Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spoilt for choice...

Last day the office canteen boy asked me, "Sir, when are you going to Kerala next?"
"Next week maybe, or the week after that."
"Will you bring banana chips for me?"
He was offended, though I told it in a light vein. If I say yes, and even if I never brought him the chips, he would have been happy. My telling no was unexpected and he was upset. But he also had to think that he gave me a choice. It was a yes or no question that he asked and logically he do not have any right to be upset when my answer is negative. He was supposed to be prepared for that. Because there was  50% chance for a negative answer.

So the moral of the story is that, never ever give a choice to anyone when you want only one outcome as an answer.

Speaking about choices, I wanted to write a post on them from long time back. But this incident last day prompted me to start it.

I started browsing through channels in TV last day and was flicking the remote for an hour or so without watching a program for even a minute fully. I see a movie playing and feel that on the other channel I thought I saw a better one, but by the time I reach that channel, advertisements had started. Then again I continue surfing.. Same thing happen when I am in the library. A long array of books and I keep moving from one rack to another, from one genre to another, takes a book at first and then browse some more. Put it back and grab another one... Making a choice is tough. especially for these small  things like watching a movie or choosing where to eat. Is it all the perils of modern technology? Bombarding our simple every day life with so many choices? 

Last day I watched this ad for iphone telling that if you do not have an iphone, you don't have one. (Of course I never bought an iphone, but after watching the ad, now I am sure I don't have one.) They say you can choose form 30000 applications!!!! 30000... What were they thinking?!!! Just to chose one or two from them will be like searching a  needle in Sahara desert. In my phone I have four applications, Opera Mini, Snaptu, Newshunt and Kakuro (a fine game that can give some good exercise to brain). Except for the first and the last one, I opens them only once in a blue moon... I cannot imagine what I will do after downloading 30000 applications... Same thing about that 5 TB hard disk my good friend boasts about. 5 TB is a lot of space. If I fill it with movies, I will not be even able to watch it all in my life time, especially being in my current job. 
So the world is hell bend on spoiling us with choices. Remember the good old days of Doordarshan? We used to wait for a week to watch a Malayalam movie, Rangoli or Chitrhaar! Once in DD national they started this top 10 song show called Ek Se Badhkar Ek. We were quite impressed by the show because all the popular songs were shown on a single episode. The hitch came during the second episode. My parents did not like it. They were asking what fun is there in watching the same 10 songs consecutively for two weeks. And next year we bought cable. Now around 5 channels played the same songs every half hour. And worst part is that we got used to it. 

You know what I am longing for now? A world that is not so complicated, giving us infinite choices for every options that we have. For important options, it is good, a better job, a better study course, I don't mind a lot of options for these things. But for trivial needs do we require these much? Call me demented. I don't mind. I want only one TV channel that shows one quality program at a time. A library that issues one book selected randomly without telling me to choose from 50 titles of fluorescent colored jackets written by Danielle Steel. A movie theater with a single screen. An election  candidate list with just two contestants to select from..  


  1. I wrote about this sometime ago - the array of choices that we have at our disposal making it complicated for us.

    When we had few things, we were all so happy with them isnt it? Now we have the quantity but the quality has taken a beat.

  2. The world has become complicated. :( There is no going back!?

  3. nd the Want still increases. SULKS!!

  4. 'I want only one TV channel that shows one quality program at a time. A library that issues one book selected randomly without telling me to choose from 50 titles of fluorescent colored jackets written by Danielle Steel. A movie theater with a single screen. An election candidate list with just two contestants to select from..' You really are a dreamer, Harish!

    Yes, I too loved the DD days...the whole family was watching programmes together, commenting on the side! It was fun days!

  5. You are right about getting a zillion choices for silly things. As for too much choice, it makes life too complicated. Like today I have many saris to choose from while going out, while when I was younger, I used to be happy if I had more than two! But the age of consumerism has seen to it that we have too many choices.

  6. Buddy times have changed and so have we...Living in US where there are thousands of attractions and bombardment of technologies
    I remember those days watching dordarshan in India ..and my dad said" we didn't have television in our age and we enjoyed outdoor activities and you are stuck to doordarshan programmes"..with time same sentences are there but things have changed again..
    I have iphone and before that I had changed three cell phones which were crap of all times...I love the technology and we don't need to get all application you can also take applications from your friends and family members for free.
    Basically its human nature we are never satisfied.