The stage was lit with bright dancing lights when the would-be couple pushed their engagement rings into each other’s fingers. The crowd sitting in the chairs applauded to congratulate them. I moved impatiently left to right and then right to left just to get a glance of the rings, but with no success. It was quite silly of me to look for the rings from such a distance.
As I swayed left-right, I happened to notice Pinku sitting next to me. Unlike me, he didn’t seem curious about the ring ceremony.
Perhaps he was too silent all the while during the ceremony for me to even notice him. The enthusiastic boy seemed off that day despite the happening atmosphere around.
I have seen him grow through his nursery, primary and secondary school. Pinku was full of life and a brilliant student. He was like my younger brother coming for advice every now and then.
The next day, I set out and took him along to a nearby garden. I could see the pain and struggle in his eyes. The spark on his face was missing.
We sat on a bench near a bush. I asked him straight away, “Pinku, tell me what is the issue? I feel you are lost somewhere. Am I right?” Without any delay, he began pouring his heart out as though he was waiting for someone to ask him.
“Didi, my board exams are near and I am unable to study. Every night, I lower my phone’s brightness, turn off my phone’s Wifi, keep it aside and shut my eyes to sleep. 2 minutes later they are wide open. Likewise, this cycle goes on for next 5-6 times and at last by 2 am or so I fall asleep. And I do nothing besides simply moving my thumb from Whatsapp to Facebook to Instagram and back again. I don’t know what’s wrong Didi. I am not able to concentrate on my studies at all. As soon as the phone blinks for any notification, I leave whatever I am doing and pounce on the phone to check the updates”, Pinku narrated his situation without a pause.
I interrupted him, “It’s okay Pinku. It’s not your fault, technology has already taken over us. Nobody is spared”
Pinku rose from his seat and said, “But don’t you think this should stop somewhere or should we continue living as we are? Let me tell you something. I read this headline in the newspaper a few days back – “Who is consuming whom?” The supporting image portrayed a caricature of a man holding his phone, bent down into his waist to almost make a right angle. Out of curiosity, I read through the article. As I read I realized I faced the same issues mentioned in the article. Realizing the extreme level of addiction to this mobile phone, I decided to reduce my mobile usage. ”
I was stunned at Pinku’s matured and sensible thoughts. Patting him on his back, I appreciated his thoughts, “Pinku, I never thought about all this. I am proud of you.”
“But Didi…”, Pinku sighed. I asked him, ”What is the problem, Pinku?”
“The problem is I am not able to overcome this addiction on mine. I’ve tried a hell lot of ways out but with no success,” he cried.
Still dumbfounded by the seriousness of the topic, I asked him what all had he tried until then.
“I had made up my mind to go to the next level and give it a try. I asked my Mom and Dad to cut off the Wifi connection but they didn’t as they also use smartphones. I couldn’t tell the issue as they would worry. I cancelled my data plan and dragged myself to the no Wifi zones. I sat on the staircase of our building, on the playground, in the garden, I even went and simply sat in the hospitals and even court, all in all, every possible place where Wifi was secured. But somehow failed. Though there was no Wifi in the vicinity, I could easily recharge for a data pack or ask for someone’s hotspot. Only after this experiment did I analyze the root cause of my anxiety and restlessness. It was this device itself. As long as the phone was in my hands I was bound to unlock it every now and then sometimes just to check nothing. This was the scariest part that I realized about myself.”
Out of curiosity I again interrupted him, “Then what did you do ?”
“As I said I had made up my mind to defeat this addiction of mine, I made my way to the Zero-network zone.
To be continued… 🙂
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