“I had all the 60 books from the series.”
In school I made friends with a boy who was almost always submerged into some books. He kept to himself for most part of the time. It was his silence that made me curious. One day I found him sitting under a tree in one corner of the playground. He was startled to see me which was natural with all his lone nature. We had a small talk and he brought me some books from his collection the next day. I could not read them for the next whole week until the winter vacations. One day I got the chance and started reading. It was quite interesting. The story was about a girl and his brother who move to a new house which their parents inherit after the death of some distant relative but the house was apparently haunted . The story ends in a twist. I got so interested that I bought and even read got all the sixty books in that series for the young readers. For the sake of fact, it was a children’s series by R.L.Stine. With passing years complex prose and poetry reached the shelf. But one thing didn’t change. Paper. Almost all books existed in the printed format. With today’s penetrations of phones and tablets people are so lucky to read anywhere, even in the dark which was such a battle in my school days when I feared of getting caught by mom and keeping the lamp on under the blanket was so suffocating. Unfortunately, reading books is a declining trend where I live. After joining university almost 190 academic books have added up in my collection which require at least two healthy men to move them around. Sometimes we need a book and so urgently yet that isn’t available anywhere. A reputable university (not a Pakistani University, obviously) states on their webpage that they offer iPads to new students with all the books they would be needing for their academic time in the university. The price of the device and the books is distributed over the tuition fee to minimize the burden. I wish my university had done the same but they didn’t partly because of the corrupt people who are politically appointed to the university administration. Over last years I gathered electronic versions of almost all the academic books that I have read. It was tough and slow process of pooling them, buying from online stores, downloading from old archives and even manually scanning the ones which haven’t been and won’t be converted by the publishers any time soon (the desi books published by local authors). I emailed an application to my University administration to take such a step and go digital and introduce paperless medium for the benefit of new students. But I got no reply. Then I sent a written application on a paper to go paperless. It too was not entertained. This does not mean that my university has made no progress. We have technological advancements. There are cameras in every corner of the university so the authorities can have perverts in the control room looking on the students all day long and make sure no one hugs, kisses or touches someone of the opposite sex. This advanced technology was helpful in catching a female guard with her trousers down with a male guard near the tennis court. This saved the morality and religion in my secular university. Then some “couples” were caught in histology laboratory holding hands. They didn’t know that holding hands can lead to many diseases and even pregnancy. Their parents were called. Due to some girls holding more than just hands, the university got cameras installed in the girls common room too. I bet the control room guy who overlooks the camera would have an awesome collection to jerk off to. Undoubtedly. Back to the matter of paper. We love paper at Dow and looks like that this love would not end any time soon. There are forms worth hundreds of rupees. Every form costs money. You name it and they got a fee on it. Bonafide, Cumulative, Leave, Grade-book, Exam form, Recheck, College card etc which range from from 50 rupees to 1500 rupees. The greed of university administration would not let students have a more efficient, swift, organized, honest, digital and paperless environment. It will not happen in the next five hundred years at least. This state-of-the-art technology called paper is so exquisite that it doesn’t exist in other institutes of developed countries. Advanced technology. That is why I used to sit on the stairs of Principal’s office during my freshmen years and download movies because my university had no WiFi then even they announced to cover whole university under a blanket of free WiFi. They even wrote that in the prospectus of university in 2009. I found out that only WiFi available was on the stairs of Principal’s office. It had no password or restrictions which was a big plus. That was the only techy thing happened to me from my university’s side. But when I was in my fourth semesters, that Principal was shot by some unknown armed men when he was travelling back to his home. Due to some political involvement he was later removed from his office. With him gone, the WiFi died coincidentally. Even today I could not make why that happened. Maybe the WiFi signals came out of his butt. Maybe. You never know.