Over the last week or so following Amphan or Umphun, or whatever that devastation was pronounced as, my phone network first, followed by my internet provider and then finally my mobile phone, or rather the lack of it has helped me reach a few conclusions (and this has nothing to do with the Covid 19 Lockdown situation!).
- My phone is like an appendage I am so used to, I feel incomplete without it…like, physically and literally!
- My books (and even Kindle) have been lying “less-read” because off-late I have been spending too much time on the net, most of it on the phone.
- I have not listened to music, unhindered without browsing through social media for a very long time.
- I have become so unused to the TV that I find it difficult to watch after a while.
- My phone has made me into a robot without me realizing I could listen, work, read and do anything else at the same time!
- I react very badly to anyone who can use a phone or network or anything similar when I don’t have it!
Yes, remind me again and again that I am entitled because this is all about me not having access to items of luxury while my fellow countrymen (whom for generations I, along with all my fellow entitled countrymen have not even considered to be my countrymen till Corona struck us) are covering unimaginable distances on foot…hungry, tired, and distraught, just to reach home.
Not that I don’t care about them or the way they have been dealt with, I most certainly do! But these days, being updated about the latest news just makes me more and more depressed! Sometimes I wonder if being off the network and not being able to see all of this through the day could actually be a boon! For, in this way, you have no choice but to wait for the newspaper the next morning! Having a choice is one of the biggest challenges I have come across in all of my 41-year-old life. To have control over my instincts to quickly take a peek at Facebook or Twitter or to respond to the consistent WhatsApp notifications, honestly took me a superhuman effort. And if you tell me you can do it, you are either not being honest or you are Thanos!
And so, weaker the network, less I can see all this and as a result less hurt and helpless I feel! But this post is not about mind-numbing horrific realities happening the world over. This post is about how a city-bred, mobile-savvy, network-dependent woman from the “have”s section of the society, just by a twist of fate and ocean currents, realized what she had been dangerously addicted to for God knows how many years!
But, I say yet again that I feel ashamed of myself for sounding so complaining about my “network-broadband-phone less” state, but my dear reader, please do also understand that I have been used to this for a very long time now. And I am just being honest! Ashamed, but honest! They say it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. Considering I got a mobile when I was 21, I got a good 365 x 20 days to adopt it as a habit and considering I got a smartphone when I was close to 25, I got close to 365 x 16ish days to make my behaviour (that of forgetting the world and remaining immersed in my internet-fed mobile smartphone) to become automatic! Now, considering my legendary love for maths, the above numbers only show how desperately I am trying to justify my smartphone-oriented existence and the extreme state owing to the absence of the same for a few days in the recent past!
To add to my troubles, my office needs extensive WiFi support, which has been unstable, to say the least, and without which I am made to feel USELESS by the very same people who consider me a “great team player” and “an asset” at any given point of time when I am available at their beck and call, no matter what the hour! Ok, I agree that thanks to them and their desperate attempt at justifying their existence, which trickles down to me as well, I still have a job, without a cut and (at least for the time being) no apparent threat of a layoff! But it is also thanks to them that I am writing this post at this hour just to vent, that among that elite group of people are a few who do not hear what others or they themselves say, do not see what others show, and do not think or realize what needs to be realized!
I wonder sometimes if all these – the ability to see, hear, listen, think or realize are inversely proportional to becoming successful or rising in life. I know I am perhaps generalizing since I do know some who function otherwise as well, but is that a criterion for having people working under you or just being under your authority? Not that I hope to go anywhere with what I am stuck with doing right now, but I would never ever want to be like that! So, I keep telling myself “Ami jokhon boro hobo, ami erokom hobo na” (When I grow up, I won’t be like this!)
So, there is this basic thing I always fail to understand – if you have been through it, you should all the more try not to put people through it. Why then do people keep ensuring that they do exactly as has been done to them and expect others to go through what they have ever been through? And I don’t just mean at work! And somewhere in between, while I was ruminating since I had nothing much to do with my absolute free time, both came back to me…but this time, in less than the oft believed 18 days, I did end up developing a habit…that of staying away from my phone for a considerable amount of time.
To cut the long story short, I got back my phone and network, a few days back after about 3 days (wifi followed 2 days later) and, believe it or not, in the last few days, I have managed to stay away from the devil’s grip only to realize that when I keep complaining about not having enough time, it is not just because of my office or the chores at home. The real reason lies in my 4G enabled smartphone! Hell, when I have nothing substantial to do, I have even found myself window shopping (on mobile), making carts and discarding items one by one! Now that calls for a serious lack in life!
My conscious detox program thus gave me time to play carrom and monopoly (that does take a looooong time!) with Rhiju; watch a movie (the whole of it, at one go!) and a few more together with him; have discussions with him around what the movies showed and what they could have shown; read quite a few chapters of a book I had been wanting to revisit for some time but without success; complete a script for a small production that had been conceptualized long back and was lying unattended; complete a blog (that usually takes me about 3-4 to end up publishing) – and all of it while “it” was active!!!!! Now that is an achievement! Don’t you think so?