Imagine, someone with a bad headache approaches you. What would you tell that person? Sshhh! “Try to ignore it. You are brave. And sshhh! don’t tell this to anyone”. Or, imagine someone who is just diagnosed with cancer breaks the NEWS to you in a moment of despair. What would you tell that person? “Oh, you can deal with it. You are brave. Believe in yourself.” Awareness about mental illness is so less in our society that people who should seek professional help for their mental conditions are made to believe that there is no real problem to begin with — it’s all a figment of their imagination. “Be brave”, “Don’t act sissy”, “You are lost”, “Look at the positive side of things” is what they get instead of help.
There are also another kind of people who use the word ‘depression’ and ‘panic attack’ so casually that they make these sound like a seasonal flu. Haven’t you heard statements like, “Oh, I am so depressed that I didn’t get a decent pair of shoes to match with my dress” or “I almost had a panic attack when Brad & Angelina broke up“. I wish it was casual as they made it sound. Alas! It’s not.
Very interestingly, patients with mental illness are also conveniently labelled as ‘attention seekers’, ‘weak’, and ‘someone unable to deal with pressure’. Unfortunately, the labeling and the stereotype prevents people from seeking help. It’s the result of this stereotyping that parents of kids with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Autism Spectrum Disorders, or similar other issues, which can be managed with some patience and professional help, hesitate to first acknowledge the problem and then seek professional help. Some adults with mental illnesses (and aware of their condition) also hesitate to seek help because, you know, from there on the term ‘the mentally ill’ will overshadow all other aspects of their personalities & lives. The terms ‘people with mental illnesses’ and ‘the mentally ill’ are used so interchangeably that I, sometimes, wonder how difficult it is for people to see the difference in both the terms and the baggage that the latter one carries. It’s hard for one to deal with the illness in the first place and people around don’t always make things easier.
As a kid, I was introverted and struggled a great deal with ‘social anxiety’. I would never understand why I did not enjoy weddings, gatherings, celebrations as much as others from my age would. Somehow, my parents understood my issues (while they might not have been aware of the term ‘social anxiety’ at that time) and gave me my space when needed. I am so glad they didn’t coerce me into attending every damn celebration within the family and their social circle. But I know how much slack my mom had to take because of this. Very often, people would express concerns about my marriage, because I was a loner and wouldn’t enthusiastically perform in front of uncles and aunties to garner praises. They were worried how I will take on the responsibilities in a new family if I don’t learn to socialize (and this was when I was barely 13). Dear over-concerned uncles & aunties, fortunately, I am doing pretty well in my married life as an adult because I acknowledged and addressed my problems 🙂
My friend’s dad struggled with anxiety at one time and my dad struggled with it too. When my friend and I discussed about the intensity of their issues, we knew the problem was bigger than what we assume to be normal day-to-day stress. I am glad that we could talk about their issues freely because it was only then we realized our parents needed professional help. I am glad they agreed to seek help. Unfortunately, depression and anxiety finally overshadowed my friend’s dad’s will to live. By God’s grace, my dad could overcome the ordeal. But you know, during all this, I saw how the very acknowledgment of a mental problem makes many near and dear ones distance themselves from the entire family, as if, suddenly, the whole family has some sort of contagious disease.
I am glad that now many celebrities are now coming forward and acknowledging the fact that they have struggled with similar issues. Success, failure, temperament, money has nothing to do with it. Like any other kind of ‘illness’, it can happen to anyone. On a lighter note, I feel illness is less biased in its approach than the people around us 🙂
Anthony Bourdain’s suicide starts a dialogue on the acknowledgment of mental illness once again. People wonder, why Anthony Bourdain felt like his life of adventure was not worth living and suicide was his only possible option. The simple answer is, this is how advance stages of depression and anxiety make one feel. I am glad closer to home, Deepika Padukone and Shaheen Bhatt have spoken about their struggle with the problem. I am glad that we are, at least, at a juncture where there is a possibility of starting a dialogue. It’s only when we share, talk, acknowledge that we will be able to receive and provide help in time.
I wish more & more people come out and talk about this.
PS: If you are someone who is feeling extremely low and considering on giving up your life, please call Sneha India Foundation at 044-24640050 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a 24×7 free helpline. And please, please, please seek professional help.
Okay! Cool! Your husband is <insert his rank here>. That’s awesome. That’s more than awesome. I would love if you could thank him on my behalf for serving our country with his blood and sweat. Trust me, I understand, how much it takes to be away from family, friends, love, hometown, and everything that, in multiple ways, is a part of his identity. And of course, if you were not his pillar of strength, he wouldn’t be where he is right now. I am explicitly stating that he could not have done any of this without you. But oh dear, that’s where your role ends.
Being married to an army man, I know I always take the second precedence. Duty comes first, always — without any ifs, buts, whys, and why-nots . He has taken that oath and as his life partner, I must help him stand by his words. Well, but then, frankly, I am not doing this for the country, I am doing this for my man, and here is what makes his role very different from my role.
I rejoice his success. I help him overcome a failure. But I don’t sit in his chair or walk in his office, uninvited. They are his, not mine! I married my man for who he is, not for the brass on his shoulders; so of course, with or without the uniform, I take pride in my man and love him with all my heart.
Someone I know introduced herself to me in the first meeting as the wife of the second-in-command in the unit and I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Oh dear! you are not married to an appointment. You are married to a gentleman — all in flesh and blood“, I so wanted to say. But better late than never, Mrs so&so.
No, hold on! That’s not all. Some women talk about helping out their husbands with the duties.
So, am I supposed to share my husband’s duties? No, the answer is — I am not trained to do his tasks. I may be a coder, a doctor, a teacher, but of course, I am not supposed to take strategic or welfare related decisions for the unit/sub-unit on his behalf. I am not supposed to give any instructions to the staff meant to assist him. So, buddy bhaiya certainly is not arranging the school uniforms for kids in my house and escorting my babies and babas to the school bus stops. And in return, I am not grooming their wives. I trust their parents to have groomed the girls well. If at all they need my advice, I would love to offer one, but not in the capacity of an officer’s wife — but in the capacity of a fellow human being who shares similar problems as theirs. Do I feel great that they think that I am worthy of giving them advice? Oh yes! Of course. But I am no one to shove my choices in their life. For example, unless I am a Sangeet Visharad myself and they have come to me to learn music, I am not qualified to tell a JCO/OR wife, “Tumahara sur hi nahie lagta hai! (You can’t sing well!)”
I am glad that the men in uniform — full of chivalry and class — miss no opportunity to show us respect. Whether it is an NCO in the mess offering me a glass of cold water on a super sunny day or an officer pulling a chair for me at a formal dinner, I feel glad that ‘my husband’ socializes with men who respect women. I am proud that army as an organization welcomes me with open arms despite I NOT being a part of it in any official capacity. I remain a civilian. So, women who pass nasty comments on civilians make me wonder, “When did you don the OG, dear lady?”. Last I checked, you were a civilian yourself.
Also, how much ever I love my husband — he certainly is not the be-it-all of my existence. I have a career. My political viewpoint is different from his and we debate, the army parties are not the only occasions I shop for, and oh yes, he didn’t have to ‘groom me’ — my parents & alma mater did that really well.
However proud I am of my husband for the person he is and, to some extent, the hardships he takes in the line of his duty, that’s not the only thing I am proud of in my life. There are many more achievements to my credit other than being an army wife, an-almost-single-mother, and grooming the ladies around me. So, when women say they gave the life to army because they couldn’t have enough time beyond army activities! Sorry, the army never asked for it! You did it out of your own free will. You did it for your life partner. Blame him with all your might for making your life challenging, but blame the army! Nay!!!
I am not taking away the fact that your life could have been easier if he was not in the army. He chose that life and you chose him! Ah! But that doesn’t mean, you show off his rank instead of his ring.
I am a sucker of emotional dramas. Nah! Not the Ekta Kapoor kinds, but the real heart touching kinds! For example, I am hooked to the Netflix series, The Crown right now. And when I hear Elizabeth and Philip argue about the priorities in life, my heart bleeds for the Queen. I drop an invisible tear or so when she tells Philip that “Like other couples, we don’t have an easy way out…we are in a unique situation that needs to be worked out”. The character, Elizabeth, represents a woman who puts self-respect and love at the same pedestal — the toughest ever choice a woman makes in her life. Because, how easy it is to love and dream, and not let ‘self’ come in between! Ah, but women like Elizabeth have inspired a generation of women to fly high in love, but still remain grounded enough to deal with the realities of life.
I know I will be jumping to a completely different zone if I tell you about my recurring nightmares in the same blog where I am talking of profound love and wise women. But you know, such is life. Here I am, past late twenties still getting recurring nightmares about my chemistry examination at the higher secondary level (ISC, as some of you call it!) and also empathizing with the longest living monarch in the world. However random it may sound, I feel the real wisdom comes from the deepest fears one buries inside their heart. I guess for me, the fear is ‘failure’ — the possibility of failing at anything in life helps me make wiser choices.
But the question is, and I ask this to myself very often, ‘Am I wise?’. The answer is yes, sometimes I am wise, but I, mostly, am otherwise. For example, how much I wish to keep a poker face in situations when I am enraged, how much I wish to forgive people who have let me down, how much I wish to see people beyond their limitations, but the wisdom of sages — the art of non-reaction — doesn’t come to me even when I force it on myself. My mother says, the art of not reacting to things/situations comes with age, when one has seen it all and one has understood that no one in the world gives a damn to anyone else’s emotions (however genuine, truthful, and heartfelt those might be!) and then one learns to channelize the reactions into real actions. For example, I may never learn to forgive, but over a period of time, I might learn to act cordial in spite of differences. I might never learn to keep a poker face, but may be, I will learn to politely walk out a conversation that challenges my principles.
Sometimes, I even wonder, why disruption is mostly considered negative? Why do I not work towards being vocal? Why do I think being wise is more an inward thing? Would I be wiser the day I become immune to pessimism, negativity, criticism, and pain? Ah, this brings me to another question, ‘why do I need to be wise’? I am happy when I am naive. I am happy when I know what’s wise, but deliberately act otherwise.
Until 25 years of my life, I was unaware of Mrs Satan and her cult. Mrs Satan’s cult includes very peculiar kind of women. They are urban but not suave. They are well-dressed but uncouth. They might be occasionally seen in branded western wear and sunglasses, but they are the strongest believer of misogyny. They despise women who talk about equality and talk about being child-free all their life. If Mrs Satan’s cult ruled the world, they will announce capital punishment for all women who give more importance to their careers than worldly gossips that Mrs Satan’s cult thrives on.
On a regular day, you will see Mrs Satan talking about the importance of being a devoted and loving wife to her husband and a dedicated mother who sacrificed her (not so) thriving career for her children. But after she has consumed a few shots of vodka, she will tell you how much she has sacrificed for the main man in her life – who is not even thankful enough. You see Mrs Satan married Mr Satan in the hope of climbing up the social ladder, but Mr Satan was a simple man and didn’t rise much in-spite of Mrs Satan’s sacrifices, vices, and social plotting. Now, Mrs Satan, who is terribly upset at this unplanned full stop to her social rising, can’t even express disappointment because in her own words – “No one else could have dealt with her so patiently for so long”.
Now, Mrs Satan and most women in her cult come from remote countryside places and have always dreamed about their prince charming flying in economy-class flights to rescue them from the ‘small towns’ they detest. Despite being aware of their limitations, they are an extremely confident lot. While they can’t pronounce Krug Clos d’Ambonnay correctly, they will hold their champagne glasses in so much style that Audrey Hepburn might feel inferior.
If you have to see the real side of Mrs Satan’s personality, wait for her to talk to her house-help. Mrs Satan, who has strong opinions about house-keeping and child-rearing will abuse the domestic help in the choicest manner with colorful abuses in front of her kids. Right from the time her kids have started understanding words and surroundings in general – Mrs Satan has told them about their social status and privileged upbringing. So, obviously, her kids are not allowed to touch, play with, and be around people who are even one level beneath Mrs Satan’s ‘presumed’ high-class society.
If Mrs Satan ever created a Curriculum Vitae to apply for a job, her list of achievements would include: paintings that she bought but claimed to have painted, home decor items purchased from ‘Ravivari’ markets but presented with an expensive home decor label, and a big, big paragraph about how she has fulfilled her motherly duties much better than other women around her – who leave their kids ‘orphaned’ while they go for work.
Mrs Satan hates beautiful women. In a happening party, a ‘beautiful woman’ (by all conventional standards) happened to catch the fancy of all men. Mrs Satan who felt extremely sidelined and insulted, then, spoke about how she will never dress in a revealing manner to get attention from the opposite sex. Mrs Satan hurled abuses at the beautiful lady because she happened to be smart as well. Mrs Satan gathered her cult around her and spoke about how this beautiful lady is not even concerned about her husband’s needs and is often travelling out for work.
Mrs Satan hates women like me as well. Partially because we don’t compete with her socially and partially because we are not enamored by her fake charm. Mrs Satan makes a point to talk about the importance of work-life balance whenever she is in my proximity despite not having worked a single day in her life, simply because she feels women like me waste their lives trying to achieve professional competence which our husbands are anyways bestowed with, simply by the virtue of their gender. Mrs Satan like a nosy neighborhood aunt also shows a lot of interest in my soon-to-expire reproductive system by simply reminding me that I will soon cross the most ‘fertile’ period of my life and miss the joys of motherhood if I delay pregnancy even by a day now. Alas! What a waste of life! She also tells me that the only way full-proof way to ensure that my man doesn’t stray is to serve him ‘ilish mach’ at least twice a week.
Mrs Satan, as I told you, is an interesting woman with a fan following of many women like her. Ah, I despise myself for not being included by her in her ‘young women grooming club’. But then, not everybody can be this lucky!
Someone asked me in the morning, “So, how are you today?” and I so desperately wanted to answer, “I am awkward, as usual”. No word in the dictionary other than ‘awkward’ can describe the emotion I have felt for most of the social situations in my life. Please, just because I am awkward, don’t assume, I am shy. Because, I am anything but shy. I am a personality full of contradictions — sometimes goofy, often very guarded, prone to deep emotions about a few, very specific things, and cold about most the people/situations in my life. I can’t help but resort to ghosting when stuck in a situation that needs too much of explanation or too many people.
But after glorious 28-years of pretending to be normal for the sake of being normal, hanging out with people for the sake of being social, someone introduced me to the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test and let me tell you this was a moment of self-discovery. According to the MBTI test, I happen to be the rarest personality type, INTJ that form just 2% of the population, and why am I not surprised to read that women of this personality type are especially rare, forming just 0.8% of the population. INTJs are the most misunderstood people because of their rare personality type. While the image below pretty much explains how, I know, most people perceive me, the correct full form of INTJ is Introversion, iNtuition, Thinking, Judgement.
So, a few of my patent statements, such as “I don’t feel like interacting with humans today” (Introversion), “I had told you so” (Intuition), “I need some time to myself” (Thinking), and “Half of the people I know are stupid” (Judgement) are not about I trying to be mean. It is, frankly, I trying to be myself. 🙂
In short, most of the time, what I say is more about how I look at things than how I can flatter or offend you. Fortunately or unfortunately, I live in my own head. You matter, but most likely a little less than you expect.
When 21 beagles were recently released from a laboratory-run kennel in the country, they had already spent more than 6 years of their life in a dark cage. They had never seen sunshine, never ate home-cooked meal, never sniffed flowers, and never chased squirrels. 5-days into a free world and some of them still don’t know how wonderfully they can utilize this freedom. The smarter ones of the batch are busy exploring mud and the adventurous ones have taken to swimming like they are amphibians, but a few shy ones still run away when they see a human. They are currently living in a dog boarding center in Ahmedabad, their temporary home, till all of them find good homes. They still don’t have names – as for the laboratories, they were only numbers such as 8654378.
Freagles – the free beagles – as they lovingly called, are special dogs. Special because they don’t have the inherent characteristics that you might expect from a dog. They are afraid of noise, don’t know what to do with toys, and don’t know how to express love. As 6-years of their lives have passed into enclosed cages, freedom to them almost means re-birth. So, basically, they are 6-year old puppies who need to be toilet-trained and leash-trained. They need to be showered with love and allowed to be feasted on the tastiest home-cooked meal. They need to be given time and space to understand that they will eventually get a chance to choose their favorite human in the world.
When Richa Singh Choudhuri, an ex-corporate girl and, now, the owner of Bowsome Retreat, the boarding center hosting these 21 freagles, adopted Dexter, a 2016 batch freagle, she didn’t know this boy will change her life forever. Dex, as he is lovingly called, is now a 12-year-old bully in the pack of 9 dogs and 2 humans. He came as quiet dog and within 1.5 years of his adoption has become the most demanding, opiniated, and intelligent dog in the pack. He rules the pack of 9 dogs with an iron paw. Dex follows his mom, Richa, like a shadow everywhere. Richa proudly says, “No one on this planet can love me more than Dex”. Dex and his pack member, Duster, another freagle, taught Richa the compassion towards freagles. She says that “Freagles, once they taste love, reciprocate love in a manner that a human has never experienced”. Richa says that each freagle parent has a unique story to tell, but all of them would voice the same opinion “A freagle teaches you the meaning of love and freedom all over again”.
The 21 freagles, currently at the boarding, have slowly started coming out of their shells. They are currently being given the requisite medical attention and the time to grow into the real character that they are. Once they start showing their real nature, they will be given new names and then, they will leave past the identification number that once defined their existence. Once the medical check-ups and basic behavioral observation of the freagles are complete, they will be put for adoption to suitable families. For this batch of freagles, adoption is open for three states: Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Delhi. Freagles of India (FoI), a registered trust, with the objective to rehabilitate and re-home animals released from testing laboratories in India along with Bowsome team is involved in facilitating the adoption of these freagles through social media outreach.
If you are considering adopting a dog and can spare few hours for few consecutive months to train them, you must consider these freagles once. You never know you might meet your soulmate in this freagle batch and a freagle might find his/her forever human in you. As a pet parent, I can tell you, these matches are made in heaven and cherished in heart forever, you just need to start your search from the right place.
To apply for adoption of these freagles, please fill the form here.
When I was 10-years old, I didn’t think of how my life should be/could be after I am 25-years old. My 10-year old self concluded the planning of my life as a happily ever after at 25 with an assumption that at 25, I am financially independent and can shop for all candies, books, clothes I like. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was financially independent at a tender age of 21. So, with 4-bonus years at my hands, I explored life to the craziest extent possible (oh my crazy is far more subtle than your crazy). So, yes, I shopped – Shopped for things I needed, things I wanted, things I thought I wanted, and things I thought I might need in future. I was a 21-year old who had no financial responsibilities back home but, as the much-awaited first child of two working Indian parents, certainly had the luxury of receiving pocket money from home even at the age of 21.
My bonus years
So, yes, from the age of 21-25, all I was doing was working during weekdays, roaming around with friends over the weekend, and again, going out to the random-est places to wine and dine with friends and friends of friends. My job involved travelling all over the country to coordinate for press conferences and corporate events – so work took me almost everywhere from tier-2 towns like Benaras and Bhopal to tier-1 cities such as Hyderabad and Kolkata. For places such as Kasauni, Mussorie, Jammu, and Goa that work didn’t cover – I had the craziest bunch of friends who made plans to travel whenever work permitted. Friends who came from far more liberal families than mine also told me alcohol was not a bad thing if taken occasionally, exposure to people of different sexual orientation made me feel passionately for LGBT rights, and the proximity with the JNU campus made me ‘tolerant’ to conflicting opinions and political views. I learned to read, to listen, to debate. I learned that as long as someone had an opinion, which was based on not hearsay, it was worth being heard once.
These were the years that shaped my personality. These were the years that brought me closer to my own views about my life. By 24, when I decided to leave Delhi and move to Bangalore for a job that involved almost no travel, I was sure of what I wanted in my life. I had taken to writing seriously (the glitz and glam of PR, I had realized was not my thing). I was a hard worker – not necessarily a smart worker, always. Most people were not my cup of tea. Though I learned the art of being indifferent to people who didn’t matter much later! I loved my own space. Home, for me, was a sacred place. I preferred fine dining over discotheques for a date. I learned, I being nice to someone will not necessarily result in a fair reciprocation. I learned that I, even after acting as the flag bearer of morality, will act selfish when it came to love. In short, the bonus years of my life, 21-25, taught me a lot about myself.
30 and stubborn
Now, inching closer to 30, I have become a little rigid about how I look at my life. So, if I don’t like you I am not going to hangout with you whether you express disappointment, anger, or hatred. My mobile phone is not my best friend, neither are random calls. So, if there is no business talking to you over phone, most likely I am not calling you or taking your calls. WhatsApp/SMSes give me the time to react to ‘how are you?’ messages so I prefer these over over-enthusiastic, random greetings on calls. If you have added me on a WhatsApp group without my approval, be rest assured that the group is on mute for the longest possible duration. Flattery is not my best trait. In fact, I really lack this skill. My praises would either be genuine or there would be no praises from me. I am not complimenting you on your attire so that you compliment me back. Sorry, my grey t-shirt and black track pants are more about my comfort that your approval. Husband-talk is not my thing. Bitching, unless you are my soul sister, is not my thing. Shop-talk is reserved for my mom. Career-talk, family-talk is reserved for my brother. For everything else, I have a husband, a best friend, and my two, awesome dogs. I nurture a few handful relationships because I genuinely believe in quality over quantity.
Being socially nice
Now, adult-ing taught me one more good thing – to camouflage the fact that I judge you top to bottom the moment you utter an ultra-sexist comment. The fact that being socially nice comes to me with great difficulty makes it far more easier for me to drop my hesitance, the moment you hint inching towards meanness from sarcasm. Confrontation is not my favorite pass time, but if you really want a showdown, come loaded with logic. Unless you infringe in my personal space or try to disturb my sanity, I genuinely try hard to be socially nice irrespective of the opinion I have of you.
I genuinely don’t understand why people care so much about fair-weather friendships? For me, reciprocation of socially accepted behavior is just about existing in harmony. At 30, I am not self-sustained, but of course, I refrain from relationships that serve no other purpose that ganging up against a common enemy or forming a mutual admiration club. May be because my necessity for external approval is less, I am more at peace with adult-ing than many others.
At 40, I will revisit this blog to see whether I am successfully on my way to become a khadoos middle aged woman or not. Like I said, I am living my life after 25 without a plan and it has been pretty gratifying so far.
Before you begin, let me tell you: The word ‘non-sense’ in the article may have been used to refer a person, place, situation or thing. Use your intelligence to decode the underlying meaning.
I am not exactly a people-friendly person. If I can, I avoid any formal/informal setting that involves more than 3 people at a time. I hate being in the spotlight as well. For example, ask me to hold a microphone and talk to twenty people and you will clearly see me losing my wits. I have to do a mini pranayama to activate my brain cells before I engage myself in a useless small talk laced with non-sense. But, over a period of time, out of my own experience, I have come up with four tips that help me deal with non-sense. They might help you too!
Tip 1: To avoid a boring kind of non-sense, find a funny kind of nonsense. For lesser mortals like us, completely avoiding non-sense is not possible.
Yes, non-sense is omnipresent. It may change shapes and forms, but it is not going to go. So, learn to counter boring non-sense with entertaining non-sense.
I will give you an example. My husband often teases me for looking like a lost puppy in gatherings that I am forced to attend. Sometimes, the texts that he sends me during these gatherings from the other side of the room are hilarious enough for me to mentally roll on the floor laughing (ROFL, I said guys, ROFL!) and tolerate the gibberish that, otherwise, is intolerable.
Tip 2: Ignore or kill. Turn completely indifferent or respond back with a similar level of intimidation or insult. Don’t you EVER brood over non-sense!
Now, MY problem goes beyond simply getting bored. Non-sense takes a toll on me. When stuck in a non-sense that prolongs, I go through varying degree of emotions. I start from getting bored and reach a degree of indifference before I go completely berserk and turn violent. This generally happens when someone who I classify as ‘non-sense’ intimidates me, belittles me or tries to act over-smart with me, underestimating my anger due to my ‘lost puppy looks’.
So that non-sense doesn’t repeat itself (himself or herself), I use two tricks: I either turn completely indifferent or I respond back with a similar level of intimidation or insult. My husband is a constant level of support if I decide to take route 2.
Tip 3: Find a support system. Channelize anger when you can’t handle all on your own.
Support systems are people who don’t judge you for what you do and say. They also help you draw a line when your emotions overpower your sense of judgment. In my case, I am lucky to have two support systems. I turn to my best friend for expert advice when my husband fails to give me a satisfactory solution to avoid the non-sense I am battling.
Tip 4: Confide in your dog.
If all the above tips fail, just sit with a bucket of ice-cream and speak your heart out to your dog. I do that more often that I should.
I feel pretty old writing this article because this makes me realize that I was born in a generation where landline phones were fashionable. I remember my boyfriend, now my husband, chasing me for 2 days after school hours to get my ‘phone number’ so that he can discuss the ‘seating arrangements’ for the exams with me (and we discussed everything else instead!). Anyways! I am that old! I belong to a generation that lived without SMSes and WhatsApp messages and still managed to make friends in school. And, yes, before I hit 30, I can happily claim to have lived more than half of my life without a mobile phone.
Going by the standards of my generation, I was privileged to get an old and discarded Motorola mobile phone of my dad very early in life. But mind you, I was given a mobile phone with a strict warning that it has to be used only in the case of emergency. All that mobile phone allowed me to do was make calls & send, if I remember correctly, 142 characters messages. Sending multi-media messages were unaffordable for a kid like me whose monthly allowances were less than the cost of popcorn in PVRs today.
Anyways, coming back to the point, yes, a mobile phone, about a decade back, was a commodity all of us could live without. But today, mobile phones are more than mobiles phones and that confuses an old-school-er like me. The society has defined a whole new way of measuring people’s amicability quotient by simply calculating the number of calls a person makes to his/her friends, family and acquaintances in a stipulated time frame.
Here is how the new social charter works:
For someone like me who has to be online on Instant Messengers for business day in and day out, putting away my mobile phone is a luxury. It’s actually relaxing to be not talking to people who can’t understand your pauses and tiredness (and I say that in the personal as well as professional context). And, oh yes! This reminds me of another point that should go up the list:
The relationships, the camaraderie, the love – everything now is simply calculated by the talk time spent your mobile phone or the success with which you emote (or pretend) over this virtual medium of communication.
I, sometimes, wonder if there is a quantifiable metric to categorize people based on their monthly mobile expenses or availability to attend mobile calls. For example, someone who spends Rs.2500 and/or 1000 minutes talking over the mobile phone in 30 days is an Amicable Person (Level 2)!
I won’t be surprised if you tell me a metric like this is already in place! I am ‘socially’ less connected, you see!