THE INVISIBLE LEASE

Why on earth is his phone switched off?‘ there was panic in my voice. ‘He must be in a meeting.’ said my sister. ‘No he always keeps it on silent mode during meetings doesn’t switch it off.. ‘.’OK then the battery must be dead‘ she came up with another reason and I was quick to shoot it down. ‘It was fully charged in the morning. It’s not possible that it drains off so quickly‘ by now my mind was in a tizzy. I called his secretary who said sir had already left for the day. Now my heart was beating loudly and all sorts of bad thoughts were coming in my mind. This whole episode lasted only 15 minutes and here came my dear hubby smilingly into the house. ‘Why was your phone switched off?’ was my greeting to him. He was taken aback. Actually his phone had fallen down and battery and cover had come off since he was so near to the house he decided to assemble it at home. I realized how our need to be connected all the time is so high we can’t imagine what to do if for some time that connection is lost. 

I don’t know how many times this has happened with you but I am notorious for it. I sent a message to my friend on WhatsApp. And then checked, one tick – ‘Oh OK not delivered yet’. After 10 Mins – double tick, ‘OK great now she will see it’. I double checked her last seen also to understand how much time has lapsed since she was away from her phone. Another 15 minutes pass now when I checked it showed blue ticks. ‘Oh great now she has seen it. But wait she has seen the message then why has she not replied?’ Another 5 minutes pass away and now my thoughts are ‘Why is she ignoring me? After reading the message also she doesn’t have the time to answer me. My God, this lady has become very snobbish these days.‘ Later on I come to know that the phone was in the hands of her 3 year old daughter who was playing some game on the phone and happily clicking on all the notifications also. 

How many times has it happened that when you send a message on the WhatsApp group and after some time check on the info button to see who all have read it. And wonder why they didn’t respond. 

Actually the more we are getting connected the more we are becoming addicted or enslaved by this connectivity. We can’t seem to function without it or exist without it.

Summer vacations are on. And our kids go to their friend’s house to play. Ya! what’s new in this even we used to spend the whole afternoons at each other’s house playing board games. Well the difference is here they all carry their cell phones, the host swtiches on the hotspot to give everyone access to wifi , they log in to an online multi-player game and sit together everyone’s head buried in their respective mobiles playing against each other. Looking at them I wondered whether they were actually more connected by technology or more disconnected. 

But then this is how our life is. I wonder how we as kids managed in the times of landlines and how our parents used to keep a track of us. Nowadays it’s mandatory to give even small children mobile phones to keep a track of them when they go out to play or go to the tuitions etc. Feels like an invisible leash on them. 

I am not trying to portray only the negative part. I love being on WhatsApp. The best part for me is the group chats. When we can talk to family members or friends together. It’s like sitting in one place and chatting. With our busy schedules this becomes a boon.  My sisters and I talk mostly via our WhatsApp group. There is no Compulsion of immediate answer. A topic starts in the morning and each one keeps replying as and when they have time. We end up discussing the same topic till evening. It’s very comfortable for us. We can have long chats also and it doesn’t intrude into our daily routine. The down side to it is if I get a call from her I get worried that it must be some emergency or else she would have just messaged me. 

Facebook is another such frenemy (friend and enemy). I am connected to so many people on fb. Some of whom I haven’t met for 20-25 years. Even though catching up is fun at times I wonder do I really need to be connected with so many people many of them just acquaintances? And most importantly does everyone need to know so many details of my life. 

With so many controversies over the data theft or other privacy issues in news these days we really need to rethink how much of ourselves do we want to share with the world. And how much should we stay connected. It’s OK for the Wi-Fi connection to be lost at times who knows you might just discover some new hobby or something new about our family members. Like we all recently did. My kids were playing a game on the computer, my husband was busy with his laptop and I was admiring the recent vacation pics posted by my friends on Facebook. When Suddenly due to some fault the Wi-Fi stopped working. After a lot fretting and fuming and calling up the internet guys we came to know that we won’t get a connection till evening. Wonder of wonders we survived and actually enjoyed ourselves. Our family of four really connected over a game of Uno. 

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