I remember my first phone. Many of you must remember it as well, CDMA Reliance phone? Yeah? Yeah, the one that we loved because it had an app called M World. Feels weirdly nostalgic.
Since then, my phone has gone from strength to strength. Both in cost, technology and smartness. But what makes our phone so unique? The Apps.
It feels so easy to do anything, anytime. I think the apps were a helpful tool in surviving the pandemic and lockdowns. Without them, it would be a long haul of loneliness and isolation. But they made us feel connected, rooted, and alive. (Practo was a lifesaver with no doctors around.)
If I am asked about my phone, I have over 50 apps. And I will share a secret with you; I don’t use half of them. They are there, just in case. Some are there because I need them daily: Zomato, Swiggy, Gpay, WhatsApp, 1mg. Some are there because I like to delve into social media: FB, Insta, Messenger, Telegram, Hangout, Twitter. Then are those which are there for the creative person inside me to serve as a muse and inspiration: Canva, Pinterest, YourQuote but, some are there just for panache.
We all have to let our friends check out our phones once in a while. They should feel we are “trendy”, and for that purpose, I have Zara, Today, TED, NASA, WazirX, Discovery+. I rarely use them, but they must stay to make me seem smarter.
Now that I think of it, Apps swallowed so much hardware into a small square on our screen. Remember the huge radios, players, drawers full of cassettes and CDs? Not needed anymore; we have Spotify, Gaana, YouTube. I still remember the summer vacation. I used to beg my father to get my cable TV and watch English movies and sitcoms. Now there is no rush to tune in at 9:30 to watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Netflix and Prime video are there to tune into. Setting up an alarm for Sunday morning cartoons and waiting one entire week for the next episode was so much fun, but now, Disney Hotstar and Zee5 are there to binge-watch at my fingertips.
We were taking those bulky Kodak and Canon cameras hanging around our necks with pockets full of Fujifilm rolls. Who needs them with 64-megapixel cameras on our phones where Instagram allows us to add 100’s of filters. And shopping for rare collectibles in the narrow streets of Karol Bagh or the handicraft on Janpath is a waste of time; Myntra and Amazon are always there at my service. I miss cleaning my closets every Diwali because I need more space for my paperback. Thanks to Kindle, I can store a million books but never hold one. It was so risky to carry money around, but now you don’t need cash. We are in a cashless age. But sometimes, I miss holding the cash and counting it twice, getting those pictures in my hands from the Fujifilm outlet, and holding my paperback book in my lap while I snuggle up with my stereo.
I know you must be feeling, “Is she talking Pro or Against the apps?” But this is not a debate. I agree that I am ambiguous and don’t know what my heart relished more. This high-tech, smartphone, smart-app era or that simple bygone era where things were just THINGS and people and feelings and sentiments meant much more to us.
Apps have made us safer, prudent, wiser, but they have also made us narcissistic, one-directional and miserable. We can find all antisocial elements on social media, and fraudulent scamsters are always looking to trick us. We are secure but more susceptible to hackers and spammers.
In the end, I would say I am pragmatic and love this easy lifestyle, but the old soul in me pines for those times when I could walk out on the street and go to my friends’ place to hang out with her while her dog chased me around. I chat with her, but it is NOT the same.
I am giving you five apps I love.
Rhymly: It is the only app that gives you rhyming words for Hindi. You gonna love it if you have a streak for Shayari or Poetry.
Clubhouse: It has some excellent rooms, and I can hear some exceptional people talking while quietly sitting in a corner. If I wanna speak, they allow me.
Elevate A place to exercise my mind and challenge myself to keep getting better.
Duolingo: Lets me learn any language I wish to learn in a very interactive and fun interface.
Headspace: It slowly teaches you to meditate and helps you stay on track with a gradual process that leads to placid and tranquil moments.
I can’t close the chapter without mentioning Pubg.
Alexa. Please bid goodbye to my readers.
Goodbye. Have a fun time.