The alarm went off in a harsh crescendo. Bleary eyed, having slept badly at night, my left hand hammered the alarm shut, even as my right hand grabbed the smart phone. As the screen flickered to life, three buddies, my life-long, iconic companions, stared at me. Did I say iconic? Oh, no, no! Don’t get me wrong; not that iconic person who inspires you. Actually there were three icons on the screen-
Facebook: 53 unread notifications (Oh yeah, I uploaded my best pic last night! People ‘like me so much!)
Whatsapp: 151 unread messages (as if something earth shattering had been revealed!)
Gmail: 52 unread mails in my inbox (Yeah, lot of eye-catching advertisements and insurance mails claiming to save my life!)
Well, well, as was obvious, as was the trend nowadays, my thumb hovered above the screen, all itching to touch these icons. I could literally hear them talking in my head, goading me urgently: “C’mon, Human! Read us! We are so full of spicy and saucy stuffs! Inject your empty head with latest info!”
I felt as if I was a participant in an information rut-race; as if my only option was to win this race lest I get trampled by other digital seekers; as if all these cobweb of global information was inevitable and downright essential for my survival, otherwise, you never know, I would be hurled back to the stone-age!
But then, curiously, I knew not why, I didn’t give in to these digital urges; my thumb still hovered over the screen, itching longingly, and somewhere in the back of my mind, a wise voice whispered: Just let go…Just let go…
On sudden impulse, I flung away my cell phone in the farthest corner of my bed. And, before these urges could become too tempting to resist, I willed myself up and walked out the house. I felt oddly relieved, the burden of my cell phone (300 grams physically and a whole lot of tons mentally!) not there with me for the first time in many years.
I pondered as I walked to the nearest community garden, the morning sun, red and rosy, as cool breeze soothed my mind.
Information! Disinformation! Misinformation! They sound like a terrorizing attack of three online missiles! And why not, they indeed are a sort of massive, alien-like attack; by the time you’ve read this post, billions of Facebook posts, trillions of twitter tweets, tens of thousands of videos would have already been done on internet! Yeah, that’s the pace, rather to say, Super-light-speed of the internet. Do you know the per second consumption rate on net. It is 24000 gigabytes in just a second!
With so many people across the world, spending so much time on this digital den, it’s like an insult to the reality, a condemnation of life itself! And no doubt, when Reality and Life is ignored, when the force of nature is taken for granted, the way of destruction is paved. Anxiety, suicidal tendencies, loneliness, extremism, hatred are the usual evils. One innocent remark, a simple negligible comment goes awry and lo! The Havoc! A Forest-fire of trolls and insults laced with politics and perversion spread out in nanoseconds!
I stop by a Tea stall selling red tea and freshly baked biscuits. Gathered around the shop are few motley of men: laborers, newspaper vendors, hawkers and milkmen. They are sipping their teas and talking and laughing. Their cell phones belong to the stone-age period, with no internet facility. Yeah, I agree, many of them have the smart phones nowadays. But still…there are many who haven’t even heard about Whatsapp or Facebook. They do not really care if no one ‘likes’ them on the digital pages. Look at their faces. Yes, really observe them. You will find them happier, much content. They don’t have 300 FB friends to boast about; but just a few loved ones and real friends to live with and laugh along.
Going back home, after refreshing sip of tea and cracking a good joke with the tea vendor, I feel deeply content. I know I can’t ignore the digital urges for long. But I do know, and so do you all, that it’s high time to switch our Digital Mode off and flick our Real Mode on. Believe me – that is the only option to live life truthfully…