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.