A couple of weeks ago, Rohit forgot his cell phone at home by mistake, and asked me to keep it with me so he could get important numbers if required. It was only then I realized how cell phones have become a necessity in our lives, compared to the rare luxury they used to be. Given that I take my cell phone with me even to the loo, I wondered how my life would be if I had to spend one whole day without it!
First of all, I would not be able to wake up on time: it’s the incessant ringing of my cell phone alarm, which jolts me out of my slumber every morning. And even though I keep putting it on snooze mode for an hour, without it getting up would be unthinkable.
If it’s not the alarm, what usually wakes me up is a call, from a friend, a colleague or family member. Most mornings, I wake up and call some friends, who are on their way to office, as that’s the only time of the day that they are free to talk. Without my cell, I wont be able to get my hands on the day’s gossip!
Once I am up, every other day there is something or the other that needs to be taken care of: pending errands, ordering water or gas, etc. How on earth will I manage to get all this done if I do not have my cell?
Off to office, but unable to take calls from clients or colleagues or bosses. Lunch in the mess is not good? Cannot order a pizza. Shopping after work for groceries? Cannot call the other flat mates to know what is to be bought. Any emergencies, good news, important decisions… I am unreachable. What misfortune!! My mom would have a panic attack if she were unable to reach me within 5 minutes of trying!
It is not that people around me do not have a phone that I can use. I also have a landline at home. It’s not just the mobility that I enjoy out of my phone… it is the address book that stores all the numbers which is of the greatest importance to me. Think about it. Before we had cell phones, we mostly remembered everyone’s landline numbers. Soon after we got cells, we stopped remembering details… hey one could always store phone numbers, birthday, email addresses and much more on the cell phone! So much so that I don’t even know my brother’s cell number, without my contacts list! Such dependency, not a great idea.
I shuddered when I realized: we have become such slaves to technology. Life comes to standstill without our cell phones. I still remember those days, when cell phones were huge, bulky things, costing a fortune, and very few enviable people could afford to buy them, and maintain them at the astronomical call rates. And then, the telecom boom happened, and now, every 5th person in India sports a cell phone! Which is good, most technological advances are good for business, people etc. But then the question is how much is good? Too much of anything is bad, right?
It’s the same old debate all over again… advances in technology, a bane or a boon? People cannot write letters anymore… when you can always send an email or SMS. Everyone is already talking about the death of English language with the advent of SMS lingo, which has started to reflect even in our exam papers! No need to remember numbers or special dates, a phone or computer or website will do it for you for free. People getting blisters, playing too much snake or typing too many SMS’s. Parents worrying about not having control over what their children are doing with cell phones…
Sure, cell phones are not that bad, in fact they are a very useful gadget! They can double up as a device to play music, games, and camera… and are of course, a great way to keep in touch with and ensure the well being of one’s family and friends. But even though having a cell phone makes life much simpler, it also makes it more impersonal, don’t you think? Being a self-confessed cell addict who cant live without it, I still end up thinking sometimes… ‘The times of simple MTNL landlines, those were the good ol’ days!’