The new-found joys |

Anand Kalyanaraman | Updated on January 27, 2019 Published on January 27, 2019

5 things that weren’t around in 1994, but we’re happy they are today

Smartphones and apps: They can sometimes be a pain in the neck. But there can be no denying that over the past decade, smartphones and the many apps they carry have changed forever the way we live, love and laugh. From instant information and communication to online shopping and dating, smartphones and apps have arguably brought the world into our palms and made us part of the global village. Progressively cheaper smartphones and affordable mobile data are taking this revolution anywhere and everywhere.

Affordable air tickets: India’s aviation sector opened up in the early ’90s — flying in the country was never the same again. But the real revolution came in the early 2000s when Air Deccan, the country’s first low-cost carrier, democratised air travel with cheap air tickets the aam aadmi could afford. And once he flew, the skies always beckoned. Air Deccan folded up into Kingfisher Airlines, but low-cost carriers led by IndiGo today dominate the skyscape. Passengers aren’t complaining.

Piped gas: It’s cheaper, safer, environment-friendly and convenient compared to cooking gas in LPG cylinders and other fuels. Piped natural gas arrived in Delhi about two decades ago after a rap by the Supreme Court worried about pollution in the city. Over the years, it has reached many homes in Delhi, Mumbai and Gujarat. There is a still a long way to go, but the planned expansion of the city gas distribution network should hopefully mean that a superior alternative is no more a pipe dream for homes across the country.

Online banking: Trudging to your bank branch, standing in long queues, writing out cheques, worrying about mismatch in signatures, filling in pay-in-slip forms…all this became passé for many with the advent of online banking. Private banks such as ICICI Bank led the online banking charge in the late ’90s, and soon others followed suit. Online banking laid the groundwork for more technology innovations in banking such as UPI.

Gearless cars: With worsening bumper-to-bumper traffic in our cities, gearless and clutchless cars that reduce the stress of driving are a life-saver. It helps that the technology, earlier restricted to luxury cars, is now available even in cheaper and smaller models. Also, the cost differential has come down significantly over the years with improvements in technology. Automatic cars are expected to increase their share of the pie, with car buyers increasingly opting for convenience and a smoother drive.

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Published on January 27, 2019
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