Pitaji also logs in to the local agri-exchange website, after receiving an alert in the email that the seed prices have fallen in the past week below the threshold level he had set. He thinks that this is a good time to buy. He makes the purchase, requesting for delivery at the Nayapur Post Office. At the same time, he gives the Post Office the permission to debit his account for the transaction. Pitaji is happy that he now no longer has to go through agents who somehow never would give him the right information or the best price.
At the Post Office, Pitaji meets Kishan and Mohan. Kishan is his friend Sharmaji’s son. Until a few months ago, Kishan used to just while away his time doing little of consequence. Now, he, along with two of his friends, were the local System Administrators. Together, they managed the local India Post network, and the other computers deployed across the village. Pitaji remembers being amazed at the transformation in the trio. The computers had opened up a new world of opportunities for them. They were now even learning programming via the courses available over the Internet. Mohan is Pitaji’s nephew, and has come to the Post Office to pick up his new orders. Mohan is an excellent craftsman. He makes wonderful pots. Ganga had once shown Mohan SamacharGifts.com once, and helped Mohan set up a web page for his pots and skills. Now, Mohan regularly gets orders via the Internet, and uses the Post Office to send his products and receive payment for them.
Pitaji remembers the time when the railway had first come to Nayapur. It had changed the mental geography of people in Nayapur. People felt they had mastered distance. For the first time, they knew what mobility meant. Ordinary people’s horizons expanded. Now, the computer and the Internet via the Post Office had brought about the magic of e-commerce for people like Mohan. For them, the Internet and the Post Office had eliminated distance, becoming windows to the modern world.
Just as Pitaji is leaving, he sees Gauri and her friends coming in. School has just got over for the day. Gauri and her friends want to see the new multimedia presentation, a copy of which is there on the local server. Gauri uses computer to take a History test, getting ready for her coming exams. Gauri also checks her email she uses India Post’s mail service, which downloads her email automatically to the local server in the Post Office, thus providing her very fast access. Just before leaving, Gauri and her friends take up positions on different computers to test out the latest multi-player video game.
On his way back home, Pitaji stops by the hospital for a check-up. The local hospital is quite small. Medical care earlier had been almost non-existent in Nayapur. Now, the computer at the hospital regularly uses the Internet via the Post Office server to consult with the specialists at the city hospital. Reports are emailed and at times, even a live video conference can be set-up with the patient. This way, the Internet has addressed one of the biggest issues in healthcare that a hospital in a rural area was unable to offer specialist services.
Tomorrow: The Story of Nayapur (continued)