By Gitanjali Maria:
All eager about the new internship that I was to start at a leading multi-national company, I groomed myself well and went ahead, skipping with excitement and nervousness. Fifteen other students were to be joining with me and I was glad about meeting new faces, making friends and expanding my professional and personal network. But alas, that was going to be an uphill task!
As I entered the conference room where everyone was seated, I looked around trying to find somebody with whom I could have an ice breaker session. But all seemed to be engrossed in something, all eyes were looking down, as if concentrating on something. And there was mild clicking sound all through. That’s when I looked at the guy at my right, sitting almost a foot away. He was playing on his mobile phone. I glanced at the guy at my left, who again was sitting at almost the same distance. He was browsing on his smartphone. Smart guy, a tech-geek I thought! I looked ahead; there was a girl in the opposite seat thoroughly engrossed in her device, texting continuously.
I looked around. All held wide screen smart phones with touch facility and was full-time busy. Nobody seemed to have time for others around. No one seemed interested in knowing about the other person, or more likely they might have all connected with each other over FB or LinkedIn or the like, so I thought. I sat expressionless, looking up at the ceiling and the fan whirling around, feeling cold in the icy silence that was perpetually interrupted by the fast pressing noise of the keys of the QWERTY key-padded phones.
Mobile phones, that keep us constant company and gift us uninterrupted connectivity, often act as hindrances and prevent us from making new friends and talking to people around us, whom we can touch and see. Today mobile phones provide us with one of the best ways to avoid meeting people. I have seen many (and have done the same too!) people pull out their mobile phones and seriously text or try calling a contact from the contact list just to avoid striking a conversation with another person or to evade colliding into some known acquaintance.
The world of mobile phones have reduced the time we spend speaking and have increased the time we spend on texting and that too in a form of English language that generally doesn’t use the five key vowel alphabets. While it helps in staying in touch with the hundreds of friends and acquaintances that we have made over our yester-years, it hinders us from making new friends and talking to strangers who might have been potential friends. It provides us with safe means to avoid people and to portray to the world that we are busy and engrossed in our own worlds. It is a subtle yet crude and unpolished means to say ‘Do Not Disturb /Bother Me’ without having to hang the board around our necks.
All good things have some negatives too, just like every coin has two sides. Tweaking an old adage a bit, I would say, ‘Nothing is good or bad, but the way of usage makes it so.’ And so is the case with Mobile (Cell) phones too!