Saturday, October 29, 2016

DIGITAL DETOX










“A journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click.”

~Author Unknown

I was waiting for my turn, yesterday, in the waiting room of my doctor’s clinic. I had gone there for my routine check-up. To be precise, to see – after making some conscious life-style changes… early morning walks, stretching and pranayama… early dinner… cutting down on non-veg consumption etc and doing away with each and every medicine – yes, after making these conscious changes I wanted to check if there was a significant improvement in my BP, pulse rate, sugar and anxiety levels and, above all, if there was a reduction in my weight – the belly fat!

My doctor was thrilled! He declared: “First class… Excellent!!”

Well, I wanted to hear that, honestly. I wanted to see if the conscious changes that we bring about – all of them are within our own control and small and simple changes they are – could help us feel great about our inner well-being…

Yes, I could see that direct link between the conscious choices we made and our well-being.

As I was waiting there, for my turn to come, in my doctor’s clinic, I chanced upon a beautiful article (from a health magazine) the doctor had displayed for his waiting patients. The title was - ‘THE DIGITAL DETOX’…

Now, in life, some things make sense to us only when we are ready for them. Years ago, when I realized that, before going to bed, I was allowing myself to be bombarded by the shouting and yelling of Arnab Goswami, and when my wife realized that she was getting hooked on to Crime Petrol and CID gory stories… yes, that’s when we both said, ‘enough of this toxin’… And, ever since then – years now – our big, smart Sony TV has gone into a deep coma!

But, then, before we could realize it, one toxin got substituted by another… This digital onslaught of smart phones, laptops, tablets and computers… It was deadlier than TV. At least, TV did not follow us to our bedrooms, kitchens, balconies, and bathrooms… It did not follow us when we sat in auto-rickshaws, taxis, BEST buses and local trains… It did not follow us when we were inside our class-rooms or prayer-rooms... It did not make us anxious as we opened our eyes early in the morning and when we went to bed late at night… 

Yes, I am no Vishwamitra… So, like everyone else, I, too, got addicted to this ‘toxic digital substance’… What was supposed to ‘connect’ me to people around me ended up doing exactly the opposite… It disconnected me from people around me – particularly my loved ones – and it was turning me ‘shallow’ in my relationships and communication with my loved ones…

So, I have realized that the lifestyle changes can never be complete if I did not do something about this digital addiction… this addiction to constant checking and monitoring… the compulsion to comment, tweet, react and be ‘curious and inquisitive’ about what is going on in whose life… It is nothing but gossip and loose talk… Nothing but information overload… Nothing but encroachment in that silent, holy, private space needed for our true well-being…

The digital detox, therefore, is my current conscious choice… I have started doing it, in small measures, in some areas of my life with significant effect. For example, when I go for walk early in the morning, I leave my phone at home… It is still dark outside… the birds are waking up… their songs greet you… The tree leaves gently dance and the breeze lovingly plays on your shoulders… The sky so beautifully dresses up into a new attire… that crescent moon… those amazing little stars, from millions of miles away, smile at you... and you become strikingly aware of your own breath, your heart-beats… you feel the gentle touch of your feet on the ground… Yes, all this is possible because I havent’t brought along my smart phone when I have come for walk… I haven’t plugged my ears… I have opened them… I have opened my eyes and heart, too…

Another example… It takes me some fifteen minutes to reach my work-place from my home. Earlier, the moment I sat in the auto-rickshaw, my hands would mechanically reach to my phone and ‘check’… yes, ‘check’… The entire fifteen minutes commute would go in this useless clutter. Now, I just don’t let that to happen… I look out of the rickshaw… see and feel the real life out there… on the streets… and, I get in touch with throbbing of my own heart…

The same way, I am able to do my digital detox while on the dining table and before going to bed…

It is my life and, hence, it is my choice… If I don’t cut down on these toxins, the toxins will surely cut me down!

GERALD D’CUNHA
Pic.: Kenrick D'Cunha

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