Use and abuse of technology
As much as I use technology, I despise it too. It was just two and a half years ago, I got myself a smartphone and came on whatsapp. (Well, some of my friends were so fed up with me and one of them even wanted to gift me a smart-phone because he probably knew I would not buy one myself)
But those were the days of the past. I have been using and abusing different means of technology. Now, I can say that I am a whatsapp and Facebook addict. I need my phone with me and I may suffer from nomophobia- the fear of loosing or not having my phone with me.
Good old days without a mobile
But hey! Once upon a time, I did not have a phone. I was able to manage things well. People were able to communicate with me. I had real friends and meaningful conversations with them than the virtual world. I was happier than as well. And thus, as a personal experimentation, I wanted to disconnect myself with a mobile phone, laptop and a camera and re connect with self.
Living technology free for five days
The idea was to disconnect for a week, but I could NOT live up to that! I survived without a phone for five days and the trip was one of my best so far! How I was able to refrain myself from a phone, where I was and what I did, I will talk about in the next few posts.
I was alone in a flat with a few books, a diary to scribble. Hell, I did not have company of music! Inspired by travel writings of Pico Iyer, I wanted to live without technology and connect with self. Earlier, I had only written about living technology free and you can read my opinions on it here.
I had carried my phone, just in case of an emergency. Also, I knew my parents would want to communicate with me and some of my friends asked me- How would they know I was safe. After my goodbyes to a few people, while I boarded the train, I switched off my phone and got into reading a book- Rabindranath Tagore’s Choker Bali.
A lady next to me, must be in her late 60s, reminded me of my grandmother, who passed away recently. It was easy striking a conversation with her and I could easily draw a parallel with my own grandmother and at that moment I realised how much I missed my grandmothers love and affection.
Maybe, had I been with my phone or laptop watching a TV show, I would not have even paid attention to who she was.
Later, the ticket checker came and luckily for me, he did not want to see the ticket, just the id proof was sufficient. I would have to switch on my phone for that. Day one seemed an easy task.
I used my phone for five minutes to communicate with my brother who was studying close by and figure out how to meet him. Apart from the five minutes, I was away from my phone for the rest of the day. I reached the flat and settled a bit. Well, with me being the only person in a 2bhk house and in a town which has dinner at 7pm, I did not know what to do! I cleaned the house I was staying in, had dinner with my brother at 7.30pm and then I got back to reading and writing in my diary. The next day, I had to put an alarm and I figured, I could not use my phone for that! It also made me realise that I am so dependent on technology and my phone for everything. But I managed to get up the next day at 5am! Well, I am so not a morning person but getting up early was easy. Living without a phone and internet connection helped!
I saw some cultural events, performances from people from several countries of music and drama and I did not expect to see such brilliant performances For instance I saw the tabla maestro Zakir Hussain play live! I did not have to pay a single penny to watch his performance. (More on the performances, coming soon). I never thought, me living technology free would get me so much more than I imagined!
Well, my phone was 50 steps away from me. By now, I was already tempted to use it. I would switch it on to check the time sometime, and keep the phone away. I was half thinking, what made to be in a town , without a phone! My mind told me I did the most stupid thing. I tried to concentrate on writing but that also, I was unable to do after some time. Soon, I tried to sleep to divert my attention towards the phone! I wanted to know my blog stats, who had “liked” my posts on Facebook and all that..
This day, I volunteered and what an experience it was. I was serving food and preparing sandwiches for about 1000 delegates for a conference. With me, were people from several other countries. It is always good to experience different cultures and talk to people from different countries. (More on this later). But staying away from my phone was getting difficult. I experienced so much and I wanted to talk to my friends about it, blog about it. Day 5 was the last day, I survived without a phone. Post that, it was me trying to get back to “normal.”
While I was away from a phone and internet connection, I had time to ponder and think about self. Here are few thoughts on the same.
1) How living technology free slowed me down
The transition was gradual and I was using my phone lesser than usual. It has been three days that I am back, and I am still using my phone lesser than I did. Like any other trip, this one did good to me. This trip will forever remain special. I connected with myself, tried to figure out the purpose in what I pursue and this time I connected with my spiritual self – something that I often ignored.
2) Lessons for life
I realised that life is simple, we make it complicated. With the ifs and buts. Though I usually go with the flow, I try to move fast. I understood slowing down the pace of life would be the best thing to do.
3) 24 hours a day are more than enough
I could say that, this was my time with slow- travel. Time moves slow when you live without technology. Or rather, I would say 24 hours in a day are more than enough to do a task. And yet sometimes, we feel that we have no time. It is only because we have made the pace of our life so fast, that it becomes difficult to take out time.
I think this time off did wonders for me in ways I can’t put into words. I would recommend a digital detox and living technology free while travelling to one and all. I can vouch that coming back to the real and virtual world will never be the same!
Yes, they said it right- Offline is the new luxury!