14 May, 2021

Google: The Nemesis of Socrates

Google is like this abominable cousin who used to be called a ‘walking ­encyclopaedia’—it piles on fact over fact to bury ­imagination. It nullifies the experience of age; it dulls the exuberance of youth.

Google: The Nemesis of Socrates

The cab hailing app says Harinder will be there in three minutes. And he is. He taps his phone smartly and asks if we shall proceed. I nod. “Go onn sttrait for ttwo killometers,” the lady in his phone twangs. Harinder is chatty. “Arre wah, sirji, what is this gol building?” he asks. It’s the Parliament. “Ah, even bigger, what’s this?” he ­wonders. Rashtrapati Bhawan. Is he new to Delhi, I ask? “Yes, sirji, came the day before yesterday from Hoshiarpur. My brother asked me if I want to drive a taxi. I said why not.”

I would always be filled with envy whenever I saw the sequence in a Hollywood film noir when on a rain-drenched night the hardboiled gumshoe dodging the hoodlums would hail a taxi, give a chit of paper to the driver and ask him to hurry. In India, it is unthinkable. First, there will be no taxi. If you found one, he would refuse. If all went well, chances are the cab driver would ask the chasing hoodlums for directions when you gave him the chit with the ­address. But Google Maps takes the...

More from Satish Padmanabhan

Latest Magazine

May 17, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section