The easy-to-click mobile cameras have added a peculiar habit to the social behavior; that of taking pictures of any moment thought to be momentous. The TV and print advts of mobiles and digicams only further reinforce the importance of capturing the vital moments in your life, thus making the product indispensable. But, isn't this habit depriving us of the joy of living in the moment or going down the memory lane years later to share the piece from past with someone else?
Take for example, the ‘Ravan dehan’, which I attended after a gap of some 15 years on this Dushehra. A 10-feet high effigy of Ravan stood tall in the centre of a community park. The residents from nearby colonies were gathered on the spot, excitedly awaiting the moment when the bad man would go up in flames. Finally, the boy chosen to shoot the ‘fatal’ arrow took his aim and the air was filled with claps…No Wait! There was no clapping as everybody was busy clicking the moment on their mobile phones. As the arrow hit Ravan, the crowds clicked even more frantically to capture the moment. Some of the residents even continued video recording the event till Ravan keeled over and the show was over.
As for me, I just stood there drinking in the view – the leaping flames, the boom of crackers and the assorted reactions of young and old in the crowd. To tell the truth, it was nowhere near the elaborate affair lodged in my childhood memories, but as there was no such thing as a ‘mobile phone’ in those days (even having a camera was considered a luxury), I can’t show you any clippings. Should this be a sad thing?
Maybe, we are moving from dadi-nani ke kisse to mobile clippings ke kisse. Soon, the time will come when any query about a past event (your first b’day or your first day at school) would be answered with the flash of a mobile clipping. There would be no need to look for a person with a prodigious memory capable of giving a first-hand account.
On the other hand, I increasingly hear complaints of diminishing attention spans and memorising powers. The most common grouse is not feeling entertained or excited enough despite the easy access to social networking and entertainment
media. But, dude, you are not letting your mind get excited because the minute you are excited, you whip the mobile out of your pocket and start filming the moment. This means you were never ‘actually’ engrossed in the event.
The first time I noticed this trend was during the Cricket World
Cup finals in 2011. I was watching it on television and as the Indian team started on their victory lap, the crowds in the stadium looked overwhelmed with joy. The curious part – everyone was busy capturing the victory lap on their mobile cameras. And I was busy watching this strange behavior. Yes, it was a historical win and surely everyone present there wanted to show-off their glory-moment to the absentees back at home, but the point is they missed the ‘smaller picture’. They failed to indulge in the emotions, to be present in the moment, even though they were there physically. I’m pretty sure that if there was any such apparatus available to measure the level of happiness, then it would have proved that the crowds that day didn’t enjoy the victory as much as the spectators of India’s win at 1983 Cricket World Cup.
The thing is technology
is evolving with each passing day and I am not a naysayer predicting that the world would be worse for it. Look at the Telly – it has been called the ‘idiot box’, so many studies have announced that it has more harms than goodness, but the television sits proudly in every house turning a deaf ear to these naysayers. The fact is the good or bad is not in the T.V. – it’s in how you use or abuse it.
Similar is the case with mobile cameras. I quite like the freedom to click anything, anywhere. However, I am equally sure that letting this passion to click override your chance to enjoy those little moments of your life is not the right choice. Even though all those advertisements may make you believe to the contrary. So, this Diwali, it’s your choice whether you keep clicking the fireworks or actually enjoy the show. What say you?