Monday, 28 October 2013

Technogadgets take over the human race

"Marriage makes life so interesting," one of our friends remarked, as he was getting ready to leave after a boisterous, eating, drinking, joking get together at our place. I wondered what was coming, as he is one witty person and a life of all parties.

He proceeded to elaborate that it is such a unique relation- it inspires the maximum number of jokes. Indeed a good part of the evening had been dedicated to two people alternately reading out forwards from their smart phones, 90% of these forwarded jokes were pro men...........Grrrrrrrrr.

I had to intervene to say, that reading out from phones was a strict no no.....not just because most of the forwarded stuff had at some point, been forwarded to me but simply because the infringement of technology on human interactions has taken epic proportions. I have to admit, I am guilty too, my children have often remarked on my addiction to facebook and the phone/laptop screen.

However, I have decided to start my crusade against the overwhelming impact of technology on everyday human communication.

My dad often used to say- "If you want to speak to your mum, its best you go out of the house and call her on the house phone from a phone booth"

Today, I too feel, it is easier to get my husband's attention if I am speaking to him on the phone or on one of the apps, which allows you to video chat. In person, there is too much competition from all the various gadgets in the house, be it the smartphone or the television.

The apple TV has ensured everything from songs, inspirational videos, speeches and photographs; are all available to watch, on demand, on the television screen or better still; projected on the wall if you have a projector, complete with the surround sound home theatre system, which accentuates every sound from rifle shots to music beats, and makes me wonder whether deafness is a cause or effect of the sound pollution I am being exposed to.

Latest in the run up to the gadget supremacy over human race, has been my son communicating with me through Google translate on the iPad. He has developed sores in his mouth and tongue and is finding it painful to speak, hence he types it on Google translate English to English and I hear a well groomed crisp adult voice say in a perfect British accent-"I love you mummy" or "If I mutate into a cat, will I still have a human brain?" This was after I voiced my worries on hearing him mewing his demands to me rather than speak out in words.

Kids are the worst hit, I agree, they suddenly look bereft, unable to cope and seem not to know what to do with themselves when you take away the screens, which breathe life into them, i.e smartphone, iPad, laptop and television.

But my 72 year old mum is no better. She said the other day- "Can you ring me tomorrow, sometime, I need to talk to you about something?" A bit concerned, I said, "why don't you tell me now?"

"Oh no," she said, "I cant speak now, Balika Vadhu is coming" So much for an international call! She is retired and not so well, yet finding time to talk to her in her busy schedule of serials is not easy.

Why even in the hospital, in meetings and handovers, people are on their phones or if they aren't already, we usually find something that we need to google or check the college guideline for and hence the swanky phones come out of the pockets and hand bags for a perfectly legitimate and valid reason!

Technology is here to stay, but we need to draw a line- The other day my son was admonished for playing on his phone during a puja havan ceremony and rightly so...........phones should not start ringing during a consultation, when you are spending precious evening time with family during weekdays and they should certainly not be used as joke books in a party!

Mobile phones and television has ensured we don't feel the need to know our neighbours or make small talk with people on the bus, train....yet we all seem to have 200+ friends on Facebook, a lot of them we wouldn't recognise, if they crossed us on the street or happened to be on the same train, sitting next to us, until we updated our status- "at King's Cross, tube station!"

God forbid!