Published on July 8th, 20130
Sar utha ke jeeyo
When will we finally realise that a beautiful world full of wonder exists around us, not inside our smart phones?
I read recently about this girl in Mumbai who was listening to music on her phone while on the street. She couldn’t hear the sounds around her, was hit by a bus or truck and she died.
While I commisserate with the girl’s family over this tragedy, I must say that I was not very surprised to learn of this fatality. Let’s just say I was even expecting to hear about something like this for some time.
There is a new disease afflicting most of us in the world. It’s called ‘phone-buried’. Earlier, people used to walk straight-backed, with a purpose. Now they slouch, not seeing what’s happening around them. Even if they were to be hit by an oncoming truck, they wouldn’t even time for the proverbial famous last words in a speech as they died, but their last words would be capsuled in a text message they would be typing at the time of impact. Or they would probably even take a pic of the incoming truck and tag it with,”Woohoo you won’t believe a truck is gonna hit me!!!!”
The disease of being phone-buried runs so deep that even when one meets friends for dinner, all of them are engrossed not in actual conversation with each other, but in Whatsapp. And when their food arrives, they take a million pictures of their food to show the world where they are, prefixing everything with “YUM!!!”
The essence of NOW is slowly killed as we always live in the past and the future, where we are either reading the comments received on our pics or contemplating how many likes our pics are going to get. If we are ever in the present, we are wondering which pics to still add to complete our virtual album.
What’s even more disheartening is that even when we are out having a walk with a loved one, we are glued to our phone all the time. I consider this a social crime punishable by hanging to death, at least in my head. How can you treat someone who is with you at that very moment like dirt? And when it comes to that, how can you be on the phone ALL the time?
We eat, drink, breathe and think only about the virtual world nowadays, and that’s because of our smartphones. A simple ‘Like’ or a ‘retweet’ is what we crave for, and when we do get them, it’s like we’ve won the Nobel Prize. Whatsapping and looking at the ‘last seen’ column gives us the satisfaction of actually looking at that person.
The social life that used to be has all but disappeared because of our preoccupation with our virtual social networks. The people who are physically present around us are no more important; they are just background noise! The rising sun and the sunset are just mere subjects for Instagramming. Sadly, all beautiful natural phenomena exist today in a world where gadgets are taking over human emotions.
Even our sleep is now not without its share of interruptions – we hear our phones buzzing at regular intervals and keep checking our phones for new emails and alerts. Our phones are becoming a nightmare that for now, to phone users, seems like the most beautiful dream.
It’s time that we open our eyes and give value to the real things around us. Like the words that touch our hearts and not the emoticons that remind us of an emotion. Like the people who are really our friends and standing next to us and not the ones who are tweeting or retweeting or liking where we are, at their convenience. Do respect the people who are around you, because burying yourself in your phone when in company is a sign that you are a dumb person with a smart phone.
And hey, watch out for that truck.
Jatin Sharma is a media professional who doesn’t want to grow up, because if he grows up, he will be like everybody else.
(Pictures courtesy www.dialaphone.co.uk, www.mid-day.com, mattjabs.com, www.chatelaine.com)