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Living with our secrets in virtual spaces

Posted February 13th, 2018, 11:41 AM IST

Living with our secrets in virtual spaces

I grew up in an era when telephone was a luxury. Someone in the neighbourhood would have a telephone connection and that number would be used as an emergency contact number by people around that house or even in that entire residential area. It was not uncommon to see people sharing their luxuries – be it telephone or television. I grew up in an era where there were not many choices and options. The telephone for example did not come in different shapes, colors and forms. There were not customised ring tones. Dial pads did not even have buttons and we had to keep dragging along the circle of numbers to dial. It was after I graduated from college that mobile phones became very popular and land phones even more available. Mobile phones have become a necessity now; not just the phones but the apps too.

When communication made such a huge leap and when we are in a time when seeing and talking from anywhere in the world is available free of cost and everyone is imbibed by internet signals, we speak less often. The tring of phone is no more a big deal and people ignore and take the trings for granted. We learnt to decline calls and keep phones in silence and offline according to our convenience. With more dimensions to phones, the primary purpose of being able to reach out to a person has become almost secondary. Our networks have grown and yet we have forgotten to talk.





We — including me —have stopped visiting neighbours and the only place where we get to know who is living next door is during an association meeting which is still not mandatory to attend. It is no longer a joke for the father to text his son sitting right next to him to join for dinner. Homes now have become more compartmentalised and people have their own virtual spaces to lock their secrets. When I think of detaching myself from the social networks and the instant apps of them in my phone I find it impossible because I am so accustomed to the convenience it offers. I have started using them very late and it seems to me as if I was using it from Time immemorial.

And then I look back and see that old ‘antique’ phone smiling at me. They rarely needed any replacement and now looking at the number of phones we change every year – upgrading or because they break down- I find it really odd. We are forced to change our phones to avail the new carrots offered to us. The concept of long relationships – be it with cars, gadgets or humans is slowly starting to fade away.

The attachment to the first car and first love is becoming too impractical to manage. Gone are the times when people and even families could be identified with the number plate of their cars. We live in an era full of experiences and there is such appetite for newer things that we rarely care to preserve what is in our hands. That language which the eyes spoke to eyes is slowly getting alien and what remain are the smileys on our screens. We would never know if that smile on our screen is from the heart or not. But the stranger part is that we no longer care the way we once used to.

(The author is a writer and communication trainer)

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