Tuesday, November 19, 2013

So you think you’re smart!


 www.theguardian.com


So, you thought you were smart when you mortgaged your gold tooth and a kidney to buy that much hyped smartphone- a technology so smart that it compressed the world in your palm. All you had to do was leave smudge marks all over the screen to access information crucial to your existence. Like finding out through Facebook that Mrs Sharma was taking off to Buenos Aires for a three week sojourn and reading your husband’s will miss you sweetie, in one of the many comments. That Delhi has been hit by an earthquake yet again and people were so traumatised that they had to wake-up in the middle of the night to tweet about it. Then you were so engrossed in forwarding Lol, this is too funny yaar, jokes to all your 65 Whatsapp contacts, by the time you looked up, you realized you hadn’t exchanged a word with friends you were out lunching with. Since you’re a strong believer of making up for lost time, you smile sexily for the selfies you take with your friends, click photos of all that you ingested for lunch and coolly post them on Facebook.

Just as you step out of the restaurant, your mobile pings. You narrowly miss colliding into the pillar as you discover to your delight that it’s the much awaited mail from your client. You hastily punch in a reply and press send. It’s when he immediately replies WITH PLEASURE! in caps you find out you’d accidently keyed in ‘I look forward to sleeping with you’ instead of speaking! Wasn’t it last week you’d texted “Happy Birthday, dead husband” to Ajesh, your friend sniggers. You direct your iciest glare at your friend and mumble “He knows, I meant dear” through gritted teeth.

You’ve often wondered if smartphone technology meant you to have spindle shaped fingers. The last time you used your stubby fingers to surf the World Wide Web, you ended up sending a friend request to your daughter’s boyfriend and now she won’t talk to you. To add insult to injury, your phone has an autocorrect feature that insists on behaving like your Mom, completing words and sentences before you can finish them and embarrassing you in public.

You have a sinking feeling that your smartphone has succeeded in its evil design in making you stupid. Why else would you be walking on the pavement like a zombie with your eyes glued to the screen and a silly smile pasted on your face, unmindful of manholes and potholes? But isn’t it how normal beings behave these days – each lost in a world of their own making, oblivious to their surroundings. A new world order where people prefer gazing at their phones to smiling at strangers and trying to make friends…Where drivers are more concerned about replying to texts than road safety. 




You are so horribly attached to your phone, it has now become an extension of your hand. Ok, we understand, it’s everything you could have asked for in an ideal mate - plays music, takes pictures, wakes you up in the morning, entertains you with cat videos, lets you access FB and Twitter every 2 minutes and even reminds you to wish your Mom on her birthday. All you have to do is whisper her name and it will even make the call for you. Too bad it can’t converse on your behalf as well!

Don’t worry, it’s not just you who has outsourced her memory and intelligence and let a phone take over your life. Truth be told, when it comes to claiming its victims and their sense and sensibilities, smartphones spare no one. From the lady who loves sharing motivational quotes, to the zealot out to change the world, to the Candy Crush addict, everyone is a willing victim.

This is where the catch lies. How easily you and I have become victims, messing up our priorities and allowing it take away our attention from the crucial to the mundane.

I concede that mobile-technology combined with a cocktail of social networking has enabled us reach out to people in ways that were never possible before, but at the same time, it has also managed bring out our worst. We are raising a generation of loners that prefers the comfort of the virtual world. In our need to constantly upload and share, be entertained and informed , we’ve lost the ability to focus, our attention span reduced to zilch. We feel incomplete without our phones and stress endlessly if it discharges prematurely.

Look around you and you’ll see groups of people at restaurants, inside elevators, at conferences, family gatherings, busy checking their mails, replying to text, updating their status on Facebook or tweeting how unbearably cold it has become. Don’t you find it annoying when you are talking to someone and you see his eyes wandering towards his phone! What the hell happened to social niceties!

Here’s the scariest part – we are becoming one of them.

Two months back, thanks to technical glitches I had to reduce the apps on my phone to the bare minimum. My smartphone is now dumb enough to leave me in peace but smart enough to keep me in touch with my friends and family. On evenings out with friends, I make it a point to keep my phone in the deepest and darkest recesses of my purse.

I am making no claims of a miraculous cure but at least it’s small step towards reclaiming my intelligence and emotional quotient.
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67 comments:

  1. Hee hee...these smart phones have a knack to bring out the true emotions... dead husband,,, sleeping with clients...hmm.. ROFL.... :) :) :) but on a serious note they are a big nuisance, it is not uncommon to see people ( or Jack Asses?) texting while driving...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Don't you wish you could stop them midway and give them a tight slap!

      Delete
  2. Thankfully I never even got smart in the first place :) Could not stand the idea of a phone showing me up on smartness :) Not to mention that my eyes smart when I peer down into electronic screens - even much bigger ones than smart-phones possess :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. There's so much we end up sacrificing for the sake of convenience. It's always makes sense to keep things simple.

      Delete
  3. Where do you get these from Purba, still reeling over Happy birthday dead husband! Thankfully, my phone is smarter than me, havent learnt how to do much with it. And I find twitter incomprehensible. Small saves ... but over all I think you are right, living zombies we have become

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :D
      So many distractions, so little time.

      Delete
  4. Stumbled upon your blog by chance, and boy am I glad I did :). Now regarding the post - "We are becoming one of them" - actually I think we might already be there :) At least most of us. I've been both the victim and culprit of the "roving-eye-looking-at-the-phone" whilst having a meal with friends and family. But having said that, I've also been working really hard to reduce it. So, just like you, I recently did an "app-cull" on the phone; Social niceties and social etiquette are what make us bearable humans and we've got to bring them back. Having said that, I think "all this garb about connected living" is what's made most of us jump on the band wagon in the first place. Great post Purba. Loved it!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I think we're turning into a self obsessed generation, engrossed in documenting our uneventful lives and sharing it on networking sites.

      And thanks for reading my post :-)

      Delete
  5. Thank you for making me feel good about my phone that is not, well, smart. Gauging my social inadequacy, my son gifted me a smartphone recently. I have been using the smartphone after Diwali. But I am seriously thinking of going back to my old faithful device. I am fed up with stupid forwards and vain pics of whatsapp groups.
    This is vintage Purba- witty, sensible, easy, captivating. Loved it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The good thing is, a lot of are realizing that too much connectivity is messing up our lives.

      And thank you! I wish I could dredge the vintage Purba bit more often.

      Delete
  6. Hehehe...guilty.To my defense I will say, I am not very fond of whatsapp or twitter. :P I must admit I have become forgetful after the invasion of mobile phones in our lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Forgetful, distracted, obsessed - guilty on all counts.

      Delete
  7. ROFL its absolutely true.fab piece

    ReplyDelete
  8. Lovely post, you highlighted quite an important addition of the day laced with your trademark sense of humor in this post. Have to completely agree with you when you say that although phones seem to be getting smarter by the day, people seem to be becoming dumber as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too much of a good thing is always a bad thing.

      Delete
  9. haha Purba! I must be the only one on the planet who keeps her Wifi off on her smartphone. So my phone is no nuisance. Most of the time, I leave home without it. And I don't keep logging in and checking. Small mercies, but yes I find it very rude when people are engrossed on their phones rather than look at your face. My hubby gets maximum grief from me for it. You are right, we are becoming dumb and rude. How many phone numbers can we really recall would be a simple test? And autocorrect is a nuisance. I have disabled that as well :).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are a smart chica. You have set your priorities right.

      Delete
  10. good one! Smart phones have shrunk the world, in the sense, people far away or rather residing in the other half of the world seem to be closer than the ones who are physically present around us.....such goes the level of addiction that office goers steadily update as to how they have absolutely no time for anything, and I am left wondering, if there was no time at all, how come the time to text and tweet once in every five minutes? Well, that is what a smart phone does! It makes the appearance deceptive!

    A very good post! I follow all your write ups religiously and love to read them over and over again :)
    Keep blogging :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Complaining of fatigue, boredom has become a fad. And Twitter acts as a release for all.

      Delighted to know that you're a regular on my blog :-)

      Delete
  11. Goodness me. Glad, I don't have a smart phone and I am quite happy about it :-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It helps if you get lost and need to look up a map or have to search for restaurant listings in an unknown locality.

      Delete
    2. :-)
      I usually carry a map if I am visiting an unknown location. We in fact have 2 shelves full of maps. What more if I don't have maps then I search on the internet and make plans before going out, I am not that busy person have good amount of free time after work and during weekends.
      In a worse case scenario, I ask people walking around for direction, that way I can as well practice my Czech language :-D

      Delete
  12. I am just going to pull your leg and say you are too old to get new technology and generation gap. *insert a joke about you participating in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 here*
    Also....I hope you got rid of that Samsung you carried?

    P.S. Social niceties are still alive. I always tip my hat to people and wish them a good day. You are the one who tweets continuously while watching a movie. I know what you did during the screening of Kahani and Shanghai. Hmpf!

    P.P.S. That was a good post :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You got it wrong. It was 1587.

      Miss Tee loves cooking up stories with her Mom as the subject of distress. Pay no heed to her.

      *Thanks.

      Delete
  13. Oh my! *smiles sheepishly, as he is guilty of every unsmart thing mentioned in the post*

    Really, how did we get so uncivil and unsocial in the world of social media and smart communication? Such a pity! It almost seems like the more things appear to purportedly get better, the more they really don't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *High fives him*

      We are turning into emotional zombies, engrossed in a world of our own making.

      Delete
  14. Too much of anything including Smart phones is bad! Not only the auto suggestion that change the meaning of the text but reminders to take a walk, a breaking news of yet another scam and much more could be daunting! So like all things in life, a judicious use and a balance of mind is needed in case of smartphones too:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely, Rahul. The trick is to stick to the basics and throw out the fluff.

      Delete
  15. Brilliantly written, you have picked some really funny and blunt points. I second, every word written here. Icing on the cake was "sleeping" with you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hahahaha! Once again a good one Purba :) I belong to the category which has stubbornly stayed away from the smart phone world. Simply loved the "sleeping with you" and "dead" husband bit :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's too late for me to go back to the basic phone now. It has too many useful features that have now become a part of my life.

      Delete
  17. LOL.. this is the reason I stayed away from smartphones this long but sadly I too have joined the bandwagon. But you are right, keeping apps to bare minimum does help. Dead husband.. ha ha ha, your sense of humour is amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't blame you. Smartphone technology is the best and the worst that could have happened to your phone. All depends on how you utilize it.

      And thank you.

      Delete
  18. It makes you totally dependent on it. There was a time when I could remember all phone nos now my in laws and parents nos is a big headache. Sometimes its so bad that I have to wake up in the morning and look at my phone to find out what day and date it is. It is a useful gadget as well and so cant just dump it. I still own a nokia base model which is my secondary no and at times when my smartie is with my kids and I look at that tiny phone all that I feel is - PEACE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. Isn't it scary that we've stop bothering to remember dates, phone numbers, engagements because we have a phone to remind us!

      Delete
  19. Purba, not only auto-correct is fraught with apparent dangers, editing anything on these cursed devices can be lethal. Many times we have a small window where only a part of the sentence is visible and editing is at par with tunnel vision -not to speak of the atrocious delete key- at times reducing the paragraph to Abdul Qadir's bowling. And apart from the convoluted social conscience we are all ending up thanks to the technology, there are people perishing on the roads and railway tracks day in and day out. An excellent piece rolling in your trademark humour.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. And I still can't stop wondering how people manage to watch entire movies or even episodes on their mobile screen! I can't even get myself to read a blog post!

      I see kids walking on the roads with their earphones on and I feel like going up to them and screaming - What the eff is wrong with you!

      Delighted that you liked :-)

      Delete
  20. Auto-correct is the most dangerous thing I've ever confronted with !!! It can do anything and everything to ruin your reputation and relationship :-(((..

    Jokes apart..reading your post was a pleasure..:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have started thinking of typos as word play to preserve my sanity :D

      Thanks for reading.

      Delete
  21. Hate the ruddy things. The kids and the hubby have tried to convince me otherwise but I'm like the proverbial mule, digging in. My hubby's latest car hands-off device has a voice that goes, "Welcalm" when he switches it on. At least, that affords me a laugh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wise are those who prefer doing things their own way instead of bowing to peer pressure.

      Delete
  22. Thats such a fantastic take Purba. Both funny at the same time so very true.The truth is often stranger aka. funnier than fiction :D
    Not just the smartphone which has taken over our word but all technology. I fume when people talk over their laptops, more immersed in the laptops than in a direct conversation. In a working environment, though its often the norm, you realize, your human presence is just a small distraction to the various other forces at work !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We call it multi-tasking when in reality we are turning into shallow thinkers with a short attention span. Like you said - human presence has now become a distraction to our online preoccupations.

      Delete
  23. That's a smart solution indeed! I employ it at times! :)
    Agree with all your observations! Hilarious Post!
    Auto-correct is a matter of concern! :)
    Smartphones have taken over our lives with people focusing more on their contacts in the phone rather than the people sitting/conversing next to them!!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It helps to disconnect and get back in touch with reality.

      Thanks for reading.

      Delete
  24. I loved this post Purba,as i love all your posts.The way we are depending on technology for everything--whether it is opening your car door,remembering where you parked it(snap it),finding out when is a dear one's B-Day or knowing which groceries are out of stock--we may soon turn into --should i say memory-less morons?
    Not being a smart phone user,it was fun knowing it's pit falls.
    And about"click photos of all that you ingested for lunch"--thank God it has not come to all you have ex***ted.Some are showing giant-sized egos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This calls for an insightful post from you. Only you'll be able to explain the psychology behind the alarming trend of sharing intimate detail of our lives online. What thrill people get by telling strangers what they had for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

      And thank you so much Indu for reading my posts :-)

      Delete
  25. Have been following your posts for a while Lady. Brilliant!! As always :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Delighted that you liked this post.

      Delete
  26. Hahaha :D

    True That. They are smart nuisance to the core. I find it so annoying when a few friends of mine find the smart phones more important than others sitting around them. I still use a basic phone and don't find my life un-happening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The more you grow attached to online shenanigans, the less appealing your real life becomes.

      Delete
  27. Hey Purba! I love the way you write...you have a loyal fan here. Please accept the Liebster Award from my blog! :) Here's how you can go about it...http://parvathyspeaks.blogspot.in/2013/11/my-first-liebster-award.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Feel honoured that I'm one of your selected few but I don't accept tagged awards. Sorry about that.

      Delete
  28. See!, Purba. This post, apart from making people smile at your purposeful 'dead husband' and 'sleeping with you' distortions, you made many come out in public and say they are happy with their uncool phones though they are not - and I must confess I am one of them :)

    This is the true characteristic of the evil. It makes you do it after telling it is wrong to do so!

    My blogs - http://religion.infectedmind.in & http://blog.infectedmind.in

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's all about getting carried away, Diwakar. Technology was meant to be the great enabler and not turn us into emotionless zombies.

      Delete
  29. Well, here I am thinking of dumping the cellphone and going for the old, landline phone, whose copper cables have enticed many burglars and thieves that telephone companies have literally stopped attempting replacing them.
    That would afford me the perfect excuse for not picking up the phone, and even for not calling my nears and dears. I won't have to SMS or Whatsapp anyone, and I'll finally buy a good camera in case I feel the need to capture memories. It would limit the internet to the PC, and hopefully then, my already depleting cravings for candy crushes and fruit ninjas will be exterminated.

    It would be such fun, but unfortunately, time doesn't run backwards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How gladly we surrender to new distractions. Such delicious excuse we have to waste our time :p

      Delete
  30. Good post.

    ---

    Sent from my iPhone5s

    ReplyDelete
  31. "I fear the day technology will replace human interaction. We will have a generation of idiots." - Albert Einstein.

    We are nearly there, Purba. A thought-provoking post laced with laughs (loved the dead husband bit) Couldn't have written it better!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's great to see you after a such a long time :-)

      Delete
  32. Exactly the way I've felt all along, Purba! I don't own a smartphone. In fact we share just one cellphone inside the family!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A sensible thing to do, Achyut.

      Delete
  33. Like Rachna , also keep my WiFi off on my cell.
    Hence,I am OK

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I try to keep the apps to the minimum. That helps.

      Delete

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