Monday, May 16, 2011

Electronic snarl

The sight of these sends our beloved NRIs into spasms. Many a brown Californian have I seen, dragging his engineering fingers through the peppered hair, trying to stave off an oncoming headache. There is terror in their neat and tidy, organized minds when faced with these dark tangles.

The Indian landscape is dotted with them. Across farms, over the village huts, in the bylanes…they are ominous and omnipresent. A living testament to the Indian faith in destiny, they co-exist peacefully with the populace, who fearlessly trip around them.

They stay that way because there is a deep seated acceptance of the shabby mess. One would expect some order inside homes. But rarely would you find a domestic electronic installation without the attendant mat of cables and wires. There they are, like a “nazar battu” in the otherwise tastefully done interiors, snaking in and out and around table legs, drooping down lamps, hugging stabilizers and adorning fancy modems.

A DJ night, school function or the Prime Minister’s address….the wires do not discriminate. They go snarling and embroiling as the PA system squeaks, screeches and hits all kinds of lethal decibel levels. It might kill the NRI but Indian ears do not seem to mind. What would shock them in fact would be a crystal clear, hiss free quality relay. That would hurt the ears all right.

It speaks of the canny, home grown brain that knows which wire to snatch up from the labyrinth. All the "bhaiyyas" know their connections, be they cable, VSNL or TV "bhaiyya". Their confidence is awe inspiring, as they nonchalantly whip one jack out and ram in the other, quickly doing the reverse within the second as the recipient enters its death throes. Stubborn and smug in their self-belief, they cut, snip, twist and wind, leaving behind a scarier maze. No amount of rubber bands, clips, beading, tacking, camouflaging thereafter seems to help.

An enterprising entrepreneur needs to enter the business of cleaning up all this electronic clutter. 

I would probably pay. 

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