Saturday, October 3, 2015

Who’s in Control?

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Oct 2015

One of these days while my family was back in India for a few days, I was returning from the Church on a weekend morning. I dropped in at a restaurant on the way home to have breakfast. Soon after I placed my order and was having a chat with the bearer, two guys came in and sat at the table next to me and placed their orders.

Within a few minutes one of the guys got a call and started having a conversation while the other one was browsing on his phone. Very soon the second one also got a call and soon he was on full throttle with his conversation too. Meanwhile the breakfast was served at their table and they had the food all the while continuing on their phones. The whole of the breakfast was spent talking over the phone and while I was paying my bill at the counter, both of them were still conversing on their mobiles.

I remember a few years back when we didn’t have this thing called ‘smart phone’, a time together with family and friends at a restaurant used to be one filled with fun and laughter. We never had a moment of silence among us and we could appreciate every bit of food the way it was. These days we feel empowered with the world being at our finger tips. But many a times we forget to have a solid conversation with the people with whom we go out and even worse we rarely get to know the taste of the food we have.

Many of us have the habit of checking the latest message or posting on social media such as WhatsApp or Facebook while having our food. We fail to notice how delicious the food is and the strangest part is even the tastiest of the food may turn out to be pretty disgusting at times with the kind of messages or images we get to see on these media. The social media facilitates us to have a very tasty dosa and chutney along with a gory image of hundreds of people dead in an accident. I wonder what the state of our brain is with all this. On one hand our taste buds are trying to say, enjoy this lovely dosa with chutney whereas on the other hand the brain is fed with extremely scary pictures that instill fear and aversion to the violence displayed on a mobile screen!

These do not just stop with the food. Earlier days when we were not equipped with these smart phones, we had so much more time to do many other things of interest. We used to read more, we had more time to experiment new things in life and we spent more quality time with our family, to name a few. A lot of our time now gets consumed by these devices that we invented to make our life easier. In reality, is it actually making our lives easier or we’re becoming slaves to these gadgets? To top it all, ask yourself the question what do these ‘electronic friends’ of ours got to offer? We keep waiting for the next notification to rush and open a new message from a WhatsApp group or a new story posted on Facebook or craves for the feel good factor by seeing a ‘like or a comment’ on one of our postings.

To make the whole experience even more enigmatic, most of us do not even realize that this is in fact happening in our lives. Probably it is good to ask yourself these questions. When was the last time you did something outside the digital world that made you and your family proud? When was the last time you did something outside the addictive universe of internet that gave you a ‘feel good’ factor? People who were lucky to have had a past before the arrival of ‘smart phones’ might remember the days when you did things that made you feel good without having to rush and post it online.

If you ever get a feeling that life is slipping away under your feet to the ‘connected world’, remember that you always have an option to disable the Wi-Fi or Mobile Data on your phone. Learn again to look at your loved ones’ eyes and not just their ‘display profiles’. Remind yourself to play with your kids and not just respond to someone’s comments on their pictures in Facebook. At least when you are spending time with your family, turn off these options and connect back to real life!

Remind yourself that there is nothing more important than investing time with your family. Any given day, that will give you more happiness than the increasing numbers of ‘likes or comments’. Hold your kids’ hands and take them to a world beyond the internet. Make them experience the happiness you had before we had these gadgets. I’m sure they’ll be really thankful for you for that ‘old-world-experience’!

Remember to switch off and regain your life. Do not let others and their posts or messages control you and your life.

May the good God bless you to stay connected in a fruitful manner! 

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