‘What will happen if all smart gadgets were banned?’ I asked Specky, my wife.
‘Hmmm… interesting,’ she began, ‘we’ll navigate correctly without the GPS guiding us through all the wrong routes.’ This made us smile. She then mentioned that listening to the music of nature just might become a reality then…
I said, ‘You are talking as if life is less peppier because of all the smartness of technology surrounding us.’ I then paused and added, ‘And how will I then boast of 4966 friends on Facebook?’
‘You didn’t say that the internet would disappear, did you?’ replied Specky in panic, ‘I cannot manage groceries and other things now without my online ordering. So you’d better get this awful thought out of your mind.’
Well, thoughts have a strange way of fetching all that we have imagined straight into our lives… and so I went low and slow with this radical idea. But the truth is that if smart gadgets weren’t there I would probably have to wash clothes in our old absolutely unsmart washing machine that actually did not even rinse the soap out of clothes. It just whirred away for eons leaving the rinsing and drying to us. I do remember that it was my responsibility to hang the clothes on the clothesline in our backyard. Of course I loved this because it invariably ended with Specky giving me more than just a peck on my lips. You know what I mean.
Take the smartphone with all those smart apps out of my hands, throw the refrigerator that has smart controls on the door out of the kitchen, get rid of the smart microwave oven that understands what slim fry means, make that automatic smart washing machine disappear, let the smart wearables fade away, and then imagine life. Well, I guess if a laptop is considered smart enough, then that must also go… and so does the internet and all the hullaballoo about smart messaging and global connectivity. I am back to typing articles on my portable typewriter and then sending a painstakingly typed copy by post to some editor of some magazine or publication. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
Imagine waiting for the daily newspaper to know what has happened in JNU and not relying on biased views on the fast-moving smart av-transmissions. Imagine walking to the roadside vendor to browse through magazines… yes, this is positively charming as I have not bought a single magazine for more than five years now. All this smart technology is bent upon making me think of an impassive kindle as good as a real book… smart technology has made my fountainpen redundant and I no longer want to buy all the fancy stationery that I once dreamt of. Every time I pick up a set of colours or a sheaf of art-papers or sketching pencils, Specky reminds me that I do all my artworks on my iPad, ‘Remember all those apps that you’ve bought?’ Yes, I remember Art-rage, Procreate, Paper 53, and Tayasui Sketches and I remember finding them a lot easier than drawing on paper with a real pencil… but come on, I miss doing all that. I really wish sometimes that technology hadn’t come rushing to us so fast and with so much intensity. I wish I had all the time to explore all the wonderful things that weren’t so smart… but then that wouldn’t be smart of me, right?
Smart gadgets have ushered in an era of efficiency that was unheard of just a few years back. I mean, look at the clinical way an email or a whatsapp message goes about doing its job – did the bumbling postman stand any chance? And the best part is that smart technology doesn’t ring the bell every Diwali to say with a toothless smile, ‘Bakshish!’
I guess I’m not going to think about smart gadgets disappearing, after all.
18 February 2016