Outsmarted by a smart phone

Outsmarted by a smart phone
Highlights

It’s a phone... it’s a camera.... it’s a radio.....it’s a video game..... It’s a computer. It’s all this and a lot more because it’s a smart phone. When I was first gifted my smart phone, it was a dream come true.

It’s a phone... it’s a camera.... it’s a radio.....it’s a video game..... It’s a computer. It’s all this and a lot more because it’s a smart phone. When I was first gifted my smart phone, it was a dream come true.

The access to android market is the USP of this gadget.You could stay in touch with friends through facebook, find your way around myriad lanes courtesy the google maps, follow people on twitter, catch up with the latest news, keep a tab of your email accounts, play games, read books and of course make phone calls! Move over SMS and emails, google chat and whatsapp are the latest fad if one wants to share messages and jokes.

Clicking pictures and posting them has been made so ridiculously simple that one finds their pictures on social network before you can say “Mickey Mouse”! Even if one does not have a horde of paparazzi chasing them, one could still make an attempt to stay in the limelight with selfies! And if you thought that smart phones are only meant for fun, think again! You can do a lot of serious stuff with smart phones (did someone say blackberry?).
There are various apps tailor made for a wide range of professions like doctors, bankers, engineers etc. Students can have access to a lot of ready reckoners while the religiously inclined could easily access the hymns and chants of their favourite gods and goddesses.
The sense of empowerment one gets while calling a politician’s bluff on social network or while catching a taxi drivers prank if he deliberately tries to take a longer route is really thrilling. One could readily croon to the song “I’ve got the power”. One enterprising mobile network even made it into a catchy phrase “ No ullu banaoing!”.With features such as these, a smart phone has almost become a surrogat symbol for the owner’s smartness!
So imagine my chagrin when one fine morning the coveted gadget just stopped working. The world seemed to have gone topsy-turvy for me. When LORD KRISHNA said that a person who maintains his equanimity during periods of tribulation would be the most successful one, he perhaps had this situation in mind! For equanimity was one emotion I really seemed to lack without a smart phone.
I found myself reaching out to my phone every five minutes hoping and praying that it would start working miraculously. Numerous questions filled my mind. Did someone send me a mail which I need to respond to urgently? Am I missing some earth shattering event? How many likes/comments have come for my latest status update on facebook? Off course I did have my laptop from where I could access all these but a laptop which just a couple of years back seemed to be small and compact now appeared bulky and passé.
I would wake up in the middle of the night to look for the latest tweets only to sadly realize that I had lost my passage to twitter. It was akin to Alibaba forgetting the spell “Open Sesame”. I knew that all those tweets were waiting for me to see on the other side of the screen but I could not access them.
The entire situation was an eye opener. The smart phone had silently crept into my life and I just felt incomplete and debilitated without it.So when I finally bought my next more improved version of the smart phone, I thought that I had a lot of catching up to do. However, what I had realized was that the world had not ceased because I had failed to update my status on facebook or approved a few witty tweets.
My email inbox also revealed a similar picture. It made me realize that i had built a world around myself where I would tweet to a vaguely known person across the world but would fail to acknowledge a colleague sitting in the same room, would like a temple in another country on facebook but would not find enough time to visit the temple in the neighborhood, share a joke on whatsapp rather than have a witty conversation with the family.
Of course the ill effects are there to be seen. Overuses of facebook and twitter have been reported to be associated with depression and insomnia. In a sense, this whole incident taught me a precious lesson. Like medicines have therapeutic and side effects, everything good comes with a rider.
We need to set our limits and stick to them. Life is a challenge, let us make the most of everything good but let us never forget the basics which in this case are that smart phones were made for our benefit. Let us not get enslaved by them.
By:Dr.Tandava Krishnan
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