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Friday, July 22, 2005

Too much of a good thing....

Disclaimer: I am not bragging or boasting or showing off about the number of phone calls/mails/pings I get. In fact, I don't get many and I am thankful for the few I do. And I hope this post doesn't stop people from pinging, mailing or calling me. I am not sending invisible, subliminal messages via the ensuing post. And I am not expressing some hidden philosophical meaning beyond the literal sense the following words convey. The contents of this post are merely my musings, albeit in a more serious tone of mind. And I am not a anti-technologist...:)

The world would be a bad place for me without a cellphone. And Internet. And e-mail. And Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger. But is there something as too much of a good thing? I've come to think "Yes".

I cook as I talk on the phone. I watch TV when I browse news in the morning. Half my ear is tuned to listen to Miles O'Brien on CNN American Morning (which, by the way, stinks after Bill Hemmer left the show), the other half listening to my microwave beep with my morning coffee and the rest of my brain is tuned to what I am reading.

Sometimes when I work, I have someone buzzing me on Yahoo! Messenger, Gmail Notifier telling me that I've got mail, my phone crying out to be answered, a movie on TV beckoning me and my RSS feeds going crazy with new stuff from my subscriptions...whew! And I keep checking mail every 10 minutes regardless of whether I am going to get something or not. Honestly, somedays I've been plain irritated because of too many things going on.

I think there's too much of expression going on in the world. I chat, e-mail, blog, comment on forums and blogs, read online, talk and what not. Too much expression that it leaves no room for introspection and some peace and quiet. During my undergrad days, I didn't browse too much thanks to the clogged Indian phone lines (Broadband was not exactly available in Trichy). When I wanted to read something, I walked to the library. I talked and actually listened to people around me. I found the time to go for a walk, go to a temple, ramble through the busy marketplaces selling flowers, vegetables, fruits etc...and actually enjoy haggling with the vendors over prices. The smell of fresh vegetables from the villages around Trichy used to enliven me. The sweet scent of jasmine flowers in the Sathaara Veedhi flower markets in Srirangam would tittillate. And a gentle breeze wafting from the Cauvery and caressing my face on a humid mid-summer evening would actually feel heavenly!

Sigh. Now, I order stuff online, read everything online, do online poojas and arathis, go to Kroger or Walmart to get tasteless, artificially grown vegetables or worse yet, frozen food and have totally forgotten about the sweet smell of Santhana mullai, Jasmine and Jaathi flowers woven into tight little strands.

I am not against technology. In fact, it is my lifeline. But sometimes, just sometimes, I do wonder.......

26 comments:

Priya said...

I agree Subha !! Infact I have a feeling that too much of phone calls, internet, emails are not so good for us.. Good that my work doesnot allow me to check emails often..

I have lost my privacy. Self improvement, self learning, finding out what you want are all missing. No control on what is happening around me!

Romba bayamaa irukku naan vaazhra lifa paatha!!

Anonymous said...

hey subha...
serious even i check my email once in 10 mts no matter i get 1 or not.....my dad got a broadband now in trichy....now if we go there seriously i guess we would do the same thing....what we do here...and i read somewhere that they have started growing vegetables and fruits genetically in India too...also most of my friends eat those ready to eat (frozen foods) in India daily...so i guess even if u r there u would be pretty much doing the same thing what u do here....very well written
K

Barath said...

Good one!

Well I call it network pressure! We are so damn used to be connected to people! It starts to keep in touch with people we know...and ends in knowing more people and hence stayin there forever! whatever the case...reaching I hope there is a saturation point!

Prabu Karthik said...

we are all addicted to this chaos.
i am always online.
i manage to sleep 6 hrs max.
i dont go to bed till amma starts shouting.

when i was in coimbatore, life was much simpler.

After 3 yrs in chennai, i go to cbe, the first day is refeshing.
The second day it begins to look
too plain, too simple, too laidback. and u can't wait to get yr dose of chaos.

nothing particular abt cbe, its the same in kerala, madurai everywhere...

i too felt the same but no we can't have enough of this information/communication overload.

maybe we shud take some time for ourselves everyday. meditation wud be ideal say for an hour.
apart from that life is not really in our control.
nothing much can be done abt that IMHO.

TJ said...

Yes Subha, It is indeed difficult and different to miss a lot of things.
Ask you dad, he will say how he missed his 'carefree childhood days'.
My dad used to tell me, how he missed the daily attendence to Akila and Jambu. Since he moved out to Andar street, it is jus a weekly meeting.
I miss those weekly meetings,which have now become annual reports!!
Our next gen might miss those beautiful annual trips, for a once in a decade trip!!

There is this philosphy, which says 'forevery individual, the world was at its best, when he was in his prime'. When the individual is young, the era before him was old, backward... and when he become old, the current times become more polluted, more corrupt, more sinful. Thus in his view, the world was the best, when he was in his prime.!!

Arvind said...

True indeed ! - we should all try and force ourselves to not watch TV or go near the computer for one full week. We wont realise how much time we have on our hands !.

But then yet again, assuming you had all the time in the world - would you not be doing something you like ? like music, books, staying in-touch with near & dear ? for all of which technology is still the bottom-line factor.

All said, what we do with all the time in the world is to worry ! ;) for e.g. how we are addicted to technology :P

Narayanan Venkitu said...

Technology and life today!

We are becoming more and more dependent on technology.! Just about for everything.!

We've lost so many ( the few we had) things..thanks to all this.!

But then, these are expected..!

Slowly but steadily these things have come into our lives and have dominated our lives.!

If you think this is bad ! what is going to happen in future?

Anonymous said...

How ironic, the technological advances that were suppopsed to bring people closer are alienating them from each other?

-vv

RS said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RS said...

True...while I am grateful for the cellphone and msngr to kill boredom, a few of my friends thought it appropriate to wish me for my engagement with a ping on yahoo messenger, "hey mosa, congrats, ok bfn"...well...that, am not for :)

Whatever happened to the old fashioned way of sending greeting cards home?

mastersvoice said...

I would like to invite here to say cheers with a beer if you are male...Really you sound, just like as i would. because everyday is going for me as you said, since from my days in trichy...!

ROBBIE said...

subha:
A very refreshing read, how much time is enough time? How much of technology is enough technology? Is there anything better than home?
I think to console you I can just get philosophical and say..
we are lucky not just to be alive but to be where we are. good post!
adios

Prabhu said...

"The world would be a bad place without a cell phone" - It is not that bad here Subha as it might look to u! Intha pakkam vanthu paaru apo thaan theriyum.

Very true! Sometime I yearn to be back in Chennai, doing all the little stuff that is expected out of u.

kaleidoscope said...

Nice post.Been a silent reader for sometime. Me big time into internet. But its left to us to be in limits i guess. And UR so rt about Bill Hemmer.

Subha said...

Hmm..Priya, I know about the volume of phone calls you get..:)

K, I know it is the same in India too these days but at least I still retain the choice. But here, it is out of the question..

Barath, it is network pressure and we are also stressing out the (physical)networks...:)

Subha said...

PK,
Alas, I am not so disciplined as to meditate for an hour! If I can do it for 2 mins, I would consider myself lucky..:) But yes, I do feel bored if I am not wired after a while...

TJ,
hopefully I am not that old that I view the world at its best when I *was* at my prime..:) Hopefully, I am still young enough!

Subha said...

Arvind,
LOL..yeah, I am a big worrier and the chances are that I would end up worrying a lot given time..! Freeyavedu would probably know the best about this worrying spirit of mine!

Venkitu sir,
I am scared to think of the future. I never was a big believer in fatalistic philosophies about machines taking over the world etc...But these days, I do believe they are doing it in a more abstract sense by addicting us!

Subha said...

VV, for some reason I am reminded of Schroedinger's wave equation and the concept behind it: you can never observe any system without disturbing it. On a different level, I guess you can never have beneficial technology alone..there are always going to be repercussions regardless of what we predict..

RS,
Ah, the romantic in you speaks out..:) Yeah, somehow the oldfashioned way of wishing, gifting etc...held a lot more attraction and surprise for me. I wished you in person for your engagement. So I am not one of "those"! :)

Subha said...

mastersvoice,
always pleasant to meet another ex-Trichy-vasi. Thanks for stopping by..:)
Robbie,
some questions are just so hard to answer..sigh.
Prabhu,
I hope someday we don't all forget the real art of conversation in person!!! Yes, little things offer so much more satisfaction..!

Subha said...

kaleidoscope,
glad to have a fellow Hemmer fan!! I miss his refreshing style..Miles O'Brien's voice just irritates me..like gravel in a tin can! Perhaps I am being too harsh...

ioiio said...

Will make me think twice b4 i blog now!!!

seriously i wonder abt these almost evry other day..

Kaps said...

Technology has taken over our lives. I try refreshing my email every 5/10 minutes (even on Sundays). I'm always online expecting Skype calls from friends and family. i don't leave house without my mobile phone, even if it is a short walk to the nearby grocery store.

யாத்திரீகன் said...

I was just fedup with the same things and just tried giving up checking emails or writing blogs or visiting blogs in office hours and do them only after 9 in night..

hm.. was able to do it for the past 2 weeks.. phew !! but with a kind of strugle only.. its been hell lot of strugle to follow it..

now im not feeling well and lying at home without any work from morning and i had to break my rules (afterall rules are to be broken rite ;-)

try something of that sort..

Ram said...

Hey,
I have read some of your blogs, i am new to this blogging culture, but i agree on what you say. we humans have complicated our lives by trying to make it simple. I mean the inventions done by us to make life simpler. I feel that technological revolution at its present rate will be suicidal to the human race in the future. I am not against technology, but technology can be used both in a constructive and desctructive manner. Iam against the latter.

Ram said...

Hey,
I have read some of your blogs, i am new to this blogging culture, but i agree on what you say. we humans have complicated our lives by trying to make it simple. I mean the inventions done by us to make life simpler. I feel that technological revolution at its present rate will be suicidal to the human race in the future. I am not against technology, but technology can be used both in a constructive and desctructive manner. Iam against the latter.

Ram said...

Hey,
I have read some of your blogs, i am new to this blogging culture, but i agree on what you say. we humans have complicated our lives by trying to make it simple. I mean the inventions done by us to make life simpler. I feel that technological revolution at its present rate will be suicidal to the human race in the future. I am not against technology, but technology can be used both in a constructive and desctructive manner. Iam against the latter.