Posted in human nature, Life, modernization, reality, reflections, technology, Uncategorized

The people who live next door

A few days ago, I was coming back home from an outing and my eyes fell upon the door of our neighbors. Theirs is the apartment just opposite ours. A blue balloon and a ‘It’s a Boy’ door hanging caught my attention. Naturally, I understood  that the couple who got married last year now have a baby boy. I say ‘the couple’ because I don’t know their names. In fact, I don’t know anything about them except their physical appearance. Actually, I am not sure if I can remember how they look really because I happened to see them not more than 5-6 times in the span of a year. Funny, isn’t it? I know what my fellow bloggers/Facebook friends do, where they live, where they went on a holiday, what their last post/status was about but I don’t know the same about my neighbors. 

Being a 90s kid, I understand that this was not the scenario a decade ago. Those days, neighbors were the closest group of people after one’s family. They were always a part of a family’s joy as well as sufferings. Those were the days of petty arguments followed by apologies and promises of everlasting friendship. Those were the days when kids were more interested in whats cooking in the house of the aunt who lives next door. In fact, probably most of our free time was spent in our neighbor’s house than our own, or in playing ‘London statue’ and ‘catching cook’ with the society kids in the building compound. 

But technology again has intervened like a jealous, stubborn girl who does not like sharing her friends with others. People are no longer a part of a neighborhood. Playgrounds lie in desolation with an exception of a few lonely kids once in a while. Today’s children have virtual friends called Angelina, virtual pets like ‘Talking Tom’ and a motion-sensored Xbox 360 to play games like tennis and football without actually going outdoors. I asked my kid sister if she knows how to play hopscotch, only to get a devastating reply, ‘what is hopscotch?’ 

While adults of the house spend much of their free time in stalking people on Facebook, checking out (and burning in jealousy, ofcourse) holiday pictures of high school batchmates they haven’t probably met since farewell. But ask them about their neighbors and you would probably be informed that they are not nosy neighbors. 

I don’t know how many of you all would agree but I really miss those days when I could get a ready solution to any problem from my neighbor. There wasn’t any need of joining any kind of support group then. Although the idea of virtual friends is interesting and the benefits of social media probably outnumber the drawbacks, I believe once in a while we need to be grounded to reality. We need to retain the good practices of our ancestors to ensure that they are not lost forever in this digital era. 


Posted in addiction, New age, technology

A Cellular Addiction

BAM!!!!!! I sighed in frustration when I looked at my 3 month-old Xperia Ion lying dead on the ground after a fall from the table. This was not the first time. Unfortunately, my cellphone has been sustaining these random injuries for a long time, thanks to my negligent attitude (which also is always  the “hot” topic of discussion with my Mom 😛 ) . I finally succumbed to the necessity of giving away my cell to the Service Centre sulkily. You know what that means? That I had given away half my life. The mere realization that I would not be able to WhatsApp now for the next 15 DAYS caused me so much anguish that I couldn’t savor the delicious Chicken Pasta I had that night for dinner. All I could think of, was how I would manage 2 weeks without my Xperia. It had everything that I needed in my daily life, my contacts, songs, notes, reminders, class time-table, season 7 of Supernatural and so many other beloved Apps that I had downloaded with so much of excitement from the Google PlayStore. And all of this was taken away in half a second. I stared grumpily at the guy smiling at me from behind the Customer Service counter, cursing him under my breath.

I went back home, tired. It was bedtime soon and I was so drowsy that I thought I would sleep as soon as I hit the bed. But I was sadly mistaken. My sleep was disturbed with my unconscious efforts to take my cell from under the pillow and check my notifications, only to realize that I no longer possessed one. Once it was morning, I got dressed for college and boarded the bus. The bus ride, as expected, was very unpleasant because I had to endure one whole hour of gossip in Malayalam ( a South Indian language I very much do not understand) from the girl sitting in the seat behind me. If only I had my cell, I could drown her bellows by the soothing songs on my playlist. By now, you may have guessed how my day would have proceeded. I had to stick around with my friends all the time fearing I would lose them and would have no way to contact them. 😛 .

But then, surprisingly, at the day’s end, I began to realize that I can actually have a very good, stress-free day without a cell too, only if I stop cribbing about it. It was stress-free because I found time to do the tasks I always neglected due to the times wasted in texting friends, and listening to the same dumb playlist again and again. There was no worry now. No complaints from friends that I did not reply to their senseless messages, or did not respond to their annoying missed calls. I had a simple, honest excuse – I do not have my cell. I was finally able to read half of ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’, which I have been trying to complete since around 2 months now. I also got the time to write this post in a peaceful state of mind. And, I also STUDIED (my mom shoukd read this 😛 ) .

I guess I really had become some sort of an addict. And I guess although this addiction was not killing me, it was definitely killing my time. I just hope I am able to manage my time efficiently even after I get my Xperia back 😛 I now know what famous keyboard player Ken Hensley meant when he said, ‘ It is hard to understand addiction unless you experienced it.’

Posted in modernization, New age, technology

Reality or Virtuality? Where do you live?

Hi to all the entities of the web out there! It has been quite some time since I last updated my blog, thanks to my 3rd year engineering exams, which I thought I’d finally study for, since I had so religiously bunked most of my classes in the past semester.  Over the period, I have experienced quite a number of incidents that I think should definitely be discussed on my blog.

So well, the issue at hand in this post is whether the advent of social networking, so highly popular these days in the form of Facebook, Twitter, BBM, WhatsApp, Skype blah blah, WORTH IT? Is it a boon or a bane? For most people especially of the current generation, including me, the question would seem ridiculous. All of us would jump up and defend our beloved social apps we are always hooked on to.

However, whether we like it or not, there are many concerns being raised by parents and teachers regarding the use of social media especially by children and teenagers. It affects them physically and psychologically. If not used under supervision, it makes them vulnerable to the big bad world out there.  Statistics prove that average time spent by a visitor on Facebook is 6.75 hours. To be very honest, I used to belong to the league.  Thankfully, I got bored (I get bored of stuff very easily, in this case, it sure has proved to be of my advantage). But the point is, it’s a whole lot of wastage of time. And from my experience  as a user, 99% of the time, I used it to just like random posts by people I did not know, stalk people I did not even care about and stare at photos of all those whose sole purpose of life is take a picture of themselves whenever possible.  So well, a lot has been debated about this and parents have been advised to supervise their innocent kids, and their not-so-innocent, moody, depressed teenagers who live in the virtual world.

But what about those addicted adults? Are they justified in using social networking?  Agreed, they know how to tell the difference between right and wrong, but is the time spent by them texting, posting statuses via their blackberries, androids really worth it? My mother recently got an SIII and has successfully joined the WhatsApp and Skype community. She uses it to communicate with her mother, sisters and brothers living in India. Frankly, I’ve never seen her so happy in life. She used to miss her siblings a lot and thanks to Skype, she can see them, hear them and talk to them from a thousand miles away.  But things have surely changed at home. I and my siblings have definitely noticed how less time we get to spend with her these days.  Sure, she is at home physically but we do not get to talk much since she is so busy texting her sister on WhatsApp.  So you see, I think the main culprit of the lack of communication at home these days is the excessive use of social networking sites. I had a talk with my mom about this and she got embarrassed and laughed it off. Next day, she kept her cell in her room to avoid Skype. And that was the end of that phase, thankfully.  I’m glad this has happened because now I really understand why my parents always had an issue whenever I used my cell constantly, and this incident has made me leave a few annoying habits I possessed . 

I am not here to discuss the Pros and Cons of Social networking. Everyone knows about them. We all know that it has served to fulfill the concept of Freedom of Speech and freedom to express ourselves. On the other hand, we all have also been reading  newspapers reporting incidents of lovers taking their lives because of betrayal over Facebook, or young girls being raped by strangers they met on MySpace and many more horrendous incidents I do not want to think about.  I just wanted to convey one simple message. 

And that is: Social networking is really good for keeping in touch with our family and friends all over the world, but it really isn’t worth it if you lose the people you live with, for those who are far away. I do not want to sound selfish and hypocritical but all I am trying to say is, I agree that people who matter in our life, whether they are near or far, deserve to be loved always but there is a difference between loving them and destructing time which needs to be utilized for other purposes of life as well.  Everyone has a life of their own, the REAL one, and it is better to understand the difference between the real and virtual before it is too late.