Th Mangminthang Gangte
If there is one commonality among the people in having peculiar identity other than our social and cultural mores, that would be ‘Password,’ I anticipate. It’s use is not only restricted to soldiers in the war zone, but every Lalboi, Mangboi and Chongboi, has his/her own password no matter he is the smartest techie guy living in a king-sized AC mansion or he is earning a living with brain and brawn under the rain and sun, or no matter he/she is in the dark corner of a restaurant. It’s password, password every where. I wonder if there is anyone left behind in the password world. If each of us were asked to jot down as much passwords we have in a sheet, I knew some of us would be raising our hands and yelling ‘extra sheets!’ Watch out!
The word, ‘Password’ has reshaped the way we are and our living. I fear if it would be untimely to say that a new ‘password culture’ is evolving. Or are we in the zenith?
Gone are the days when postmen are awaited eagerly to deliver our mails from someone you loved, family members, or official correspondence for students writing competitive exams. The more we were impatient to receive greeting cards when any seasonal occasions were round the corner. Though the trend was just a recent happening, it seems to us as it were a century back, most of us reluctantly and with no sense of belonging to that time, are able to recall only with faint memory.
Until internet invaded our lives, password was something that we reckoned with something to do with sacred techie term and a term for soldiers in a war-zone, a secret word or chain of characters that is used for authentication and identification.
Then, writing a letter to the editor or article or press releases was done with a Remington typewriter. I vividly recollect having typed some letters to editor with a worn-out typewriter while I was in college and mailed it through the post. I also used to softly fancy a senior having sent photographs and typed-news reports to some media houses outside. Digital camera was a phantasy or just a pipe dream. Back then, the question of having password was never bobbed up. You know, it was never required at all.
As our admiration to a schoolmaster from England, Rowland Hill for inventing the adhesive postage stamp in 1837 and the postal system had not dimmed; a series of technological innovations dramatically reshaped the way we communicate.
Now, a series of technological innovations have spectacularly determined the way we communicate. We are introduced to e-mail for faster means of communication. I remember the first email account I had had some ten years back, when I was at the last leg of my college days. That was the first time I had my password. Since then, most of the correspondence could be done through internet from some cyber-café around you.
Being on the other side of the digital divides, I must take the liberty to admit it honestly, I only learnt to google three years later after having an email account! A little slow in that, nah! Later, during my journo trainee days that I learn about social networking and was practically introduced to sites like Orkut, Myspace, Flickr. Subsequently, I was burdened with more passwords to remember.
Then came the mobile phone. Though it doesn’t required a password in using mobile phone, the way it makes communication easier and less demanding was remarkable. We amaze the marvels of social media and mobile phone in transforming our lives. I know many couples married after getting introduced through phone and smses. It is interesting to note that their marriages seem to survive like the ones who married after long courtship.
I encountered an unthought-of incident that provokes my conscience like lightning strike a year back. It was in a rural village, far away from Imphal. Some boys in their early teens discussed among their peers about their Facebook friends and posts in their timelines. I was taken aback that the discussion was centred only on Facebook. Their chat friends, posts, comments, the groups they joined, et al. The occasion: they were digging earth for expansion of inter-village road under the MGNREGS.
Through internet-enabled mobile phones and some 3G network services provider, now facebook is connecting the world. I randomly put the figure of Facebook users among the youths and teens in Manipur to somewhere at 80-90%, that means around that much of the people have their own passwords – some having two or more fake Facebook identities. Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg who launched Facebook from his Harvard dormitory room on February 4, 2004, all parts of the world become connected with a click on the mouse-after-entering-your-password.
The matter of fact here is that you don’t write lengthy letters with your hand. That was history! You don’t wait anxiously for your official correspondence through the delayed and sick postal system; instead you download your official documents at will. You enter your passwords, open up to the world…you stay connected, chime in…Even you upload and share photos and videos! But before you log in just to fiddle around or whatever, you chant the mantra conscientiously by way of typing or thumbing the keyboard, failing which denies your entry to the cyber world.
Those who do not bother to have password with internet accounts or social networking behemoths like Facebook and Twitter are taxed the other way. They need to remember another password for their ATM card etc. Cutting across many dividing lines, nay narrow domestic walls, we all are united in having distinct passwords. And the funny part is, there are some guys who are stalking the password of his/her friends like Ali Baba did in the story ‘Ali baba and the forty thieves. And again, there are another like Kasim, brother of Ali Baba who was totally amused inside the treasure cave and who failed to log out forgetting the mantra!! Pity them!
Welcome to the era of password! Sim sim kholjao!
But anyway how many passwords do you have? I have as many as ten passwords! I decide not to forget them lest memory fails me to remember the first time or the last time I did it for the first time in my life, the place where you date for the first time, the name of your partner or better half, the name of your kid….I think that was enough to survive the era of Password! Do You?