October 08, 2011

Identity - Online - Offline (Part I)

Internet dawned upon me quiet late as compared to the generation today - who are born into the internet. But ever since I was into the net, I have increasingly had this feeling of being lost in a crowd. I know you must be wondering why - read on, let me explain this...

The first encounter with the internet (the unknown) was about 13 years back (yes, that's all its been!). We got the first computer at home which boasted of running a Pentium II processor with 32MB (!!) RAM and 4GB (!!!) Hard Disk Drive. We had a dial-up modem from ZyXel which allowed me to connect to the internet at 32Kbps (!!!!). Alright, this is just to give you a perspective of the time in which I did what I'm going to explain.

I connected to the internet by double-clicking a
picture (later learnt it was called an icon) using a mouse. The minute I did this, I could hear some crazy sounds from the modem that was apparently trying to connect to this World Wide Web! I suddenly saw a small balloon on the bottom right side of my screen that said Your Computer is now Connected to the Internet. It was an achievement for me! For a person who did not even understand how to use Windows '95, this was an achievement - Connected to the Worldwide Web through a Window!

Now comes the interesting part - I opened Internet Explorer and typed the only address I knew at that time www.yahoo.com. I thought Yahoo.com was owned by the great Indian actor Shammi Kapoor, as he had a song where he shouts "Yahoo", and I was a big fan of the singer Md.Rafi. Alright, sorry about that...got a little nostalgic when trying to recall my stupidity.

That was the first time I ever saw a web page. Having used the computer to try out Pascal, C and play Pacman, seeing so many colors on the screen was like magic! I'd heard from some of my friends who had Windows and the Internet at home that they had an email address of their own. In a rather natural involuntary action, I clicked on the Email link on the web page and pop came up another web page that asked me to create an email account!

Having had zero knowledge about the internet, I thought an email address was something that can be changed as I please. When I searched for karthik as the username, I did not get it. Instead it gave me various suggestions and one such was karthik_v19. I was wondering why it gave me this as a suggestion and later realized it picked my age (19). I then made this big assumption that perhaps, these email thingies are valid for one year and that I'll need to change as I get older!! I chose karthik_v20, thinking I could do away with the first change as I was completing 20 in just a few months :-)

This is when my quest (and wonder) about my identity started. More in my next article. Till then, keep thinking and share your story - I'm sure every one of us had a dumb experience like this back in those days!

Keep sharing, Stay Tuned and Stay Inspired!

[Image Source: Buzzom.com]
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