Do not get up
Dr. Navniit Gandhi
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
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If we observe closely all around us, there is a definite conspiracy to make our lives easier. All the advertisements; all the trends; all the gadgets; and all the turn of events --all urge us to live life as conveniently as possible.
In short, bend your neck… look at a screen for hours, and get what you want---be they flowers, fruits, life partner, house, friends, entertainment, gifts, clothes and whatever else you want. All the companies and all the trends around us convey one message: Do not get up.
In short, do not go out to buy vegetables and fruits; do not talk with the vendors; do not go to shops and have a chat with the sales personnel or fellow customers. In short, do not go out and say hello to your neighbour and do not take a bus or train and go to your friend’s house for a cup of tea… Stay (dis)connected with your friends and neighbours 24x7, online.
Life is becoming easy, isn’t it? Just stay glues to a few screens. Do not get up early morning to go to the temple but rather, switch on the laptop and take the darshan online. Do not go and give bear hugs to friends on their birthdays but just send cakes, cards and greeting cards online… Yes, do not even visit the card shop to buy a card for any occasion anymore. Send e-cards; save money and save yourself the joy of sending the real happiness on real faces when one gets a greeting card.
Do not go to book shops; do not bargain with the book-sellers on the pavement and make an enquiry or two about their lives or business… Simply, order an e-book online and read it on your screen. Just do not get up…
We are the smart generation, using smart phones. We must stay connected smartly and live smart and conveniently.
In short, millions are being spent to ensure that we sit at one place and become loners. Millions are being spent on making this exercise of not getting up attractive and easy. From the time that the morning dawns, we reach out for our cell phones or laptops and keep looking at the bright and smart screens till the time we hit the bed. Of course, some smarter ones amongst us keep getting up in between their sleep to keep checking the screen. After all, it is important to stay connected and maintain the balance between the real and the virtual world. Little do we realize that while getting addicted to the virtual world, we might very well become unfit for the real world. In the real world, there are real people; real emotions; real smiles; real fights; real chats; real shopping and real communication. But then, all this requires effort and sometimes, real things also become unpleasant. Sitting snugly in a corner, staring at a cold screen is neither difficult and nor can get unpleasant. As far as people are concerned, we do not have to bother how they are or what are their reactions or facial expressions etc. Simply keep typing and chatting. As far as shopping is concerned, one doesn’t have to inhale polluted air or walk on packed pavements or be out in hot and humid conditions. Simply sit on an armchair at home and keep placing orders. Even during festivals such as Raksha Bandhan, no need to get out and buy rakhee from a shop and then sweets from another and then take the trouble of going over to the brother’s place and tying the rakhee. Just keep sitting and place the order online.
Apart from what this conspiracy of not allowing us to get up from one place will do to our bodies, the consequences will be dangerous for the mind. We are being encouraged to just live by ourselves, while clutching one smart gadget. The mind will very soon not be comfortable with real people and real issues around. Within a house and within an office, people are sending whatsapp messages to each other, calling each other out of their rooms for lunch or asking how one is doing etc. Parents and children, sitting in different rooms are amused on receiving messages from each other on the screen. Even if they sit together at dinner-tables, each one is looking at the screen in-between, while distractedly putting some morsels in the mouth. The mind could soon get uncomfortable in large gatherings or even in one-to-one relations. People are resorting to messaging instead of meeting up upfront, if they have something unpleasant to communicate. While much is being discussed about the lifestyle diseases increasing at an alarming rate and also about the poor communication skills in our children these days, it is the impact on the mind and the lonely lives which we are moving towards—which must be our primary concern.
The companies, in order to push sales, will definitely encourage us to remain glued online, While it may seem rosy now, and one might marvel that we can very easily see the variety of options and we don’t have to go on crowded roads, shops and pavements, but man (and of course, woman too) is essentially a social being. We need to socialise and socialising definitely does not mean that we have hundreds of online friends and a dozen of groups on whatsapp. Sending forwarded messages on enriching life and positive thinking to all friends in all groups, at one-go early in the morning, is definitely not the way to stay in touch with friends. We need to get up; meet friends; hug them; wipe a tear or two and hold hands to feel good and reassured.
Whatever is easy and convenient may not always be the right thing for us. Let us pause for a while and think. Let us shed for a few minutes our sense of pride and amusement for being so tech-savvy and, think. The sense of pride at we being able to afford sleek gadgets is highly unfounded and over-rated. The instances of depression, loneliness and living-on-the-edge have grown to alarming proportions. It is important to not sever our ties with real people; real issues; real talks; and real angry outbursts. It is important to get up and leave the cold bright screens aside for a lot many hours and talk with friends, family members, neighbours and strangers in the market. It is important to talk with people—be they family members, or maids, vendors, bus drivers, co-passengers or just people around us. If we talk, we learn new perspectives on life, emotions and circumstances. If we were not so connected to our gadgets, we would not be so disconnected with our own selves and those around us. The more we get up, go out and observe how life is treating others, stronger and sturdier we shall be.
Children have begun to give options to their parents that it is not important to go to a school since there are options of joining an online course and attending virtual lectures in a virtual classroom. Yes, probably an exceptionally qualified teacher from a reputed University will be accessible to thousands of children without the pupils ever getting up and taking the efforts to join that University. However, can life in a real college be compared with online classrooms? Can teaching online be compared with real teaching in a real classroom where a teacher can walk up to a teary-eyed student who is facing a personal tragedy and give a reassuring pat on the back? Can a bond between the two be built while staring at a bright screen?
Teaching apps have come; shopping apps have come; entertainment apps have come; gaming apps have come; quizzing apps have come… A Mothering App could be the next smart app on our smart gadgets. A mother, after giving birth to a child, need not get up either. A smart gadget could be tied around the infant’s neck or the crib, and the virtual mother could coo the baby; sing lullabies at fixed times; blow virtual kisses and talk sweet-nothings and as the child grows up, could even give talks on ethics and morality. Wonderful, isn’t it!!! The mother does not have to get up.
Well, am still confused about some actions such as e-brushing, e-bathing etc… Will the human waste too eventually become virtual or will the mother have to get up to change the diaper???
Dr. Navniit Gandhi is an academician, and a freelance writer/columnist. She has been writing extensively for several newspapers, magazines, web-portals and academic publications and has authored five Books, till date.
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