Sep 18, 2010
I remember sitting on that little chair, nervous, all ready for my oral exam finals. My teacher asked me the three basic necessities of life and with a relieved sigh I blurted out, “food, shelter and clothing.” A little over a decade later, I wonder if the new editions of the text books have been printed with an addition to the list - the cell phone!
The emergence of the little gadget in our lives and the resulting dependence of our lives on this wonder of technology has indeed been amazing. Not long ago, getting to see a cell phone somewhere at least once a day made us feel lucky. Today, not sighting a cell phone at least once a minute would mean serious problems with our eyesight. They are just everywhere! And with everyone! The emergence of the cell phone has revolutionized modern society, modern business and the modern way of thinking. But in spite of all that the cell phone has done to make our lives better, there are still some who consider it a bane rather than a boon. I would like to shed more light on this debate rather than refresh your memory on the well-known benefits of the device.
The one and only argument of those who fail to recognize the cell phone as a boon is that the world and all the activities in it had gone on smoothly even before its invention. Fair enough. But that was a world in which we needed about a week to say ‘hi’ by post to our friends across our state borders and about a month to our friends overseas. Lifestyles then were more systematic and based on routine. There was little communication to be done during the day with people who would not be met till dusk. Emergencies were minimal.
But life today is super fast. Everything around us happens quickly. We work faster, doctors heal patients faster, buildings come up faster and travel is faster (that too in Mangalore without proper roads!). In such situations, cell phones are an absolute must. If I have to give my own example, my college was about sixty kilometers away and I used to travel everyday. Given the state of the Karkala-Mangalore road and the expertise of the Air Force-trained private bus drivers, I would any day have chosen my cell phone over food or clothing if I had to make a choice! Our college also had recognized this need and`introduced mobile lockers where we could deposit our phones during the day. Not that all of us used them!
Well, we have heard that too much of something is bad and the same definitely applies in the case of cell phones as well. Youngsters are found hooked on to their phones day and night as if there would be no tomorrow. Some who have not used a pen for ages can type text messages in the blink of an eye. Most certainly, that is talent too! But the world would be better if that talent had been channeled into something more productive. Keeping in touch with people far away through phone is good but let us not forget to at least pass a courteous wish to the person beside us. All this would only help in silencing those who still grumble that with the advent of the cell phone, human touch will eventually be lost !