IT’S just how it is up there in the mountain villages I love to visit. We arrive, the kitchen gets busy, the people gather and we all share coffee. Corn coffee or “pulbos” that the natives would mix with a tablespoon or two of sugar (yes, that sweet). That’s how they welcome visitors, and knowing how scarce sugar is in those mountainswhere money is very hard to come by, we’d always have our own stock that we leave the welcoming household. And sugar being scarce where money is also scarce, every visit becomes a treat for the people. It’s time to share coffee, partake of sugar, it’s a time to just sit down and talk of what happened yesterday, during the last harvest, and just about anything.

When the coffee is served, everyone gets his cup and settles down, and converses. When there’s a big number, then the people would split up into conversational groups. Coffee and conversation, they go together.

But here I sit now, downtown, where the cool air is coming from the humming aircondition and watch as individuals see so cocooned in their individual world, while sipping coffee; or letting the disposable cup of coffee cool.

Ears plugged with what is most appropriately now called earplugs (contrary to the earphones that were the cool thing in our time), fingers busy with a mobile phone and eyes trained on on the laptop screen.

In this virtual world, even interactions have become virtual verging on make-believe. And so it’s not unusual for many to live a make-believe life in social networking sites, gathering friends they’ve never even met for real and believing that these friends are telling the truth contrary to what they are doing…

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