My experience with West-Bengal Net ban
Someone once said: you don’t feel the pain of a bite till you’re the one bitten. We all know about J&K internet shutdown which has been going on for months now and in the past two days, I have been getting a taste of it.
Disclaimer: This is just my experience with the internet ban and is not a political post.
Let me introduce myself. I am a junior year grad at VIT university currently staying at home because of the coronavirus pandemic. I live in Hindmotor, a small town in the Hoogly district of West Bengal. Life has been hard for the past couple of months but people all over the globe adapted to the situation rather quickly, which is quite commendable. We started working from homes, getting online classes, ordering essentials online, etc.. Notice a pattern here? Yes, the internet. The internet is our savior at this time of crisis.
I was quite OK with the stay at home lifestyle because I’m an introvert however, the day before yesterday, I received a Snapchat from a friend saying that her internet will be down. After asking her why she sent me the below pictures which stated that all internet services will be shut down at my district and a few other districts for the next 5 days.
I will be honest, I didn’t think much of it at first, thinking it was probably a hoax. It was quite unbelievable to me(still is) that something like thIS can happen to us. So I didn’t take any precautions and did not download any movies, courses, YouTube videos, or even songs and went about my usual day. Then on 14th at around 4 pm, it finally happened. I lost my Wi-Fi connection and subsequently my mobile connection. I immediately realized how big of a mistake I did by not downloading anything on my devices.
Day 1: Ground Zero
I texted my boyfriend who lives in Mumbai, via the SMS that I’ve lost all sources of the internet and he was quite understandably angry at the situation, but he has been amazing throughout this whole thing. He calms me down whenever I am at the brink of losing it, helps me with google searches, and also plays my requested songs on his speaker while on call!
I asked him to inform my Bhaiya and Bhabhi about the situation, who lives in Japan, and communicate with us solely via the internet. After struggling for a bit they figured out a way to call my mom on her number via skype. Guess no more video call goofiness for us.
Eventually, I decided to complete my unfinished article on PyTorch, but I very quickly realized even though I have all the keynotes I still needed the internet for research. So that idea flopped.
My Best friend who also happens to be my neighbor is taking the medical entrance exam in about a month. She was also very understandably frustrated, she had already missed a mock test and couldn’t even find out what the syllabus was for the next one. Very much like me, all her study materials and courses are either on the drive or are on a website. We ranted about or frustration for about an hour, with a hope that tomorrow our connection will be back from 10 am to 4 pm. (she heard it somewhere)
I thought maybe I should try choreographing some Bharatnattiyum dance moves on a modern song but embarrassingly enough, I found out I had zero songs downloaded on my phone. So that was a failed attempt again.
I spent the rest of the night cleaning out my cupboard, playing Ludo with my mom, and talking with my boyfriend on the phone.
I woke up exactly at 10 hoping that the internet will be back for a few hours and I did not want to waste even a single minute of my precious internet. As you would have known by now, it indeed did not come. I would be lying if I said my heart did not immediately sink into a deep pit, it did and I decided to sleep again for two more hours.
While begrudgingly taking a shower without my favorite songs, an idea popped in my head, which is to write my experience with no internet for two days on medium. This is my first nontechnical post so I hope it is not a total bore-fest. Writing does make me feel better, I guess it is like a journal for me.
After feeling a little bit better I decided to do what any brown girl on Instagram does. Wait for the golden hour and click some pictures except I did not have Instagram but I did it anyway.
Oh, I forgot to mention I have been reading “a brief history of time” by Stephen Hawking. It is a great book, I recommend it to everyone, you don’t need a master’s degree in Physics to understand it anyone can enjoy this book.
Then I spent the next 3 hours editing my pictures, sometimes going too overboard with it, but it’s okay at least I am doing something, doesn’t always need to be productive.
I decided to sketch something, so I borrowed my mom’s stationery and made this. I guess it is a decent attempt. 😁
I was going through my brother’s old stuff and found a huge movie collection. My night was set! I watched How to train your dragon for the fifth time and enjoyed every bit of it!
I woke up pretty late today at around 1 o’clock. It’s not like I have a lot of things to get done. I figured I can edit a video today (video editing is my hobby) and I did, but it took only about half an hour and I was not satisfied with it(I never am) so I spent the entire day (3 pm-5 pm lol) shooting videos and stringing them together. Again I could not choose the music I wanted but luckily enough I had this lo-fi track on my system and I mashed it all together. I felt a bit philosophical today so I put a hidden message in the video, decipher it if you can!
I stumbled upon this game called Stardew Valley which was already on my laptop and it is pretty addicting! The chill farm life is very comforting for some reason.
I spent my night pretty well watching Batman movies and sketching a little bit more.
I woke up comically late today, at around 3 o clock. The Internet is supposed to come back at 6, so I just spent the entire day chilling with family and playing with the street dogs and cats.
At about 5 o clock my Wi-Fi came back and I immediately checked my mail, I had gotten selected to attend the WomenTech Global conference. The mail was sent to me on 15th and I had to claim my ticket within 48 hours, of which only 2 hours were remaining! That was a close one. Then I realized all my assignments are due the next day! So it seems like this experience of mine could have ended very differently if the ban was extended for just one more day.
Did life without the internet absolutely suck? Yes. Would I do an internet detox again? Probably, but on my own accord. A lot of people say that we are so addicted to the internet that we cannot function without it, as if it is a negative thing but people must realize that you cannot just take away someone’s source of education, livelihood, and entertainment and expect them to just deal with it.
Internet is the wormhole of cultures and even Gods know not to mess with wormholes.