The Humble Confessions of a Tech Addict
|A/N : This is an article I'd written for my school magazine. Do R&R.
It’s an ironic spectacle – the dear sun is at its golden best with the flowers shimmering psychedelically under its imperial radiance and juicy fruits are dangling bewitchingly from their branches, waiting for gormandizing human hands to pluck them out…-and here I am, shamelessly cooped up and hunched intently before my beloved laptop, hand on mouse, scouring through the net pages and pages of - nope, not research journals – latest tattles of the silver screen idols- air-headed, ant-brained celebrities – and a hilariously degrading review of that new super-flop flick. With a couple of clicks, I deftly navigate out of my Firefox, open iTunes, plug in my iPod and load a continuous stream of songs into it.
I get up form my system, tear my eyes away from the LCD…and walk straight up to His Royal Highness Sony PlayStation 2. My little brother’s there, his fingers furiously drilling holes in his joystick and occasionally punching the air- all the while his scrunched-up eyes drinking in every scene the cursed console provides on screen.
The poor sun sighs and remorsefully retreats back to its abode. Apparently, no one in this home gives a damn to its efforts.
“Go for it! Finish him off!” I scream encouragingly to my unfazed brother as he deals with a particularly tough guy. When he does ‘finish’ the guy off, the entire house rumbles owing to our rather loud and over passionate expressions of joy at having defeated the Evil One.
Dense me, how am I to know the real Evil One still held me in its inextricable trap? That I – like billions of others – mercifully lie at the feet of perhaps the most cunningly crafted trap in history?
I talk of the elephantine gadget trap. Clicks, whirs, whizzes, sleek and smooth interfaces, glossy surfaces, awesome tricks... they’re all out there, encrypted cleverly inside every gadget in the world – and we seem to want it all.
Now, that’s hardly feasible – we’re not all Lakshmi Mittals who can afford to splash billions about. Instead, it gets worse. Electricity bills be damned, we victims consider every moment wasted if not spent preying on the keyboard or even gluing our ears to the tiny box. It’s new, it’s useful, it’s amazing and... it’s overused.
Let’s face it – Airtel’s having a gala time promoting the use of its services... and we, like – or aren’t we already? – idiots, fall for it. So are Sony, Microsoft, Apple and the likes. We’ve all come to accept this as a part of the cityscapes of today, true. But are we losing our humanity – our foundations in this process?
My eyes – watering due to overexposure to my brother’s PS2 mania – dart unconsciously across the room. I spot my carrom board, withering away mutely in a cranny. With a jolt, I reach over for that unfinished painting I had started two years back, its vibrance dimming with the neglected tides of time, and I finger the dusty canvas with the heady combination of guilt and nostalgia gnawing smugly at my insides. I screw my eyes up – did I once actually paint? Once upon a time, not a day had passed when there had not been at least one unruly match of carroms. Today, I don’t even remember its scoring system. And the keyboard, covered - forgotten – in a towel – had I actually learnt it? What about that Yamaha flute (recorder, rather)? I had once been an enthusiastic artist and flutist and keyboard player and what not. Did Windows seriously tarnish my interest in creating non-virtual, touchable objet d'art?
The corner of my eye suddenly catch a pack of UNO cards smirking cheekily from the bookcase – and on a sudden whim, I yank the plug of the PS2 off its socket, short circuits be damned. Ignoring my brother’s outrageous cry, I grab the pack of cards, hastily shuffle them and deal them between ourselves. It’s a crazy action, but somehow, it also, deep inside, made perfect sense to me.
It’s a miraculous relief, and refreshing, too. We go on to drag the rusting carrom board on the floor, and revive the magic of the striker. It feels just like it always has – pure, harmless fun and non-watering eyes guaranteed (unless you cry on losing. But that’s completely puerile).
Later, at night, when my pleasantly surprised brother is safe in the arms of Morpheus, I walk up to my mother.
“We hardly talked today,” I chirp, and we curl up on the couch and chat like never before, till the wee hours.
My heart is light, and so is my head. My eyes feel animated and a new life has sprung up in me – a new vigour. Who cares about my iPod as long as my own family is willing to sing their lungs out for me? Do I need another source of entertainment?
My laptop beeps. I’ve got an email.
I peek guiltily at it – and am astonished at my mere lack of curiosity. I suddenly feel absolutely no interest in my once-darling laptop. It might die for all I care.
I turn back to talk to my mother.
Something tells me our grandparents really had wholesome and healthily treasured childhoods, a’la this plethora of technology.
And somewhere within me, springs up an inexplicable urge to visit those times.