Life in Technicolour

Nishtha Saluja explores the colossal shape that technology has taken in today’s world and the glaring impact it leaves on our lives. 

“ You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book, or you take a trip, and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating… And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”- Anais Nin.

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone when you were away? Or called a friend simply to know ‘what’s up’, instead of sending a message on one of those babies of technology named BBM and Whatsapp? Exceptions exist everywhere. Well almost. But most of us today are drowning in the sea of technology, soon to reach the abyss with little realisation that we are missing out on tiny vignettes of events that really add meaning to life. Technology has undoubtedly made our lives more convenient than ever but aren’t we overdoing it a little? For instance, by the time we finish clicking a perfect shot of the tea from that roadside stall for our Instagram accounts, the poor thing is already cold and not even worth the ‘shot’. Later we upload it with #roadside #tea #somuchfun  #latergram #blahblah. The question is, #didyoureallyenjoyit? The tea, that is.

Before you begin to judge this piece of mindful musing, let’s establish one thing here- I have tried to maintain both a subjective and an objective point of view.  I mean, even I give in to the fancies of technology and that is exactly why this article comes to be.

We cannot judge people for their choices and actions. Rather, speaking on a more moralistic plane, we should not. But do we ever stop to think how technology controls most of our actions without us even realising it? Can we simply not have that cup of tea or that tub of ice-cream without putting it up on Instagram or Facebook first? The way technology has evolved over the years, it has sort of conditioned our minds that people actually are inquisitive about what we are eating or wearing, or where we were partying last night. Though if you think about it, they are not. But here’s the real deal- more than anything else, we find ourselves obligated to let them know anyway.

Coming to statistics, according to an American survey conducted in 2014, Facebook is by far the most popular social media site, with a whopping number of “active users” who log in every single day. Closer to home, India has the third largest internet population after China and the US. About 86% of the Indian web users visit a social networking site – we have 33 million Twitter users, 90 million Facebook users and 18 million LinkedIn users. And this is not it. India is projected to have the second largest internet population in 2015, with around 330-370 million users. Talking of Instagram, users worldwide upload an average of 55 million photos everyday, which generate 1.2 billion likes daily! Any #dailyigers here ?

With our days so consumed by the latest apps and technologies, life is slowly slipping away somewhere, for who can deny the pleasures of holding a book in your hands compared to that e-book you just bought off the internet. Especially, that pleasant-musty smell in old books- ‘Di-vine’! Today, video games and tablets have become synonyms for childhood. A four-year-old kid would play a video game with far greater dexterity than half the grown-ups would. But can we imagine the kind of childhood a 90’s kid had for a child today? We most certainly cannot- because then technology had not touched upon our lives so much, and now, the meaning of life is lurking on the fringes of society.

Life would be completely different without technology, but it won’t lose its edge, will it ? Maybe it has gotten us a little too excited about it. I mean, we can always skip that check-in when we are out on a lunch at some fancy place in the city. Technology is intended towards making our lives easier but looks like we are letting it lead us astray- ‘conveniently’ though.  If not we, at least our lifestyles are becoming shallow given this obsession with technology. We do not realise we are letting life slide in so many ways by clinging so tightly to our cell phones, our heads buried into the screens and seldom looking up to see what lies in front of us. We hear more of others on our phones and less in person. Or has that become irrelevant – the need for a candid tete-a-tete? While most of us have quite comfortably convinced ourselves that we are living our lives to the fullest, in reality, we really are missing out on the pleasures that a quaint life has to offer. Technology cannot be completely obliterated, yet we certainly can let the bug in our ear relax a little.  Even though the pace with which we are living is very exciting, have you ever wondered what it would be like to slow down a little and take the time to appreciate things that are screaming to be noticed?

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