Thursday, November 22, 2007

Life Without Technology

Last week my computer crashed and my life suddenly came to a standstill. Every morning the first thing that I do is go to to figure out what would be the appropriate clothing for the day depending on the forecast, especially in winters. Anything that I ever needed an answer for, Google came in handy and whoever writes on pen and paper any more? Now Microsoft office applications take care of everything. It takes care of capitalizing the letters for us, making sure we didn’t leave too much or too little space between the words or if the spellings were correct or not. Everything is being taken care of by my computer.

My life went helter skelter. All I ever talked to anyone that whole week was how sad I had been coz I didn’t have an access to the Internet and I had been totally cut off from the rest of the world. I tried various stores to have my computer fixed but nothing really worked and ultimately decided to wait until we buy a new on.

I walked out of my house one day and suddenly realized, much to my shock that the fall season was almost over. My backyard is so full of fallen leaves now that I wondered how I never saw that before. As always, when I got up next morning, I walked over to my work table when I remembered that my laptop does not work any more. Not knowing what to do I sleepily walked outside. As soon as I opened the door the fresh cool breeze touched my face and I was awake. It felt so refreshing to be outside on a pleasant morning. The last vestige of the fall colors still looked beautiful. I took in the beauty of the nature before my restless self took over.

Sitting still even for 10 minutes was hard. I would go back to my work room every 10 minutes to see in case my computer changed its mind and decided to work!! After a while my desperation and frenzy got on my nerves and I decided to take it easy. With this realization, my mind started navigating me through some wonderful collection of books and music that I had. I had bought them over the years but never found enough time to read them all. I decided to look around and explore some more. In the evening I went out for a walk in the woods to enjoy the fall colors. I had seen them all a zillion times on the Internet, as 10 beautiful places etc…but seeing them or feeling them through my senses in person gave me an entirely different perspective. The expanse which was missing on that 17” screen was overwhelming. I felt like a part of it, not some objective spectator. I also met with some friends there. I had been chatting with them on a regular basis online but looking into their eyes and exchanging smiles rather than smileys and using gestures rather than some incomprehensible abbreviations felt different.

I started to wonder, although it’s true that the technology has given us endless opportunities to explore things and brings home on our table the entire world, but it also takes away our power to analyze things. We have forgotten out ability to browse our mind and look for the answers or explanations inside, the quest for wisdom and truth is just one Google or Yahoo away. It does the analyzing for us, searching for us and viewing for us. There’s nothing that we cannot possibly do online. Buying, selling, dating, reading, writing, even marriage. That reminds me of an 8 year old child whose dad was looking for some information on the Indian god (Ganesha). He went to the temple, called up the priest and also his family in India. His daughter a little amazed at him said, “Dad I wonder why you are running around so much for this piece of information? Just go to and you are done”.

However, it should not be misconstrued as me having anything against the technology per se. It is an enormous tool to make our life a lot easier. But aren’t we doing away with the power of thinking, reasoning or analyzing? It should be used as a tool to enrich our lives without getting too dependent on it.

Technology, no doubt is making our life a lot easier and smarter but, meaningful……….??