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Modi’s rendezvous with a digital camera and email in 1988

Lalit Shastri

Even before the social media could go beyond discussing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark that Cloud could help us escape radar in connection with the air strikes against terror camps in Pakistan, another Modi video is catching eyeballs and has become a huge topic of discussion. This time, it is Modi saying in an interview that he had a digital camera and was using email to transmit colour photos in 1988.

Modi’s latest comment has seeded a huge debate.

The following discussion with a friend on this issue on Whatsapp is self explanatory:

[13/05, 19:43] friend: Modi seems to be confused between SLR/poloroid and fax. It also appears instead of 1998-99, he referred to the year as 1988 by mistake.

[13/05, 19:44] Lalit Shastri: I was using a modem or the fax machine to transmit my stories to The Hindu between 1992 and 1999

[13/05, 19:45] Lalit Shastri: When I got my first laptop, a Wipro, in 1998, I was still using, either fax or the modem through BSNL landline to transmit news.

[13/05, 19:46] Friend: 1995 onwards dial up internet came thru modems

[13/05, 19:47] Lalit Shastri: till 1992, one was typing and then using a fax to send text. Started using modem in 1992 and email by 1999

[13/05, 19:48] Lalit Shastri: Nah year 2000

[13/05, 19:48] friend: Correct.

[13/05, 19:49] Lalit Shastri: Yeah

[13/05, 19:49] Friend: yes, there was exite.com. wo bandh hogaya (it then closed). Then yahoo, hotmail, gmail…..

[13/05, 19:49] Lalit Shastri: And sify.com around 2000

[13/05, 19:50] Friend: I had a sify one also

[13/05, 19:50] Lalit Shastri: So email started around that time….Good to recall

[13/05, 19:52] Lalit Shastri: I bought my first vhs handycam in 1999. First digital handycam followed a couple of years later.

[13/05, 19:53] Lalit Shastri: You have caught modi right about 1988. That must have been a Polaroid. But how did he transfer a colour pic

[13/05, 19:54] Friend: My handycam came in 1983. Colour pic could be faxed. Colour fax had come

[13/05, 19:55] Lalit Shastri: It used to take hours to fax a black and white pic when we were covering Advani rath yatra in the 90s and Narasimha Rao led Congress election

[13/05, 19:56] Lalit Shastri: Also transmitting pics by fax to chennai from Jagdalpur, Bastar in 1992…It took me about 5 hours…As connection kept breaking each time one tried to send the fax. I know fax was in place in the mid-80s but am still wondering even if it was a polaroid pic, how it could be transmitted by fax in 1988 when BSNL line was so erratic and email was not there.

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