Going Old School

Our lives seem to have radically changed with the advent of the smartphone. Personally speaking, I liked the dumb phone (the one with the typing keypad) much better. I still have one which I would love to carry with me to work had there not been a prevalent tendency all over my country to communicate important notices and documents via Whatsapp. That is an application that I detest from the core of my heart, but that is another completely different story. Coming back to the main point, I feel that this constant communication and over-dependence on the smartphone is making us quite dull and lethargic when it comes to social and official communications.

Unfortunately in India (and I am sure that this phenomenon must be true in other countries as well), there is an increasing tendency to avoid the computer and communicate via the smartphone. Gone are the days when people used to write long letters on dainty stationery, nowadays even the email has become quite a pet peeve for many. I have had a rather tough time convincing my colleagues and students to write emails. Most people are texting away the whole day, be they work related texts or social ones or even festive greetings. No, I do not expect to be surprised by Christmas or New Year cards lying in my mailbox, but at least a virtual card or two over the email would have been nice. On the contrary I have to remain satisfied with greetings over Whatsapp and other messengers. This can indeed be frustrating for someone like me who prefers thoughts expressed in solitude over letters and emails.

person holding smartphone

In order to keep my brain bright and ticking and not let it get submerged in the quagmire of instant communication, I’ve decided to follow certain rules hereafter.

  1. Read More Books

Reading definitely increase ones patience as well as the ability to analyse. And who can benefit more from reading than the writer? Reducing activities pertaining to the phone such as watching movies (1 movie per week should be enough), and playing games should be adhered to in order to cultivate a fresh mind.

2. Limit Communications to the Computer

Writing emails and articles helps further in organizing ones thoughts and in responding in a more graceful manner. Posting comments on social media sites (to a news or an event) as well as typing a text on the spur of the moment are usually instant reflex actions. They seldom allow the person communicating to avoid words that might hurt others. Usually in life most of us tend to react than respond. Going old school helps in calming the nerves.

3. Encourage Others to Relax

I have decided to gracefully ask friends and family to limit their texting to the bare minimum and call me more. Hearing a human voice and the emotions that are attached to the same can be both calming as well as joyful in more ways than one. We seem to have become too tied up to this handheld instrument running our lives and relationships.

4. Carry a Book While Commuting

Yes, I’ve decided to avoid looking at the phone or plugging my earplugs in and listening to music while commuting, Both will do nothing more than tie me down to the machine even while I am travelling. On a related note, I wish I could invest in a gramophone in order to listen to vinyl records being played within the solitude of my apartment.

5. Jotting Down Thoughts in a Notebook

I have this habit of jotting my thoughts down in my phone throughout the day. I usually use MS OneNote for the above. However, henceforth I propose to replace the same with a paper notebook and pen. Good for my eyes and my mind.

Going old school can be tough, because we are organisms who are prone to being socially conditioned. However, I have decided to go back to the good old days of being “disconnected” from the world. The good old days when a bulky black rotary dial phone used to grace the precincts of our living room and the whole household would know who was calling whom.

Wish me luck folks ! Till I scribble again.

Au revoir !

white teacup filled with brown liquid near pink flower

14 replies on “Going Old School”

  1. Wow! Lopamudra, this is fabulous! All great ideas. I thought it related to my age, but I never took to the facebook, smartphone, texting, etc. cultural development. It never seemed to do anything for me, so I’ve not gotten into it at all. I’ve always liked email because I could write a letter and know that the addressee got it immediately; whether or not they read it that day, I knew it was there waiting for them. But I also like to write paper letters and wait for a return post in the mailbox. But few friends or family members seem interested in this sort of thing.

    And I carry books with me when I go someplace, knowing I’ll have time and opportunity (in a waiting room usually) to read it. Just be careful not to leave your book someplace and forget it. hehe. I’ve done that and lost books I still miss.

    A great post. I wish you the best of luck in your efforts toward going “old school”. I must add, however, I sort of sense that we are not alone in this, anymore: I kind of feel that others are leaving their smartphones unattended much more often these days, that they’ve become bored with them. Have you felt this too?

    1. Glad to know that we share the same sentiments when it comes to going old school. Thankfully I have not yet had the misfortune of losing a book. Sorry to hear about that. I hope you don’t lose any further ones. I’ve been reading your novel, though I may be a tad bit slow in my reading. But I definitely intend to make good use of the opportunity that you have bestowed upon me 🙂

  2. I was thinking the other day about how much I miss a standard telephone connected to a socket on the wall with a handheld ear and mouthpiece. I guess they may seem outdated but I think the way one holds such as phone as well as the obvious ear and mouthpieces, somehow encouraged greater focus on the conversation and less likelihood of distraction.

    1. Now “that” is an interesting observation. I’ll need to ponder that one; maybe bounce it off my better half.

  3. Always read books. Holding a book and turning the pages is such a beautiful, tactile experience. Holding a mobile is like holding a random piece of plastic, it has no soul. A book holds words that you can feel on paper that has texture and aroma. A book is a repository of knowledge and poetry and stories that come alive in your hands. The screen of a mobile is flat, dead and the words are trapped behind glass, like insects in amber, but without the beauty. Writing with a fountain pen is to make words flow like the thoughts that create them. To see the ink flow from the nib. formed into a continuous, sinuous line that creates words on paper is a magical experience. That line that you command is unique to you, nobody else can create words that looks like your words. These unique words are part of the the creative process because your hand shapes them. Typing on a screen is easier but you are only using a font and a program created by someone else. I still write letters and greetings cards by hand, I also write essays by hand but the world demands uniformity so everything ends up as electricity on a screen.

    1. Wow ! This is a brilliant observation. In fact this comment alone far surpasses my original post. I agree with you completely. We are definitely losing the grace and finesse that was a part of old school writing and reading. Makes everything rather plastic and artificial.

  4. Staying away from Smarphone is a good idea. Buying flip-phone is also an another way to avoid smartphone. If I were you, I would have ditched smartphone.
    When I read your story, I strongly recommend that you should get rid of a smartphone. When using Internet, you should utilize only notebook or desktop computer. You should not use smartphone unless you significantly cut Internet access. You should stay away from the Internet more than one day.
    Perhaps, you need to stay away from Internet two or three days if you are extremely addicitve with smartphone.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind suggestions. I will definitely do my best to follow them 🙂

  5. You will not look back, I am a computer engineer for 30 years but I still use a flip phone and a notebook to this day. In all these years, yes things are more convenient with smartphones but at what cost.

    Wish you all the best in your journey and partners will notice you will have much more attention to them.

    1. Thank you so much. Glad that I meet kindred spirits through Vivaldi 🙂

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