PhotoSTOP!!!

“Cake fir se khilao, photo achi nahi aayi.”

This statement pretty much sums up last decade. We all have been to that dinner when we had to delay savoring the food, because the person-with-the-camera wasn’t getting a perfect shot, or when the birthday girl had to take multiple shots to satisfy the ego of the aunty feeding it, who wanted to eat the cake and not let the picture show it too! No offence, cake.

Be it your friend’s wedding, your kids first birthday, you having a blissful afternoon nap or the first time you shat in your pants, everything is documented, everything is captured, everything is rather lost in the process.

Right from waking up in the morning to going back to sleep (also in the morning, most times), we use this tool to document every microsecond of our life, like there is no tomorrow! Not to mention, this entire exercise is to re-live these moments “tomorrow”. Somewhere between fidgeting with the camera, looking for a better angle or the moment with a better light, clicking and uploading and counting the likes, we forget to enjoy the moment.

But if only some genius could tell me how to re-live a moment that you haven’t lived in the first place?! What is the point of scheming through this beautiful life (I am not saying this, your Instagram pictures are) through a 7” screen in between!

Didn’t have a camera by my side this time,
hoping I would see the world through both my eyes.

Today I finally overcame,
trying to fit the world inside a picture frame.

Maybe you should have seen that sunrise with your own eyes;
it brought me back to life.

—John Mayer, “3×5”

Don’t get me wrong. I am not disparaging the art of photography!  I think photography is a beautiful art form. When well-executed, photos are breathtaking. Furthermore, we’re a visual culture, so pictures play a large role in the way we communicate.

But the question is about how cognizant we are to our environment. Do we lose the knowledge, the experience of the impermanence of this moment, in making it rather permanent in our life? Well, for me, the concept of using pictures to reminiscence about the past in the ‘then’ present is debatable – but let’s keep that for some other time.

There is nothing sadder than seeing a couple enjoying the sunset with their camera. There is nothing crazier than people putting their life in jeopardy for a “perfect click”. There is nothing sillier than clicking the coffee every time you give a witty name at Starbucks (oh so passé). There is no skill in getting the candid picture right on your 176th attempt.

Or like someone tweeted the other day – We are a generation with maximum documentation of Human stupidity. I couldn’t agree more. Touché.

Scroll

XX-Cartoons-Ironically-Showing-Our-Smartphone-Addiction__605You swipe left. You swipe right. You check your Facebook feed. You scroll through your twitter timeline. In the meantime, you receive a few good morning messages. As if text chat wasn’t enough, you snapchat. You read some breaking news about a leading actress-turned-black magician. You keep your apps open. You close your life.

You eat while scrolling. You scroll while eating. You wake up, and scroll. You scroll before sleeping. You look around, and everyone is scrolling. You see a beggar, you witness an accident. You want to help, but instead you click and upload. You fish for likes, you want approval. You are oh so cool. And then you go back to scrolling – scrolling your life away.

Do you know the feeling when the roller coaster stops and you are still, but the world is still moving? I am perpetually in that state! The world is moving too fast- change is too hurried. Even before one adopts and adapts to change, it has changed already. And may be twice. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say, our maps and world view are out of date because the world is changing really rather fast.

More and more it feels like our lives have turned into a gruelling race towards a finish line we never reach.  Curiously, there has been very scant discussion about this dramatic speed-up of society. People may complain about how busy they are, how over-loaded modern life has become, but speed is viewed as generally positive – something that will help us enrich our life.

tb538ea_Boy-that-escalated-quicklyWhen I say the world is changing, I am speaking about every single aspect. From the literal sense of the planet Earth changing, to the people, the mentalities, the beliefs, the cultures, the technology, and the most important one: purpose. People have lost the sense of purpose, putting them in situations of utter confusion. We do not have time to sit and think about life amidst all this conundrum!

Having all the information on your fingertip kills the surprise element of our life. By the time kids are 25, they have been witness to everything that can be experienced by body and mind! Nature of the mind is such that it is always looking for newer experiences, something unique to keep it going!

In this age of high-speed internet, way too much information is thrown at you. There is a simulator for every kind of experience that there is. One knows how a different part of the world looks like, how the cosmos looks like just by sitting in their room! There are no revelations, no secrets, no privacy, and no novelty in this day and age. As one theory states – Don’t be surprised if suicides increase henceforth. Because the mind may want to explore beyond death, with the death of curiosities in this lifetime.

To sum up, I will use the last few lines of one of my most cherished poems by David Weatherford,

“When you run so fast, to get somewhere – you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,

It is like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life is not a race.

Do take it slower

Hear the music, before the song is over.”

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“I cried because my 3G wasn’t working, until I saw someone without a smart phone!” – Rumi

The day is not far when we literally see such posts, and we need therapy to overcome the pressures of social media! Yeah, typing can be so exhausting and taxing to the brain! Phew. Give me that protein shake! I plan to do another circuit – of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Zomato, Quora, and Snapchat- before I cool down with YouTube!

It is so hard to believe that people were actually “alive” when Facebook was not around. In fact, it is just about 15 years ago, when there was no email, and we would actually wait to hear from one another! I wonder when I grow old, will I still be able to keep pace with this ever changing technology! It is like Christmas every single day, a new gift that science claus showers us with!

What comes to your mind when you hear the term “Social Media?”

Perhaps some use it to communicate with people around the world (obviously, we don’t talk to the person in the next room. Or do we?). Some others use it as stress buster, and give 1 star reviews to people who did not consider their request for free sukhi puri after a plate of pani-puri. Oh, look at those grinning marketing and PR guys- it is like the great IT boom from 2005 for them now! While I am just struggling to look for my digi-cam(#swag) to take the picture of this cutting chai, just so that I can transfer it to my computer, to transfer it to my phone, to upload it on Instagram – *bliss*. Oh, don’t judge me, the chai stained my camera lens, and now all my pictures have an in-built sepia mode. Hence.c6545387078dc51e5056cf068518b9e9

Social Networking Sites are fast emerging as powerful and unparalleled tools to share information, shape opinions, connect people across domains and cultures, bring participation, and above all to communicate as never before. This is just the beginning. Social Networking Sites are still at a very nascent stage and communities across the world are just beginning to understand the potential of this medium to impact discourse and communication.

Even though it creates a few negative impacts on youngsters (or may be educates them in more than one way), we cannot think of a world without these websites today. So, corrective and preventive measures should be taken towards these negative effects and the young people should be well educated and must have proper awareness regarding such problems of Social Networking Sites.

My only concern is that our evolution will go back by a few thousand years, all thanks to the cannot-straighten-my-neck-anymore due to obsessive compulsive disorder of checking the phone notifications every millisecond! A big shout-out to all the people who check the phone last thing at night, and first thing in the morning! Welcome to we-are-unemployed-and-we-know-it club!

I am just waiting for the day, when we will share our screenshots of Facebook on some other website – botoxkindle for all you know- and tag them, “Nostalgia.”