Disconnect to Connect

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Each one of us have some fond memories from our growing up years. I still remember waking up each morning to the soothing sound of Azaan, that would come from the mosque in our neighbourhood.
Even today, hearing it anywhere fills me up with nostalgia, and a deep longing seeps in to go back in time, to feel the same calm again.
My brothers and me grew up in a very loving house, where our father cooked meals for us on Sundays, grandfather told us stories of partition and world wars. Summer vacations were about, slow, long, warm, mango filled, tubewell dipped days at our maternal grandmother’s house.
Life was as simple as possible until, the world happened to us.
I wonder how I still remember all of this as clearly as if it had just happened yesterday. I know the answer to this deep within, it was because I was having the best time of my life. It was because I was hundred percent present in that moment. Technology has literally alienated people from one another.
Reflecting upon this thought got me writing again. Why is it so that Today I or rather majority of us feel a dire need to capture everything in our smartphones. Back then, seldom you would spot anyone travelling with a camera, there were no phones, good moments were captured but in mind.

Today, step in a party and you would see sixty percent of the people involved with their mobile, capturing themselves. Instagram stories are flooded with about last nights, OOTDs, check ins.Smartphones have literally burrowed their way into our lives making us less focused.
Being disconnected is a luxury that very few people have nowadays.
I too have a bit of smartphone addiction. As a matter of fact, It has indeed made my life better, I have become more efficient. It has been working like my second brain over a decade now, it is my alarm, notepad, reminder, calculator, mini tv, newspaper, navigator. The use of this device is obsessive and I know that it will eventually take a toll on my health. I am running in my thirties and I have witnessed the world changing, some of the revolutionary evolutions like switching from cassettes to cds to pen drives, from personal computers to tabs, from sending postcards to exchanging whatsapps, the entire world seems restructured from then to now and the world is coming closer every day.

But, I confess that at times I miss the old us, the simplified version of us. I miss the connection I had with people around me then. Perhaps I was geographically not connected to someone but was emotionally connected to the person sitting beside me, my conversations were not interrupted by beeps, my pictures were candid and unfiltered I use to enjoy the magnificence of nature, the thought of capturing the happy moment never haunted me.
We all live in the world highly impacted by the social media. In a way, we all strive hard to fit in, to belong. We look for social validation for all that we do. We portray different editions of ourselves to get acceptance. Well, we all must have tried this at least once in our lives. But, the truth is that we all are seeking happiness at the end of the tunnel and any sort of pretentious life will only lead to sorrow and alienation one day, even from oneself.
Now, that I have grown up I do not feel the need to appease anyone, I want to be responsible for my follies and for my decisions. People will always have an opinion of how things ought to be.
Today I know that the only person who knows the right way is me.
So, with this thought in my mind I this summer I decided to travel without my phone, I wanted to experience the world like we did when we were young. At that time travelling actually meant to relax, to explore, to live in the moment.
And, why I am writing this today is because the last week changed my life. This time for the very first time, I decided to travel without my phone and any gadget with my family. I experienced a week soaking in a different culture. I was right there, only there!
I woke up to a vast spread of blue, the sound of the waves spreading water swiftly over the shore. I woke up to the smell of the Arabian sea, and the early advent of the monsoons led the trees danced around in the morning breeze. I woke up the droplets of rain falling on me, and this moment was arrested only in my memory. I met many people, heard many stories, I realised how looking into someone’s eyes changes the entire conversation. I just gazed with wonder at the sunset and beauty of the moon, I was grateful to God with all my heart to have experienced it. I mediated on the beach, I saw the most beautiful sunrise, I saw the skies washed in crimson hues. I painted the sunrise and sunsets with my elder one, I sang with locals. They say that joy comes in sips and not gulps. I realised it is the small things that matter the most, and that all this was missing from my life.
I had time for myself, to think, to read, to just be–which is the best feeling ever.
I realised how powerful it was to slow down for a moment and take little time to breathe.
I, today understand that how important it is for everyone to reboot themselves and take a little break from the digital world. To stop and just live the moment, live it completely and seize it in a your mind. Because, at times it is paramount to disconnect for a better connection. To find you in you!
M.

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