ARE WE SMART ENOUGH TO USE SMARTPHONES?

What a wonderful week we had at Candles, didn’t we? And why not! After all, the topic for the week was Smartphones – close to each and everyone’s heart! Mostly everyone described how important smartphones are, right from waking you up in the morning till finding you a way if you are lost, shopping, staying in touch with friends and relatives, tips for cooking and parenting smartphones do just everything for you. On the other hand we did have Chiradeep and Sanskruti talk about how the smartphones have impacted them negatively.

Like every coin has two sides smartphones also come with advantages and disadvantages. Smartphones have certainly made life more convenient and easy and most of us cannot stop praising its worth. Having said that, it pops a question on my mind whether we are really smart enough to use smartphones?

I think no, we aren’t because we are getting addicted to it. We are over utilising smart phones. We are crossing the line of moderate usage of this gadget. Now it is a common scenario to spot people posing for selfies and chatting on phone even when they are with a group of friends or family. We are stepping into isolation because of smartphones.

Smartphones have replaced telephones, calculators, alarm clocks, recipe books, physical maps, cameras, audio and video players but smartphones can never replace human touch and emotions. A smartphone will not smile at you. A smartphone will never hug you. A smartphone will never hear your pain and a smartphone will never wipe your tears.

I am sharing a link to the video that moved me. Do watch it.

Let’s pledge to be smart enough to (understand when to stop to) use smartphone.

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PRISONER OF MY SMARTPHONE

Although smartphones have contributed a lot to our lives but I think they affe our quality of life.

A few months back, I visited my cousin’s house and met his two year old daughter for the first time. Just like any other kid, she is a very sweet girl but one thing kept bugging me- her constant usage of her mother’s phone. The minute the phone is taken away from her, she starts crying. The building in which they reside has a lot of kids of her age and she is even friends with them but doesn’t really enjoy their company as much as she enjoys smartphones. When my cousin was back from office, she kept aside the phone and ran straight to her father; sadly not to greet him, but to reach for his phone. I vaguely remember, I had left my phone in the other room and I was catching up with my cousin, when she crawled into my lap and searched for my phone. As her search went in vain, she jumped out of my lap with a sigh.

Not only the above incident but I have also noticed how much I have changed with this little box. My parents gave me a phone after my 10th grade. Now when I look back, I would say I was better without one. I love writing stories, reading novels and going out for bicycle rides. I used to do them very often but after getting my phone, the frequency has been constantly decreasing. I write stories once a month that too I have to push myself for it. I have almost stopped reading novels and going out for bicycle rides. I waste my whole day watching pointless videos or scrolling through social media.

I am not that crazy about selfies and photography as compared to most of the people I am surrounded with. Last year, my school had taken us on a trip to an amusement park. My classmates were more interested in showing their online friends as to how much fun they were having on the rides whereas in reality, they were more concerned about the number of photographs they had posted.

I think it won’t be wrong to say that we are prisoners of our own smartphones. One doesn’t have to share every moment with hundreds of people because it’s more important to cherish the moment with the ones who are actually with us.

It’s time we put down our phones and make the most of our days.

“Disconnecting helps you connect and create more.” – Ann Makosinski
She said this in one of her talks as to why she doesn’t use a smartphone.

​MY SMARTPHONE SAYS – “DON’T BLAME ME”

Will it not be an injustice to blame a mere gadget?

We, 90’s born has experiences in both post – ‘Smartphone culture’ and ‘Pre-Smartphone culture’. None of us can deny the contributions of the Smartphones in our lives. There are numerous evidences of how our Smartphones had made our works easier and effective and on-time as well.

One of the scariest nights of my life was a night in October 2015. I was on a full-week official trip to some of the remote places of Odisha and all of my assigned places and contacts were completely stranger to me. The only option for me was WhatsApp or SMS to my new contacts when I arrive. It was 2 O’ clock in the midnight I got down from the bus in the midst of a jungle. I tried to call my contact to pick me but there was no network. It was my first visit to that place and that day there was curfew because of some communal riot. Military forces were on combat operation with Naxalites. My contact had no idea about me apart from my arrival time. I was all alone in the midst of a jungle in that dark night. There was no network, no street light, no people and that to in a red-light zone. Almost after half an hour of such struggle I found my contact person searching for me on his motorbike. He just asked me – “Are you Mr. Avinash?” Before I could reply him he said, “Sir, sit as quickly as possible.” After reaching his home he broke out the good news to me. He said, “Sir, praise God I found you immediately. If I would have been little late then either you were in CRPF custody or you would have been dead at a point-blank range.

This is one of the interesting stories from my travel diary. Since 8 years, being a person always on road, I stayed away from my family and hometown. It is not at all possible for me to depend on someone to do my work. Whether it is waking up early in the morning or communicating some important message to someone, I need my Smartphone at all cost! Though I and my elder sister are always miles away from our parents, every night our Smartphone makes it easier for all of us share our emotions and thoughts and even at times taking the family decision together by video conferencing. Miles away alone whenever I miss my friend I just Google Duo video chat and see the lovely face and rejuvenate myself.

Now, do you think this mere machine is going bad?

In this world, everything comes in a mixed bag. From Man to Machine everything comes with their strengths and weaknesses. Living in this paradox culture the choice is up to us! A machine is given in our hand, not we human beings in the hands of a machine! For the right kick to our life and for the smart using of our Smartphone Bible suggests us two metaphors –

“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who Lacks SELF-CONTROL.”

“Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what COMES OUT of a person that defiles them.”

Think to be Smarter than your Smartphone!

Avinash

I GOT THE POWER TO CONTROL THE WORLD AROUND ME

Here I am to contradict myself.

Yesterday, I cursed my second wife and today I am gonna say sorry to her and praise her. 😛

The first phone that I got was a blessing for me… Why? Because I could talk to my then would be wife. But that phone didn’t give me everything which my wife… I mean my second wife gave at a later part of my life. 😉

I was fascinated and exhilarated with the fact that I can do almost everything by just pressing few buttons. Being a sickly person I always find it difficult to call a taxi walking down a bit, go to a restaurant or shopping spending so much on taxis, stand in the queue for money, requesting someone to carry the money to my parents and so on. But my smart phone made everything possible. I can just sit on my bed and book a cab right from there, I can order food of my choice just sitting at my house, without spending a penny on travel, buy stuffs for myself and my wife or family right from my mobile. I can transfer money at ease to my parents. The funniest part is when I need some cash and I don’t have avenues to go to the bank except walking down, I transfer money someone else’s account and ask him to withdraw and give it to me. 😉

Wow! I am in control!

My smart phone gave me an opportunity to run a community called ‘Candles Online‘. That is the biggest thing that happened in my life. I remember, once I forgot to schedule an article and it was already time for publication. I called Aastha and Rajnandini and both were busy and were helpless. But that didn’t bother me even I was in a birthday party. Why? Because I had my second smart wife who easily helped me to do my work.

My smart phone helped me to carry my Bible everywhere. This is a Huge benefit. I always longed for buying different versions of Bibles for better study but always had felt sad thinking about the cost of them. Now, I can have them all free of cost at one spot called, “Smart Phone”.

My smart phone always comes to my help when I am extremely tired and don’t feel like using my laptop. It is handy and helps me to do some urgent work with ease on my phone.

Yesterday, my Nani wanted to see us and I told my aunt we can video chat and she can see us. I video called my aunt and my Nani can easily saw us and spoke to us.

I have been talking to many, from around the world. Actually, my smart phone gave me a platform where I can stand and address people those who are in need. It literally gave me the power to control the world around me. It is like, these smart phones are invented mainly for the people like me who makes the best use of it and keeps the world under my feet.

But!!!

Using my smart phone as my servant will be safer for me. The moment I give too much attention to it, it starts dancing on my head and occupies most of my times and the consequence is a scenario about which I described yesterday. You can find it HERE.

I can conclude my article with the question which Aastha asked me after reading my yesterday’s article: “Dada, don’t you think the reason behind the chaos is not your phone but YOU?”

Stay Blessed!

I FOUND A CHAOTIC ME THROUGH MY SMART PHONE

I used to call my  mobile and laptop as my second and third wives jokingly and now I feel the tragic of having them as my wives.

When I had my first mobile in 2004 I was feeling so proud and jubilant about it. And once as I was having my dinner sitting beside my uncle my phone rang and I picked up the phone. It was a call from my then would be wife. I asked her I will call back in sometime and finished my food quickly. But my uncle reprimanded me saying, “Never allow a phone call to disturb during your meal”. I was irritated at that time but now when I see how we live and how disturbed we are every time we have our meals or do any personal work.

Recently, we just finished our annual meeting and something irked me very much which I want to share. One of our very senior member started talking over the phone in the middle of the discussion and all had to wait till he finished talking over the phone. A week ago I was talking to my wife, discussing and planning when her phone rang and she started talking to the person who had called breaking the flow of our discussion.

Few days ago, I went on a whatsapp strike and called up Rajnandini to manage the group in my absence. I was so irritated that I wanted to stay away from my phone. It was a sign of typical mood swing as someone told me. I agree to her but I really very unhappy now with the way I have managed my life alongside this stupid idiot box.

One day I was talking to Avinash and I said if one day we wake up and see all our smart phones have become tiny bar phones we will wail and cry for few days missing our social networks, instant notifications, whatsapp and may be after two three years we will settle down with the bar phone feeling happy with lessened disturbances in life. There will be quite an upheaval for some time and then everything will be managed without a smart phone. I know nothing like that can ever happen but that’s just a wish I wished few days ago.

You must be thinking, why I am cribbing against my own wife? Second wife, I mean. 😛

It is because I am bit upset with her for last few days…

It has made me lazy, extremely. There are things which I used to do by walking out of my house, now I do the same thing sitting on my bed. The little bit of exercise that I used to do has stopped now.

It has made me kind of unsocial as I don’t like anyone to invade my virtual life. I love it when I am with my Facebook and Whatsapp friends. They are known to me, I agree… In that way I am very social but I somehow don’t like the face to face conversation much.

Recently, someone wanted to talk to me and get little advise from me. I asked him to ping me on Whatsapp and I rarely chat with him on there as well.

It has also made me lose my communication skills with my wife, with my relatives and friends. I get irritated easily as I don’t want to look at them or be engaged with them for a long time as I am busy on my phone.

Once my brother came to my house and after sometime he said, “I am going now, you are busy and bhabi is not there…so“. Then I realised why he said that and I kept my laptop and phone at once and started talking to him.

I know my smart phone has benefited me in many ways but it has turned me into someone which I can’t recognise myself.

Aastha says, “My phone takes care of almost everything for me.”

Preeta says, “At least for me, my smart phone has really been my knight in shining armour.”

And today I confess that, “I found a chaotic me through my smart phone“.

MY IRIS OPENS YOU, YOU OPEN THE WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES TO ME …

An year ago around same time, I was at my hometown. There was a TV commercial which made my dad’s head turn, he looked at us (me and my sister were lazing on the sofa), and asked “What is that ?”. My sister was the first to react, she started in an exclaiming voice and said, “That’s iris scanner papa. To unlock the phone you just have to see into the scanner and boom it unlocks the phone in a ziffy !!”.

I jokingly told my dad to buy the phone to which he wittily replied saying I should be the one buying such phones. It was the Samsung S8+.

Oh!! In olden days … (as per my father) 

There were books, journals, magazines, weekly and monthly issues. While embarked on a train or bus journey we used to take some books or buy news paper on the railway platform. For the latest happenings in the country or even our county we have to wait for a day for the information to be presented to us in the form of  newspaper

There were landline phones, though the name sounds funny, they are fixed devices. To be able to make a call, we either have to be at home or find an STD booth. While walking along the streets we used to remember where the STD booth’s on the way were so that we can contact our family in emergency. When we shift homes changing the connection means raising a support request, wait for at least 2-3 days until the connection is moved to new place. If there were rains or huge winds, the lines used to go bad making the phone dead.

To apply for jobs we have to wait for the circular to be published in the newspaper, or there were special job vacancy catalogs which we could buy in book stores. 

Fashion magazines were the only go-to for latest fashion trends. Word of mouth was a great advertisement tool back then.

To listen to our favorite songs, we have to wait for a week so that the music show/dial-in program will be aired. Even the radio had programs solely based on latest songs. Entire family gathers near the radio for the program eagerly waiting for it to start and sing together, it was such a fun waiting for those songs.

To pay the electricity bill, we have to collect our bill, take proper change (as in dime/paise), stand in the queue to pay the bill. If there is any discrepancy or mistake it takes days together to get it corrected. It is similar case for bus or train reservations. All of this has changed due to technology… 

He took a pause and said, “Life is so convenient now, we don’t have to invest so much of time on all these important things. Auto-register for payment of the bills and we are done”

Really, life is very convenient now. Let me give you my own example.

(Contd.,) Few months later, I was looking for a phone with a good camera. Due to my health condition I was no longer able to carry any weight on treks, carrying my body from one place to another was very tough. So, I decided to replace my DSLR with a phone camera. I wanted good quality pictures that look good even on a 32 inch screen. After several options I resorted to buying the S8+.

Before buying the phone there were several thoughts. Mobile phone is for the purpose of communication and staying connected. There is only my family and couple of other people whom I constantly keep in touch with. Do I need to spend a hefty amount of money for this ? The phone cost was 1000 US dollars and it sounded like a waste of money. May be I could put the same money to better use ? After a lot of debate, finally I placed an order, the phone arrived after 3 days.

Right from the day I unpacked the gorgeous box it came in, I fell in love with the phone.  If I keep the camera aside, my phone keeps me engaged all day long. Though my sole purpose of changing the phone was for camera, the Quad HD screen makes reading enjoyable. Now all my educational apps are on my phone, so is my kindle. Some book I start reading on kindle follows me on the phone app, I can read it anywhere.

Since the amount of calls/messages I get is very less, one fine day I decided to mute all the notifications from social apps. Twitter, whatsapp, Linked-in – name any network, it would be on mute for notifications. I thought I might feel lonely but strangely I did not. Instead the notifications from other educational apps keep reminding me of the projects I need to complete, lessons that are still pending, approaching target date for exams – wow, I am enjoying all these completely. Somewhere inside me I felt these apps are better than me in making a schedule, they make a schedule and I have to stick to it, simple..  

My phone takes care of almost everything for me, starting from water intake reminders, step counter, bank transfers, bills, weight management, sleep measurement. With secure payment I don’t even have to carry my credit card, I can tap my phone (Magnetic Secure Transmission) and be done with the payment, this is more secure than swiping a physical card.. All the documents I may ever need are securely stored and are always with me. This saves a lot of time that I can invest on doing productive work that can make a difference some day.

All the tasks that used to consume so much of time and travelling to many places now happen in the vicinity of home, right in the palm. The device that is so sleek is very powerful, we have to use it the right way !!! 

“Mobile phones are misnamed. They should be called gateways to human knowledge.” – Ray Kurzweil

 

MY SMART PAL

He is a great companion. He is always there with me. He goes wherever I go. He helps me with cooking and fixing almost all my problems in a jiffy.  Whether I want to watch a movie, go to a particular place, I just take his help. He never gets tired of my shopping (you read it right- NEVER). Nor he raises an eyebrow whenever I talk or chat with anyone. My kids go gaga to see him, though I don’t like if they get close to him. He had been my saviour many times. I just cannot imagine my life without him. And, before you come to any conclusion, just hold your horses.

I am talking about my smart pal- my smart phone. Yeah, life has become hell lot easier since they have entered into our lives. No one did ever think that these smart phones would impact so much and will become so endemic.

Somewhere in early 1990s, I saw a huge mobile phone with a long antenna on the cover page of Electronics For You magazine, featuring that they will be future means of communication. Forget just communication, today’s smart phones are doing almost everything that no one had ever imagined.

Until last month, I was living apart from my husband. Whenever needed, I did online shopping for myself, as well as for kids, using my smart phone. If I had to go somewhere, I could easily book a cab using my mobile, without depending on anyone. Chatting with friends, listening to my favourite music, watching movies, doing banking transactions, capturing my children’s milestones and sharing with family members, I did a lot with my phone.

After I relocated to Bangalore, we needed a lot of stuff for setting up our new residence. My husband and I thought that we would visit departmental stores and get everything that was required.  We did go, but regretted as we were only managing our kids, especially younger one, who was ready to grab things displayed on the shelves. Trust me; from mop and dustbins to television and refrigerator, we bought everything online, with the help of no one but my smart phone.

My sons just shifted from a joint family to a nuclear family and of course they miss their grandparents and vice-versa. There’s a video call everyday between them, they are able to see each other and are happy. Even in my family, the elderly, who are not so chat savvy, are able to see my kids through the video call, and watch them grow, courtesy our smart phones.

In my busy routine, I am not able to make a call. So, I prefer sending a message through WhatsApp.  I usually get time when my younger one is asleep and without making any noise, I am able to chat with my friends and family members.

As I conclude my article, I would like to let you know that I am using my smart phone only to write this!  At least for me, my smart phone has really been my knight in shining armour.

Happy Smart Phoning!