The real world, people insist, is not inside a smartphone… and I have always wondered if it is the tech-challenged who are trying to push us back into the wilderness of the past. I mean, look how wonderful and full of aesthetic harmony our world seems as it exists on a picture in Instagram… or how easy it is to summarise happiness and oneness with nature during a Himalayan trek in a 140 character tweet… or simply how gorgeous are the places that tour operators advertise on the television… and the list goes on to include every platform on the social media as well as in the world of media promotions. I am mesmerized and I want to go out and be what the others appear to be and do what they are all doing.
So I tell Specky, my wife, ‘Let us go on a vacation.’
‘Vacation?’ she says, ‘in the middle of a semester? Not possible.’
‘But everyone else seems to be someplace else,’ I protest, ‘and they are all enjoying.’
She looks at all the pictures and the Facebook updates that I show her and then walks away, saying, ‘Cannot go to the beaches at Koh Samui, or the drive to the seven apostles near Melbourne, or the trek up Kilimanjaro, or feed the kangaroos at the Sydney zoo, or go to the night safari in Singapore… and no, not even the day safari in Kenya. We cannot afford them.’
‘Aha!’ I mumbled, ‘so it is money that separates us from the real world.’ Well, I must admit here that after this discussion I enjoyed looking at neither the pictures nor the descriptions of people having a gala interaction with nature at locales around the world on any of my smart devices. It is the smart world that had been the real world for me so far and I had enjoyed every moment of this togetherness… but now I felt a bit suffocated.
‘This isn’t the real world,’ I said, trying to being in Specky into the discussion again.
‘I know that.’
‘So why not get real?’ I insisted.
She smiled… and I knew she had an idea that would somehow be a great one but not so easy to fall in love with. Some smiles betray the inner core of a human being and this was one of them. I wasn’t wrong because that night she asked for the alarm clock.
‘Alarm clock?’ I asked, ‘do you have to leave for college that early?’
‘No,’ she said, ‘it is for us. We’re getting up early and going for some togetherness with nature as it exists at five thirty in the morning.’ I swallowed hard but managed to splutter out a few words that sounded like: But this isn’t like applying for a visa and going to some exotic country. Ah! Had I known the way the mind of a wife functions, I would never have insisted on getting close to nature…
I must write on to tell you that the morning walks have done a lot for us and besides being able to feel the dew on plants brush against my arm as I walk past them, I am now able to share those incredible early morning moments on all the social media platforms and get some envious ‘likes’ as well. So yes, it isn’t as if I have left the smart world but I have managed to converge the two and am fast becoming nature-ready, as Specky says, ‘One needs to become nature-ready before planning treks and long hikes.’ The real world makes me like the smart world all the more… and I guess this is the joy of real togetherness!
21 October 2015