Every Sunday, I set up a get together where all my friends come to my place for dinner. Its something that I saw my parents do when I was a kid and that tradition continued as a college going urban-living guy who had his own flat. What really struck me though is that today, with all these different means of communication, I can literally reach out to all my friends. Be it my college friends or old school friends or work associates, I can find a medium to get through them. It gets slightly confusing though. For some, facebook would triumph as the way to send an invite (which would be referred to as an e-vite if you were really “cool”) while for others a text message would do. Gone are the days, when people picked up the phone, and just invited people.
In the good old days, I remember how my parents would have to manually go through their phone diaries, which would be scribbled with numbers to get hold of someone. They would sometimes have to call twice, incase the people they wanted to invite were not at home, the first time they called up! To think, today, all you have to do, is leave a text message for them to call you, when they get free!!
Just the fact that people seem to be getting lazier and lazier gets me infuriated. You know, I mean we have all this amazing technology and yet computers have turned into basically four figure gaming machines. The internet was supposed to set us free, democratize us even, but all it’s really given us is Anna Hazare’s fast, a blow by blow account via status update and an entire days access to Rakhi Sawant or Baba Ramdev. Really? People today, they don’t write anymore, they send wall posts online. Instead of talking, they text, no punctuation, no grammar: LOL this and LMFAO that. You know, it just seems to me it’s just a bunch of ignorant people pseudo-communicating with a bunch of other ignorant people at a proto-language that resembles more what cavemen used to speak in, than really what was once known to be the King’s English.
When was the last time you’ve met a friend, where, in between the conversation, you haven’t been distracted by an incoming text or incoming call. We anyway, as humans, have a low level of concentration. To further damage that by constant phone calls and messages, I’m amazed how we get work done, or conversations finished, if at all we do attempt such acts.
I was watching a movie on the bus recently, where this father is scolding his son for being a brat. And the son is looking down ashamed at being caught. The father, seeing this, rather skeptically observes how the only time this generation really has their heads down, is when they are sms-ing. Its true. So many times, I’m having dinner, with people around bowing their heads to their laps. Some would even have me believe they are praying before eating!
I don’t have anything against this Blackberry age, or the Iphone rage. I’m a part of it. I get why its so enticing and how it can be addictive. What I really desire to see though, is, people not being taken over by machines. The prophecy in The Terminator may just as well come true. Computers could suddenly develop artificial intelligence, or just as easily, humans could start behaving like computers!
There is a thin line between using machines as a tool for genuine convenience over being a little too lazy where you find the machines start taking over you, your conversations, your relationships.
Genuine affection can’t be replaced by the virtual world. The fact of the matter is, we can’t blindly salute a franchise where consumerism is at its peak. We must realize that we have to find a voice, and be able to simplify complicated relationships. “It’s complicated” is a relationship status that didn’t exist pre-technology. Airtel shouts out “harek friend zaroorihotahai”, yet, there are friends out there who would refuse to go to a friend’s place for a good conversation and rather sit back home, typing away their mono-syllabic replies to “how is it hanging”. The days of “What’s up” are set with an expiry date and have to be replaced back by more door bells ringing with a “knock knock-which is there”. Key holes at homes should bring in surprises again! Bring back the good old days, where your friends come over unannounced and making an evening out of it was a tradition that this great society thrived on!!
It’s pertinent to note, that I have written this article on my blackberry. Hence, my self-loathing.