As I sit here contemplating my flight later today from Singapore to New Delhi, from where it is highly likely that I’ll be in a remote village in Rajasthan before the end of the week, it strikes me just how much my day to day life will change. Until last week I was in San Francisco, California, just a few miles away from Silicon Valley, ubiquitious broadband internet access, first world infrastructure and the ability to conduct the majority of my transactions from the comfort of my own home via my desktop. Singapore is the same if not a little better in some ways – my parents home is blanketed by wireless – my dad’s laptop, mom’s desktop and my laptop are always online or can be.
For someone who can spend a significant percentage of hours each day online – whether researching or writing, communicating or collaborating, or even just paying my electric bill and rent, what will it be like to have no access at all?
And that’s just one aspect of the changes that I will have to get accustomed to – for this will not be a short trip of a few days or a week but for at least a month or two. Intermittent power supply, the lack of potable water or even running water 24/7, temperatures rising over 40 degrees celsius, dust, dirt and unpaved roads. It has been almost a decade since I left India to move to the United States and there is a little part of me wondering just how soft I’ve become in the intervening years. Will I be able to manage once more as I used to, when I used to live and work in New Delhi? Even more important, how will I cope in village when I have never really lived in one? What will it be like to live on less than $2 a day?
er… why am I doing this again?