“Life Without Internet” by Sadia Chaudhry


 Life Without Internet

Bilal, a student of 7th grade was shouting at the top of his voice from the washroom, calling his mother, who was working in the kitchen preparing his breakfast. She was cursing the local electricity supply company for long power outage when she heard Bilal desperately calling her. She was worried if he encountered some problem in there, so she went upstairs, gasping heavily and asking if he was all right. A minute later she went downstairs quite irritated, after knowing the reason of his discomfort.  He asked his mother to check whether WiFi was switched off, as he was unable to connect his Facebook account on his smart phone in the bathroom. This is not the story of one home; such scenes are a part of everyday life of all internet users.
Internet is the ultimate addiction of all people with smart phones, computers and laptops.  Children these days have to play different online games , students prepare notes and watch educational videos , women watch and read cooking  recipes and latest information on beauty, make up and fitness.  Social media is playing a vital role in our life so, keeping in touch with friends and family and getting latest information on hot news and trends is also important.
Online business and entrepreneurship is totally dependent on internet. Professional communication is these days incomplete without e-mails, Skype conversations and other online sources.  And not to forget the entertainment side of course.  A large number of entertainment websites offer a variety of movies to download or watch online. Furthermore, book lovers have found heaven in online huge collection of their favorite writers’ books. A large number of intellectuals find their day incomplete without reading their favorite newspapers’ online editions and reviews on latest political and social issues.
A group of internet users, and the most active one, is of young ones involved in online chatting, sometimes ending in serious relationships (sometimes with fake identities and resulting in shock and unrest), and those desperate ones searching for the man or woman of their dreams. Not to forget those who search the internet for cheap and socially and morally unacceptable content on the internet. This group uses the internet vigorously to satisfy their suppressed desires and it may consist of users from early teens to late sixties.
In a country where your two year old baby can operate your smart phone almost as confidently as you, the importance of internet can be comprehended easily. Having agreement on this addiction or addition of internet in the lives of Pakistanis, it is easy to understand the impact of long intervals of power outage in the country. In most of the cases, where internet is used at household level, internet devices are not usually connected with the alternate power supply system (UPS or generators). Although there are cases where students or professionals avail uninterrupted online connection, but this constitutes a small number. Thanks to mobile networks who offer internet packages, but they are useless when the mobile phone battery is dead and cannot be charged without electricity.
Our internet lovers busy in a Skype conversation or a chat with a romantic concern are about to faint as the electricity goes and internet connection is lost. Those who are watching online movies or reading some interesting content on internet are also disturbed and the tempo of the movie or reading is broken. Some others who are busy in serious online games with partners feel bad as they are so close to winning the game from their opponent.
Yesterday, my daughters saw a radio in an old English movie and asked about it. I told them people did not have TV in the old days, they could just listen to the radio for information and entertainment. Their response was “Oh!really?”
Despite the fact the non-serious usage of internet by some groups, the overall impact of this facility is great on economy, education, information and progress of the nations.
Sadia Chaudhry is engaged with advocacy on social issues and human rights specially women and child rights, as a writer and human rights activist.


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