Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Do I want a Smart Phone?

Source: http://www.techcentral.co.za/binu-expands-into-africa
I am what one may call a later bloomer when it comes to mobile phones.  Something that you wouldn't expect from a person who worked in the IT / ITES industry. 

For some reason, I avoided owning a mobile phone for many, many years. I just did not want the additional encumbrance of an expensive piece of equipment. By all counts, I am quite the talker, but the thought that with a  mobile phone I could talk to people when I wanted, wherever I was, did not seem appealing.  Not that I hadn't spent hours in my teens, jammed between the wall and the fridge, chatting with my friends on our land line. Talking on a mobile phone just was not "comfortable".  I wanted to be seated, in one place.  Something has to be grounded when conversations move with a will of their own thru topics from the serious to the mundane, from gossip to reality in a second.

I acquired a mobile phone sometime in the late 90s or early 2000. I bought a Nokia phone in Singapore. In those days it was cheaper to by electronic equipment outside the country.  So why did I finally acquire a mobile phone? Well, I used to drive from Okhla (office) to Sheikh Sarai (home) late in the night, on a road that was ill lit and lonely, and my team thought it was not safe.  They threatened to buy me a phone for my birthday, if I did not buy one for myself.  Like any good manager, I couldn't have my team buy me an expensive gift, so I went and bought my first mobile phone.

From then till now, I have changed phones probably a 4 - 5 times.  I am now quite the mobile phone talker, chatting with people when I feel like it.  But in the time it has taken me to do this, people are watching movies, surfing the internet, winning multi player games on their phones. None of which I do. Phones now seem magically strapped to people's wrists. With them all the time, in use all the time.

Source: Coca-Cola Social Media Guard Campaign
I am now looking to change my mobile phone, and when asked what I want from the new phone, I say "I want to be able to make and receive calls". This leaves 99.9% of the people waiting for more, their expectant faces the only response to the silence that follows.

I really, truly, want a phone that I can use to make calls, that has good sound reproduction.  Oh, also one on which I can heck email, synchronize my contacts, calendar and to-do lists. Nothing more.

Stating this leads to long conversations on why I now need a smart phone.  To surf the internet, to watch movies and TV serials, to video chat, do internet banking, shop, listen to music, all while on the move (I am already getting motion sick hearing this).

So basically, to avoid all forms of human contact.

Mobile phones are not the be all and end all of our existence.  There was life before mobile phones.  Real life! A life where things worked, people had meaningful relationships, news was "breaking", movies seen, love expressed, & sadness shared.  We have a life now. One, it seems, within the constraints of our mobile phones. We were free then. Sometimes now, it feels like we are less free.  The mobile phone has become an electronic dog collar / handcuff, making us "available" 24x7 in case the Queen calls!

Oh for the good old days! Where I was in control of when and whom I wanted to speak with.

I want to have a phone free day and discover the pleasure of reading for hours, cooking, chatting, walking, sleeping, and/or just staring into space.

Let the planning begin, smart phone or not!

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