The Article 'Blink It' or 'Stay Calm' by Jasmeet Singh, Advocate on Record, Supreme Court of India managing partner of Joshi and Singh edited by Saif Ali Advocate and Associate at Chambers of Joshi and Singh has comprehensively dealt with the current issue of the ill effects of technology on the lives of people.

The Article 'Blink It' or 'Stay Calm' by Jasmeet Singh, Advocate on Record, Supreme Court of India managing partner of Joshi and Singh, edited by Saif Ali, Advocate and Associate at Chambers of Joshi and Singh, has comprehensively dealt with the current issue of the ill effects of technology on the lives of people. We have become so addicted to mobile phones for all the work that we have just ignored the role of physical exercise. Although the author accepts the fact that technology has positive impacts on our lives, but its ceaseless use of it can be said to be an obstruction in the mental and physical development of kids too. The author appreciates the earlier time when we were not technically advanced but used to live in a calm environment. The author's outcry to the readers is to take steps for a peaceful and healthy life.

'Blink It' or 'Stay Calm'

A lot has changed in the last two decades. Internet, mobile phones, social networks, OTT platforms, breaking news, instant delivery platforms, taxi and other service aggregators, and numerous other similar, technology-based 'applications' have literally ruled over every minute of our lives. This is a fact, and an equally proven fact is that these "convenience applications" have completely screwed up our patience ["screwed up" isn't really the best-suited term for an article; however, I was too impatient to look for a better word]. I am sure a lot of you would agree to the ill effects of the tech-based applications, for those who don't, allow me to wring your introspection faculties.

How much time can you spend doing the following before getting irritated (or angry):-

(i) Stand on the side-walk, waiting for the taxi which you just booked on your phone;

(ii) Wait as your favourite OTT show (or any show for that matter) buffers on the internet;

(iii) Wait for a dish to be delivered beyond the scheduled time;

(iv) Stand in a queue at a Bank to get a demand draft issued without throwing your weight around;

(v) Recall the name of the movie of the song which you just heard, without shazam-ing it;

(vi) Wait for your unanswered call to be returned;

(vii) (you get the gist).

I am pretty sure that 10 minutes would be the upper limit for most of us. This "impatience" is now so deep-rooted in our heads that it is now also governing other facets of our professional and personal lives. A judge who exhausts his board at lightning speed is praised more than the one who patiently gives a right of audience to all parties. A doctor prefers to see the symptoms and prescribes medicine that gives quick relief. A reporter focuses on being the first to break the news rather than presenting a well-informed report. Articles/Analysis of judgments is preferred over reading the full text.

That is not all. Unfortunately, and quite evidently, we're passing on this "impatience" to the forthcoming generations as well. Kids are getting bored at an alarmingly increasing pace if they have nothing to do for a few minutes. If that is not all, they want to (or have to) multi-task at the cost of their well-being. Toddlers are made to watch television during meals (so that they finish early as parents save time), kids listen to music as they read, and teenagers are on their smartphones (or connected through their wireless headsets) as they drive. The point I am trying to make here is that this impatience and the unnecessary "I don't have time, and I am very busy" attitude is instilled in kids from a very young age, which is an extremely dangerous trend.

While I write my thoughts, I wonder whether the reader would be able to relate to my thoughts. It is highly unlikely that the "millennial generation" would be able to relate to my thoughts, especially since they (the majority of them) have not experienced the following small pleasures of life:-

(i) Stepping out for cricket/football matches after school hours and coming back after sunset (notice the deliberate absence of exact timings, we did not need watches or clocks back then). We did not come back to missed calls or messages. The only panic, perhaps, was the haste to finish homework until dinner time. Our parents didn't expect a minute-by-minute explanation to condone the delay in returning from the playground;

(ii) To have libraries issuing books with a 'one student, one book' policy, and the barter system of exchanging books with friends to enjoy reading more content;

(iii) To wait until 10 pm to make STD calls (to avail discounted rates) and to disconnect the phone at 'X' minutes and 58-59 seconds to get maximum economic efficiency for the call;

(iv) To call the neighbour of that one relative without a telephone and request the neighbour to bring such relative to the phone;

(v) To contribute money along with other friends to hire/rent a VCR player and some pirated cassettes to watch a new release;

(vi) To write letters to friends/family/relatives and to post Diwali/Eid/Birthday cards and then eagerly wait for days for a reply;

(vii) To accompany our fathers on Sundays to buy groceries. As a teenager, it was a major milestone in life to be endowed with independent responsibility for this task;

(viii) To request, at our mother's behest, our neighbours for a small quantity of curd so that a whole pot could be made in our own homes;

(ix) (you get the gist)

The above things, which were like routine between the 1960s and 1990s, suddenly vanished in the 21st Century. The lucky ones, who were blessed to experience them, know the price we all have paid for the so-called technological advancement and trust me, it is indeed a very heavy price.

Not for a moment am I intending to say that these technological advancements have only done harm and no good, however, what I intend to convey is that somewhere the balance has been disturbed. The charm of doing nothing has vanished. In my opinion, small exercises can bring big changes to our mental health, our patience levels, and of course, our happiness. It will not be out of context to mention a few, which I have been trying to follow, albeit with only 30-40% efficiency so far:-

(i) Don't use your phone for time and alarm. Keep an alarm clock in your room and check your phone for the first time at least 15 minutes after waking up;

(ii) Try to do the grocery purchase by visiting the vendor at least once a week and not by using web-based applications;

(iii) Leave your smartphone aside for 2-3 hours on a daily basis for a technology detox. Of course, if you miss a call from a VVIP, you can always say, "was in a meeting", "was finishing my yoga session" or some other fancy excuse. The VVIP will never understand the 'improving patience exercise', so don't even try to explain it to them;

(iv) Write letters – to your family or friends. At least once a month. The pleasure of holding and reading a letter is utmost and hence deserves to be kept alive;

(v) Greet strangers with a smile – while walking in a park, or in the lift, or at a restaurant. Some of them will think that you are crazy, but with some you may end up brewing an interesting conversation.

As I bring this piece to a close, I find it relevant to leave the readers with the closing lines from a poem titled "Leisure" by the Welsh poet W. H. Davies, published first in 1911:

"A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare."

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Updated On 2 Sep 2022 2:11 PM GMT
Jasmeet Singh

Jasmeet Singh

Advocate on Record, Supreme Court of India. | Managing Partner of Chambers of Joshi and Singh

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