Boris Kanev and Marta Samalea. Do these names ring a bell?
Okay… let me give you a hint . They did what most of us can not even imagine doing in this time and age.
…? .. got it?
Yes. They are the couple who started off from Bulgaria in October 2013 to reach India without taking a plane. They reached India via Myanmar in 511 days. They travelled across the remotest parts of the world by road, walking and hitchhiking. They looked up maps , and even updated a blog. Doesn’t sound like a very hard thing to do…right?
Now here’s the tricky part.
They did all this , without a smartphone! Yes..you read it right.
You must be thinking they are crazy. At a time when we people can not even spare our phones for a minute, these guys decided to travel almost half way through the world without what most people treasure – a smartphone.
But this couple dreamed about faraway travels and that too without a smartphone.
For most of us this sounds like a nightmare.
Although, when we don’t have a phone there are things we don’t have to worry about. Not about charging the device, replying to the messages and texts , carrying the chargers and stuff. On the contrary, one tends to live the days fully at the place one is , spend more time enjoying the environment , learning about the place , making new friends , communicating with the people or even picking up some new skills!
Smartphones may be bringing us closer to the people who are far away from us but it is definitely tearing us apart from the people who are near.
Throughout the day we are constantly texting. We tend to ignore the people who are around us because we are so engrossed in our phones and other devices. In fact ,we become absent minded. Even oblivious of our surroundings. We take away from ourselves the opportunity to communicate with people around us.
Imagine this. It was a rainy day and you were travelling or were at home . Maybe you were even posting on Facebook or updating your status on social media about how wonderful the weather is. Don’t you feel you missed something? Did you actually take off time from your phone and look out of the window at how beautiful everything looked around you. How fresh and green the trees looked. How the little drops of rain looked to be like diamonds on the flowers in your garden. How happy the kids seem to be while getting drenched with their friends in the rain. Most likely you did not notice all this. Even if you were not busy with some very important work , you chose to ignore all this and be on social media instead.
Another thing that comes to my mind is that earlier people used to write letters they used to be weeks old by the time they reached their destination. But people used to eagerly wait for them. I feel it was a much more intimate way of communicating. Our generation hasn’t really seen people write letters . Take me for instance. I have never written nor received a letter in my life ,so far. And with the increasing use of internet and technology , I don’t think that I might write or receive one ever!! This might be the case with most of us. Because , now a days no one has that kind of interest and patience for writing a letter. Who is going to put so much effort. Might as well Whatsapp. But whatever one may say, there is a touch of immortality to writing letters. I’m sure the happiness one gets from receiving a letter is more than that of getting a text message.
But because we are so enslaved by our need to use our phones, we are even losing social skills.
You must be wondering how I have come to realise all this. This happened a few weeks ago. I was with a friend of mine . Mere physical presence. Mentally I was with someone else on the other end of the phone. Yes I was texting. My friend and I were talking about something. And there came a message. I replied. Then another. And another. And before I realised that, a good 15 minutes had passed, and I was ignoring her. She was there , in front of me. She had come here to talk to me. When I looked up from my phone she didn’t say anything. But I realised what a terrible thing I had done. I kept away my phone at once. The conversation resumed but I could clearly see that it was not like before. Though she didn’t say anything, I know she was hurt. Anyone would be. Imagine yourself in her position. This is when I understood, that okay, I have to keep a check on myself and learn to moderate.
Internet and technology allow us to use or get any information at the click of a second or talk to people sitting anywhere across the globe. Of course they are an indispensable part of our lives. But what about the people who are with us, around us. Are we hampering our relationships in any way, by not communicating with them ? Are we bargaining our relationships for technology?
There is no right answer to this question. But we must think about it!