.


  • For one who does more hours of travelling in a week than I want to think about - I'd welcome this technology with all my heart.

    It really would be lovely to manage that - but have you thought about the joy of travel? Oh having aching bones (and asses) from the bus / train and thinking - oh, that's all right, it's worth it?

    These emails, sms, phones, are poor substitutes for the letter, the telegraph and just being there. Nevertheless... give me a chance to shuttle around the world and not loose time - or if time were to no longer matter - and I would leap to it.

    By all means, beam me there, Scottie. I have places to go, people to see, and miles to go before I sleep...

    By Blogger Camphor, at 12:16 AM, January 30, 2006  

  • The Concorde was the closest thing we had to "Beam Me Up Scottie". Sadly, that's grounded too.:((

    P.S. Thanks for linking.

    By Blogger Sujatha, at 10:46 PM, January 30, 2006  

  • for me its mostly pangs for home food...when am off on trips to far off lands....the simple rasam rice with bhindi curry....wouldnt i love to wave my magic wand and get it in my dreary hotel room!

    By Blogger Siri, at 12:46 AM, January 31, 2006  

  • lets hope that star trek days are back and we can telepod ourselves by standing on white lit circles that turn us into waves...and we emerge as humans at the other end of space....and perhaps time too.

    By Blogger Reshma Anand, at 11:51 AM, January 31, 2006  

  • Hey just wait till I patent the technology of teleportation....

    By Anonymous csk, at 11:12 PM, January 31, 2006  

  • Brilliantly imagined! Though I do suspect whether it will give us more time, it could also mean more travel!! At the risk of being the devils advocate, i would hate the thought of being beamed to work on a sunday because its a 'perk' like the mobile phone which is quite like a noose around the neck!! But otherwise the thought is delicious..reminds me of Michael Crichton's book timeline http://www.crichton-official.com/timeline/ ....being teleported to another city and even better, another time!!

    By Anonymous Ayesha, at 1:36 AM, February 01, 2006  

  • *puts on best Zen-master expression, exudes serene calmness*

    Be not impatient; for Life, it is all about the journey .. not about the destination.

    P.S. One is bothered by the concept of teleportation. When you teleport, the person materializing at the other end is surely a replica .. but is it you?

    By Blogger One in a Billion, at 5:04 AM, February 01, 2006  

  • ah, you've updated...yeah, I know, it would be amazing, wouldn't it? I agree with the One, the journey itself is sometimes more rewarding than the destination...

    By Blogger the Monk, at 11:35 PM, February 05, 2006  

  • teleportation.. :)

    By Blogger manuscrypts, at 4:40 AM, February 06, 2006  

  • camphor: yes, the emails and smses are poor substitutes for being there. Being there is not about making a journey to the desired place, but just about actually being there. The journey, magical at other times, doesn't matter at times like this. sigh.

    sujatha: Hopefully we can do better than the concorde soon :)

    siri: Oh, I think beaming your rasam rice to you is definitely an easier task than vice versa. I'm sure you won't have to wait too long.

    reshma: hi! yes, let's hope so indeed. though i'm not so sure about the time bit :)

    csk: i'm waiting, but getting a bit impatient, you know. hurry!

    ayesha: Being beamed to work is a terrifying thought. This ugly aspect of teleportation hadn't struck me at all.
    csk, since you're working on this could you give some thought to plugging this loophole?

    the one (and only): I understand your concern. But doesn't the same argument hold for our current modes of transportation? If you lived in bangalore, you'd agree that the person emerging at the other end after a two-hour car ride is really not you ... not even a replica. In that respect, teleportation seems to have a minor edge.

    the monk: yes, I finally managed to update :). Had been internet-deprived for a while.
    On the issue of the journey ... well, sometimes, yes. But possibly not on Bangalore roads.

    Manuscrypts: yup, that's right :)

    By Blogger Anjali, at 10:21 AM, February 06, 2006  

  • hey,thats easy! Just blame it on tele traffic!

    By Anonymous csk, at 11:16 PM, February 06, 2006  

  • Wonderful little post! And yes, technology has spoiled all of us. For me,it's more a 'time' thing than a travel thing. In this age of instant messaging, email and the like, I have fallen victim to a world of instant gratification. I find that when I have to wait 10 minutes for something, it feels like a year.

    Now, regarding the travel bit ... because I don't fly in planes, I have often wiled away hours just wishing they'd built a roadway across the Atlantic so that I could visit my friends in England, and see the lands of my ancestors. Doubt that's going to happen! :)

    Lovely blog! Thanks for stopping by and visiting me so that I could bookmark you!

    By Blogger Weary Hag, at 4:41 AM, February 26, 2006  

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