When was the last time you looked up for a word meaning in the dictionary? You can take a minute to recall. Honestly, i don’t remember my last time!
i just finished reading a fantastic book on the craft of writing by William Zinsser. One of the important things, William says, a writer should do is to frequently dip into a thesaurus to find the exact word for a given context. i brought out my thesaurus to look up a word. And this is where my musing over the charm of the old world began. It was truly nostalgic to turn pages of a huge volume of Roget’s thesaurus and chant alphabets in my mind while looking up a word!
Wow! This is how i’ve looked up words all my life. i didn’t even realise when this wonderful habit of school days was replaced by online dictionary and thesaurus. It’s so convenient to google a word and look at the limited meanings a website chooses to throw up. For me, it’s simply ‘right click’ and ‘look up word in dictionary’ from the set of options that show up on my Mac. It suffices for the current need and i move on with my writing. The transition from holding words in my hands to mechanically hacking away at the keyboard, just because it is quick, seems to be so seamless.
i guess it’s the same with reading. We have become prolific online readers. Carrying a book is passé. Welcome wi-fi-enabled cellphones, ipods and other devices equipped to let you read any topic under the sun on the world wide web. The latest - Online Library - will ensure that the next generation gets to see libraries only in museums! Thankfully, online reading isn’t very appealing to me. i can’t spend hours online wading through the tangle of links. i still miss my books and go back to them often. In fact, feel guilty that i don’t read regularly enough.
i don’t think i need to even invoke personal touch of the snail mail lest i get carried away too far and you guys decide to bypass my memory lane. Though it does seem incredible now to think of having written reams to my best friend in college days. Hah! Just pick up the phone today and talk to her wherever she is! Simple! From entertainment to academics to business, technology has pervaded all!
Technology is great but are we losing the fun and innocence of the old world? Is it so difficult to occasionally tune the radio to our favourite channel? (I don’t mean the FM in your mobile phone, silly!) Or just log out of the websites, switch off your laptop and go talk to your neighbour. At least find out who lives next door. Pullout snake and ladder and roll the dice.
Or just look up the dictionary!