Friday, August 14, 2015

20 Years of Internet in India

Today as we celebrate 69th Independence day, this day also marks the 20th anniversary of public internet access in India (VSNL opened Dial-up lines). It all started in August 15th, 1995 when the dial-up lines were leased at huge price. 

For a guy who was then in a little town like me, it took some time for me to access it in the name of internet cafes. In fact it took years. It was then the year 2000. My UG mate, Evan, who took few of us to a browsing center in Dharmapuri, as he had already got some hands to the internet. There were four of us and the cafe was almost 5x5 in size. We had to wait for our turn as there was only one computer and it was occupied by some fellows who were glued to the screen!. Being in 2nd year CS graduation, computers were not new to us, in college we were feverishly working on programming languages (FoxPro, COBAL...), but internet was all new.

We created email ID's in (I felt as if I became an American!). We used ask our friends about the websites (email web client) they had email account and next time when we visited the cafe, we created an account in the new website. Yahoo was a rock star, since it had everything in it, they called it as portal. Indian version of it was Rediff and Indya. It didn't take long for Tamil Cinema to weave a story along the Internet (Kadalar Dhinam), the cracking dial-up tone, became a BGM for a song (Oh Maria..).

AltaVista was my first search engine, but before I got used to it Google swallowed the market. When the Dial-up cafes made way for DSL (Brand Dishnet by Sterling). They also came with a book written by Sujatha (Veetukkul Varum Ulagam) on the internet concepts in Tamil and there were other Tamil computer magazines which had exclusive columns on internet. I had a handwritten database of websites in a diary- the pages were marked alphabetically. Slowly the internet was occupying our life, and I was not an exception. Good or bad, it was all there available.

After PG, job search (posting for job) was easy by a click of the button using job sites (Clearing interviews were a mountain). Yahoo job forums such Chethana was a cornucopia of jobs, but still had to rely on Wednesday Opportunities by The Hindu!. My entire career, even till now is been knitted around the internet. I spent my initial months to help assist faceless people to install modems and routers, while I haven't actually done it in real. Switching jobs and companies, but still internet is there with me. Like me, for most of my friends, internet has become an unavoidable part of our work. I won't say we are indebted to it, because it is all part of the evolution.

It is astonishing to see how we have evolved all these years, from emails, chats, wikipedias, eCommerce, blogs, social networking, videos, torrents to wicked WhatsApp on mobiles.

I still turn-on the wifi with the same kid-like enthusiasm which I had years before and I’m sure this will last forever.

**Above image by the blogger

No comments:

Post a Comment