From Virtuality to Reality

I persevere to live my life at the expense of what I don’t want to do instead of what I want to do

– A confusing reply to anyone’s absurd “What do you do”

I am not a promoter of Digital Detox or anything similar to that. I don’t even know how people can write such blog posts and books, let alone read them. Before you wonder what the next thousand words are about, I’ll make myself clear. Technology is meant to make our lives simple provided we use it, and not abuse it as I did. In the abuse case, our smartphones remain smart but we turn dumb. If at this point you’re thinking where do you stand on this line on the extremes of which are smart and dumb, don’t think too hard. I was there last year in December. I hadn’t turned dumb per se but became very good at procrastinating on real work. It was necessary to get my shit together and that was the time in my millennial existence where I made a turning point in my life at the centre of which was peace as an urgent priority. To start with the smallest step in this journey of literally a thousand miles (you’ll know it soon), I uninstalled WhatsApp. Then I realized my profile was still there. Fuck. I understood that technical glitch a bit late. Installed it once again, deleted my profile and finally threw in its face the ultimate bye from my end. For two months I had been fretting over what would be the possible ways of keeping in touch with people I know once I get rid of this app and blah blah blah. Within a few seconds, it was done. It turned out that some things keep us occupied in the contemplation of their process rather than provoke us to actually push-start that process. Post this joyful demise of WhatsApp, permanently went to grave my hopes of receiving a message from women who had by every chance forgotten about me. But I used to see their status updates, anyways. Then I left. For the journey of a thousand miles, I left. Now, it is not that I don’t want to tell you where I went and what all I did but that will take a lot of time and you might get tired reading it. After all, who would like to know a guy’s experience of staying in a bamboo hut in the middle of a field adjacent to a pond in the vicinity of which was a school where he used to teach pre-teenage kids. So let’s just stick to the main point. It is real what I wrote back there, just so you know.

After four months I returned home and city life took a toll on the habits which I had acquired during wanderlust-ing my way through adulthood. Some of the habits included waking up early, chewing Tulsi (Holy Basil, you English bitch) leaves, not swiping on Tinder and more importantly, avoiding the disease of holding-on-to-a-smartphone as much as possible. But as they say, city lights leave no dark corners unlit. Once I came back, I also went back to using my smartphone and restarted the process of killing my time. Some days later, I began reading books on my Kindle to let those old sparks of literary love pierce and burn my neural connections. It was a book marathon of sorts where I was glued to the screen of my device for two weeks straight. No joke dude. I am a big-time reader. Although an underlying intention was to avoid focusing my eyeballs at a screen, after carefully observing my brain’s dopamine-releasing tendencies, I had a Eureka moment. It was better to read books for seeking novelty than binge watch rubbish shows, I told myself. Plus, Netflix happens to be expensive for unemployed youngsters and also me. But why read books? Firstly, because they are neurally more stimulating. Secondly, the light from Kindle is anti-glare unlike that coming from a laptop. I know we have a blue light filter in it and other fancy-ass stuff but forget that. In the aim of simplifying my life, I didn’t want to complicate it further. After giving myself the above justification(s), the use of my Nokia 3 also began to drop in terms of the time and concentration level given to social media posts of hippie travel junkies and sapiosexual bibliophiles. To hell with them.

Loser What The Fuck Minimalism Arpit Chhikara

This love and hate relationship which better be called a giving in and withdrawing scenario, it went on straight from April to July of this year. During this time I shifted to a basic white coloured phone for three weeks but I had to revert to my smartphone for some reasons. Let me be true here. I had recharge coupons from Vodafone which were offering me a discount on the next internet recharge. Their expiry date was very very near. A moment of silence for my Nokia 130 which is now sleeping in its box while his brother from a technologically advanced mother is looking at me from a distance. He won’t disturb me and you and this story because he’s on flight mode even though I am sitting in my room, not in a flight. When progress seems far fetched, it makes sense to shake (not masturbate, you fool) things up, said someone whose name is the same as mine. So I followed his advise, shook things up and gave a shock to my android machine by removing all the apps that I had not used in a long time and turned off notifications for the rest of them. To add more space to my top floor, I also unsubscribed all the channels from YouTube. Those YouTube folks have millions of subscribers anyways. Losing one loyal viewer won’t make much of a difference to them. On a side note, this is the same logic I give myself when I don’t share environment care and save Amazon (the forest, not the website you idiot) posts on Facebook. My sharing won’t make much of a difference when there are millions of vegans and nature lovers out there.

Oh, I am glad that Facebook came into discussion. A very useful act to indulge in while you’re alive and breathing is to make friends who truly are friends and not charlatans pretending to be BFFs. The second very useful act to indulge in while you’re alive and breathing is to stay away from people on Facebook who are your friends but only use you to send page liking invitations even after knowing the fact that you have no concern whatsoever with the content of such pages. To maintain the hygiene of my news feed, I unliked about a thousand pages that I didn’t care about. In addition to that, I left all the groups which were in no way contributing to my financial struggles during broke time of the month. Those groups surely had a lot of information on economic reforms in the post-colonial Indian setup but a voice in my heart said, “Go to hell, you all-talk-no-action bitches”. And, ever since August began, I have been un-friending at least five people daily. They had the “I don’t give a damn” attitude towards high-quality and supremely informative stuff because despite writing for three years and having more than a thousand people in my friend list, not one of my posts went viral. When they’re not supporting me in the artistic endeavours I am pursuing, I will also not help them by signing petitions on Change.org and pressing love reactions on coffee mug pictures. It came as a shock to my cognitive system that I was friends with someone who had shared a meme about nerds. I am one. So now be happy my un-friended friend. Making fun of nerds, huh. I might have started to bore as well as bother you with my words and self-obsession. I’ll keep this short since it already has been 1200 words. Okay, let’s proceed fast.

The worst thing which happened to mankind after the Kardashians, it is the creation of WhatsApp. The best thing which happened to me in recent years has been ejaculation in the presence of a lady (on phone, obviously). The second best thing is the profile deletion ceremony from that shit bomb of an app. The same time which earlier used to go in watching a GIF of a banana peeling itself, replying to good morning images of a peacock spreading its wings and sending happy-to-connect-with-you messages, since the December of last year, that time is safe with me to waste in other ways. For example, by sleeping. WhatsApp is a waste app and I am more than okay in saying that I lost communication with a lot of people after I no longer could be a visible part of their network. But in a way, I regained the wisdom to be close to thirty or forty people in whose life I add value and whose presence matters in mine. YouTube no longer serves my modernity infused instinct to consume visual content and before I forget about Instagram, let me also open that chamber of awful secrets. On Instagram, I post cartoons (I am multi-talented, thanks to lack of a job) and see nobody’s posts, so clearly, there isn’t any chance about liking a post. I don’t follow many people in the first place except for hopeful artists who simply wish to create art. Though I sometimes check out profiles of women who dress like a leopard waiting for a prey who they can eat. There was a pun in the last line in case you missed it because of being Vitamin IQ deficient. Tinder, on the other hand, will take a little longer to distance myself from but in the last one month, I have gotten zero matches because of which I am reading even more books on Kindle and have also returned to almost virgin status. Tinder might get deleted if I magically turn into a sapiosexual bibliophile who orgasms after reading Bukowski’s poems. What say? On a completely unrelated tangent, install this app on your phone called Google Keep in which you can conveniently make and store notes. You can do the same in a pocket-sized diary but you know, technology is a tool we all should use, but not abuse as I did until last year.

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