When I was 24, I swore that I would never use a smartphone. It seemed like an Orwellian abstraction. A sling blade that hurled a hateful stone at the third eye of the collective consciousness. A step closer towards a totalitarian future in which the government implants computer chips in our brains to keep track of us. It felt wrong. More importantly, I couldn’t deal with my parents calling me anytime they suspected I was up to something fishy.
I have since realized how useful and entertaining it is. A talking tin can, a portable media player, a video game console and a notebook. I was hooked. I still am. But I am also aware that it can be damaging. In today’s fast-paced digital age, extreme caution must be exercised while forging a purposeful relationship with your smartphone. Because it could damage those you share with family members, friends, and office colleagues.
Everyone may end up thinking you are a bad person. They may associate you with unspeakably awful things that are undeserving for someone of your fine upbringing and stature. We don’t want that, do we? You deserve better. You always have. So, please download these four smartphone apps to become a better human being.
Like many children of the 80s, I used to be an obsessive gamer. My dad brought home an Atari 2600 home console sometime in 1988. It came with two 8-bit games – ice hockey and tanks. At once, I understood that it was going to be a spectacular end to the decade. And he knew it would be a stressful, annoying and expensive one.
I was introduced to 16-bit games during the early Nineties. It led to a large chunk of my life being devoted to the Mario Brothers franchise. It gave my life a sense of purpose. Not that I was interested in the changing dynamics of gaming technology. I only wanted to save the princess.
I remember a conversation I had with a friend about blogging a few years ago. I was making light of my attempts during the mid-2000s. In hindsight, I realized that I had made a few assumptions. One was that my older blogs were failures and the second – that the current one is a success. The third involved my friend’s nasal hair. I doubt if that is either a matter of interest or a point of concern for anyone else but him.
I jumped on the bandwagon sometime in 2004. For a decade, only a handful of people knew of it. I rotted away in digital elephant graveyards. I kept pretending that the lack of readership didn’t matter. I convinced myself that blogging was just a playground for writers.
A quiet place where we showcased our love for language. Shared our eccentric opinions on life. As if readers were predisposed to give a crap about it.
I have wanted to write about modernized existential despair for long. How it seems to be a generational malady, thriving on our indifference towards discovery as opposed to invention. I didn’t because I was unable to succinctly encapsulate a short introduction I had in mind into words. Instead I had a sound-bite for it. A piece of guttural noise.
The English language kept failing me (or vice versa). So I decided to move on. Only lately did I realize that it was 2015. It is so easy to record and stream digital audio these days. Even by people who spell “your” as “you’re”. And I had broadband connectivity and laughably low expectations.
Whenever I go looking for a particular sub-species, sooner than later, they tend to show up. I had recently written about how much I wanted to see Plum-Headed Parakeets. About a week later, in Kerala, I spotted a large number of them on different occasions. Each one – an apple tart, wrapped in painted cabbage leaves, with wings.
There were so many flying around, from one tree to another in search of food. I wanted to curl into a foetal position by the side of the road and wildly smile until nice people in white coats chaperone me to a happy and well-padded place.
A few days ago, WordPress disabled my blog without any warning. It was gone and replaced with a tactless update about how I may have breached the terms and conditions. I cussed under my breath and wrote about five emails to WordPress Support. I had no idea why it happened. I thought perhaps they had frowned on the fact that some of my posts appear on Medium – a competitor in the free publishing platform industry.
After exporting the backup file to save my content, I went to the terrace to calm myself down and wait for an update. As the bluing skies hijacked my gaze, two things occurred to me. One is that I am jealous of my neighbour’s mango tree given the Rose-Ringed Parakeets it seems to attract. The other is that WordPress – as a free publishing platform – sucks.