Monday, November 12, 2007

PC (not Chidambaram) in Perumbakkam

Saranya and Srimathi were asked by the Principal to do a project about the spread of computer literacy among the women in the villages to be sent to Education Department. She suggested a visit to Perumbakkam the next day and advised the girls to meet the womenfolk who generally assemble at the Noon meal centre to find out how much they know about computer
It was a tiny hamlet, dusty and dry. They found a few mothers sitting under a shaded tree adjacent to a thatched shed that passed for a school. The women stared at the girls as they alighted from the car. The girls who were exuding knowledge, confidence and prosperity introduced themselves in Tamil to the illiterate women and asked them how much they knew of the knowledge revolution in general and computers in particular.
Little girls, we don’t follow anything of what you are talking about. What do you, girls, want? asked one woman.
Don’t you know computer? It has a monitor like TV
Oh, yes, we have seen TV in Ramu’s house though he will not permit us to see. Occasionally we are allowed for Rajini or MGR movie.
No, not the TV we mean. There is a keyboard like type writer to the pc (They make sign of typing).If you type, words will appear on the screen
Oh, you mean the black box he presses to change the film from Rajini to MGR.
You are talking of remote
No, we sit very close to TV, not far. We can see Sneha’s face clearly.
My god, when you type on key board do you see words on the screen?
Words come at the bottom only when we see SunTV news.
The girls were at their wits end. They then remembered the laptop in the car. They brought it and opened the machine. When they saw the screensaver in colour, the women in chorus shouted “What a cute little TV box? Don’t you need current for this?
This is working on battery now. This is not TV
Papa (baby), do not lie to us. Please show us Rajini in Sivaji, please
The girls asked in serious tone Do you get emails?
What, email, what is that?
The girl said Letters you send to friends thro pc
We do not know to write.
Exasperated with their ignorance, they explained about personal computer, hard disc, modem, key board, Windows, emails, internet and Bill Gates to the blank faces. The womenfolk were admiring these young and pretty girls who seem to know so much about things that have no relevance to them. This encounter was a welcome change for them till the mid day gruel was ready. They had come to ensure that their wards get it in adequate quantity.
The girls with a smug smile on their faces submitted a neatly spiral- bound project report about the great strides the knowledge revolution has made and about the invasion of PC even in tiny hamlets and the access to internet for farmers for agriculture and for the village school teacher to download study materials. They envisioned every hut in the villages to have a pc in a decade. The principal patted them for the wonderful report in expectation of an appreciation for the school from the department.

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