By Adarsh Matham
10th March 2013 12:00 AM
If I believed in God, I would say he punished me for last week’s column. If you remember, last week I went berserk and was proposing that even the poorest people and generally everyone should be getting their hands on some smartphones. This week I would like to change that opinion, even if only slightly. People like you and me, the English newspaper reading, more or less prosperous part of the population should ditch our iPhones and Galaxies and should get that long forgotten ten year old 1100 out of the drawer. At least that is what I am going to do. And this decision has nothing to do with the fact that smartphone prices are going to go up thanks to the new tax on any phone costing upwards of two thousand rupees.
I have been aware for a while that my smartphone is taking over my life. For one, my phone is practically glued to my hand. Whatever I am doing, eating, walking, commuting, even in the toilet. And in it’s constant need for attention. With messages, mails, Twitter updates, notifications from apps as useless as the Tomcat, and occasional phone calls, my phone has reduced me to a zombie who is shuffling around life looking into a slab of glowing glass. While my iPad shares some of these traits, my phone is the worst culprit because it is always with me, wherever I am. And, instead of just going to sleep I start pawning my phone to check if there are any updates on Twitter, blogs, or literally anything. My dislike for my phone grew when I came back from a recent visit to Paris, realising that I sleepwalked through the city without taking in any of the sights and sounds of the wonderful city. Looking back on that trip, the scene in front of Mona Lisa’s painting in Louvre kept coming back to me. Hordes of tourists, most of them who would probably never come back there were not living in the moment enjoying the painting, but were busy making photos or videos, and were busy posting them on Facebook. For people recording and sharing the moment is more important than the moment itself.
It is only when I dropped the phone one last time I realised how much I missed a dumb phone. I realised that my shiny smartphone is dictating terms for me, not the other way round. For something that is always in your hands, you can’t drop it. When it rains you have to take extra precautions to make sure it does not get wet.
You have to carry around a spare charging wire in case it runs out of juice. The smartphone will order you to update some software. It will keep reminding you of work, of obligations, of unnecessary status updates. It will keep throwing information at you. It will make you addicted. Instead of reading a good book you are flinging some angry birds around. On top of everything you have to pay a fortune every two years.
On the other hand, a phone like 1100 which you bought for a thousand rupees, a decade ago is still good to go. You can drop it, you need not charge it for two to three days, and most important of all you are not addicted to it. So at least for a few months, adios smartphone. Hello dumbphone
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