I still remember the excitement when the mobile phone service was introduced in India. Till then, the landlines, followed by pagers, was the only mode for instant communication.
The advent of mobile phones helped communications reach new heights, unthinkable even three or four decades ago. Cellphones help us feel at home even miles away and stay connected 24/7.
But phone time, especially with smartphones, gradually started eating into work and other time. Unlimited access and facilities such as WhatsApp, each better than the previous one, are the order of the day. A phone purchased a year ago is seen as an outdated model.
With so many available options, people are constantly tempted to buy the latest. Nine year olds to nonagenarians have no time but for the device. Students are losing inclination to study, their precious time is exhausted playing games and chatting with friends. One cannot see a free pair of hands; it is the phones day in and out, held close even during sleeping hours.
The other day, while performing rites on my mother’s death anniversary, I was shocked to see people with phones close to them during the rituals. Even the priest was taking breaks to check the phone. Today, I believe that the best form of penance is not fasting, but being away from phones.
Men and women are stuck to their devices, really leaving no time and mind space. One is disconnected with the person sitting next. No plug points are free, as all are connected to the phone. It is deafening silence at homes as all are immersed in the screens.
Changes are inevitable and need to be gracefully accepted, but all changes need to have a balance. With phones, people forget to maintain relationships, children are left out, and young adults have become cabbages. Scattered brains, lack of focus and concentration are the burning issues among the younger lot. Fake news and wrong information spread fast. The propagandists have a field day, as truth is being pushed into a deep abyss. Discretion is taking a back seat.
What started as a beautiful innovative invention has become a device spreading pain today. This is due to changes rapidly being thrust upon cleverly with a focus on business over welfare.