My precious smartphone went out of shape and killed itself two months ago. It had been going in and out of various service centres for some time. It finally gave in to its fate.
Not that I am mourning its demise. Occasionally I miss being sucked into the shiny virtual world. The feeling of being pulled into a bubble of my own. Digging into no-life-altering applications. Gathering up useless information.
But now that my smartphone is absent from my life, I am not missing it that much. In fact I am glad. Especially the part where I don’t have to be conveniently all the time be available to everyone. An escape from the itchy compulsive feeling to go through Facebook. The need to constantly check into my blog every few minutes. Just to stare at the page-view counter, that is moving slower than a grandpa snail. Unlocking the phone every ticking second to look into non-existent messages.
Only crisis at that time, was that the battery is going to die out any moment.
Before the extra-large screen uber cool smartphone era, my idea of a good mobile phone was the ability to listen to my endless list of songs. Along with talking, messaging, taking pictures. I thought it is smart enough to use a single gadget that works as a phone as well as an mp3 player. And I bought just a phone just like that. It was simple, sturdy and had loads of memory space for my huge playlist. You know all the typical Nokia features. And it didn’t burn a hole in my pocket(Well, my Dad’s pocket). That’s how I lived blissfully through some 4 years of my college life. With my musical sturdy phone.
Then the android-touchscreen bug bit me. I didn’t realize it then. But I got dragged into the maze of Whatsapp’ing, Facebook’ing, Gtalk’ing, shooting off angry birds on catapults, making a dude run through ruins of a temple, making hundred edits to one single photo. Ignoring people around me. And missing out on actual conversations. My phone had become an extended part of me. Rather than be an object of utility, it became something that defined me.
I was like someone from a sci-fi movies who was dominated by robots. All the time drowned in a world disconnected from reality. I could avoid uncomfortable conversations. Just to turn around things in my favour. Or write something, then delete it and write something else. Send an “OMG,DAT’S SOOO FUNNY!!LOL” (yes, I’m ashamed to say in CAPs) to that cute guy’s really droll joke just because he looked delectable in his profile picture.
It was a smart way to avoid confrontation with people with real issues by pretending to be a super-busy person continuously poring into the phone.
Now I am back to my old simple, sturdy phone. To be honest, initially I felt the F.O.M.O syndrome creeping into me. I was the last to know when a funny video was out, that people were getting engaged or married or going on trips because I couldn’t check into Facebook, last to laugh at the silly message forwards and almost lost contact with my far-away cousins and friends. I felt left out. Completely out of sync with the world.
It’s been close to two months now. I think I have got used to not being online all the time. The FOMO factor doesn’t intimidate me anymore. Honestly, I feel a little bit relieved and liberated. I know some of might disagree with me. Probably you are making big-big round eyes at this and saying to me, “What?! You wanna live without a smartphone?? How could you do that to yourself?? Go back and live in the dark ages, you non-progressive- oh-so-uncool-person!!”
But I have my own good reasons to be happy this way. Living this austere kind of life. Because now I know, those who want to be in touch they will make the efforts. For them not being online doesn’t mean out of sight and out of mind. As for me if I really want to talk to someone, I simply call them up. Like the good old days. Have a real conversation than an imagined and made-up one with LOLs, WASSUPs and when you get bored with someone, sending them a colourless TTYL.
As Katy Perry sang,
“I just wanna throw my phone away;
Find out who is really there for me.”*
*Lyrics from ‘Part of me’, Katy Perry, released 2012.