About Me

I was born under the sun sign Aquarius. And I always wonder, why dont people who are born at night, have moon signs. Even after spending more than half a century being a... read more

WhatsApp-ening ?

Once upon a time there were landline phones and index fingers were used to dial. Thumbs were free and oblivious to the busy days ahead. Hands were on the steering wheel and eyes on the road, while driving. There were less brain-dead organ donors.

I am lucky enough to see genesis and evolution of mobile phones. (I did not want to say ancient enough, coz  I don’t look like dinosaurs or Darwin). Way back when I was in school or may be early college, my cousin in Sweden provided me with a phone number of his, which he said is always with him, whether he is at home, office or some other unmentionable place. It was kinda hard to believe as at that time we did not even have a landline phone. But there was no reason not to believe Pinky Veerji. He was genius enough to read about Sweden in Readers Digest and to migrate there when I was still struggling to remember names of the continents.

I got my first mobile phone many years later when I was doing my post graduation in anaesthesia. It was a gift from my sister in law from America as I still could not afford to buy one. At that time, calling rates including the incoming one, were more than my stipend. Usual practice was to note the number of incoming call and then call back from a landline. Many would switch off the mobile once they reached their home or office. And the worst dread was someone asking for your mobile to make a call. Mobiles at that time were bulky and had a hefty antenna protruding out. One of my seniors actually used it to control traffic – he got out of his car at a bad traffic jam, waved out his huge mobile which looked like walkie-talkie used by police men and cleared the area in a couple of minutes.

I received my first SMS from a fellow anaesthetist – Parmjit. I was really wonder-struck. I had to call him up from my mobile to know how he did it.  Then came the jokes in messages and messages in packs. So far so good, except the phones where one could set the time to send the message. One friend had the habit of timing messages containing jokes, at night. He himself would go off to sleep and many like me would lose sleep coz of constant beeps and super added scolding from wife.  SMS are dying a slow death a la telegrams.

Then came the smart phones. They were actually dumb initially. Costly, storage in MB s and active battery life of few hours. They got less dumber with time. Smart people started using them smartly. Very soon smart phones got smarter and people using them started becoming dumber. Now the situation is so bad, many times, authorities have to block added smartness to the mobiles to control situations, as everyone is aware that people have long stopped using their own wisdom and intelligence.

Social media and apps were fun during their evolution when people had their own intelligence intact. We found and got in touch with so many long lost friends and flames. It was fun to share pics. It was convenient to share documents. Then the rot started. Earlier people used to take or make calls while driving, now they read and type too. No wonder we always had performers who used to drive blindfolded in circus or as special shows, now roads are full of such drivers. Silver lining to this very dark cloud, is increasing number of organ donations. Youngsters have become experts in driving two wheelers with one hand. I guess, very soon manufacturers will come out with two wheelers that will have all the controls on one side of handle to facilitate such adventurers.

Mental damage is much more serious than physical one. It has developed into the most effective rumour mongering monster. All the people, even those with highest intelligent quotient, spend most of their free time,  major portion of social time and significant time of office hours on such apps. There are groups, sub groups, sub sub groups and micro groups. There are people who send Good Mornings and thought of the day to all. Same messages and pics and videos are circulated in all the groups. Unauthenticated news are spread by all and sundry under the title – Forwarded as received. Its an addiction that is difficult to break. Sitting in my office, I see so many people sending messages during office hours. (I am just watching!!).  Personal videos leading to suicides and rumours leading to riots and lynchings is the lowest that could be achieved. I hope.

And who is laughing all the way to banks - monetary or vote? Phone companies, data providers, political parties, those who steal all your data when you provide phone access to apps.

A life saving device has become life threatening one and we all have contributed to that by not putting a stop to unwanted and unscrupulous messages.

Time to amend.

July 5, 2018.


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