Watch out, folks. Mobile phones are taking over our world. Our life. Everything that used to be pure and sweet.
I see people sending messages on WhatsApp in the movie theatre—a place they are supposed to immerse themselves in what’s transpiring on the big screen in front. They are incognizant not only of how they are wasting their ticket money but also of how their illuminated screens are spoiling the experience for others. “Are you watching this film for the first time?” That was what someone asked me when I requested them to turn off their screen. Are you guys habitual repeat watchers of movies in theatres? Have I been living under a rock?
Mobile phones are on the table as couples go out on dinner dates and sit by the candlelight. The screens continue to flicker on and off even after the selfies have been taken and the mandatory checks-in on Facebook and Instagram are complete. Whatever happened to looking into each other’s eyes and holding hands?
Little children, it seems, cannot live without mobile phones. They need screens while they eat their meals. Parents turn on those cutesy videos whenever they want the kids to keep quiet and let them completes chores around the house. You take away the screen from the infant, and the withdrawal symptoms are terrifying: bawling, screaming, and wailing until the tears run dry.
People in mobile marketing are doing everything they can to cement the dominion of the mobile phone. There are addictive quizzes you can win to earn a few bucks, to say nothing of streaming videos and playing your favourite music. Advertisements reach you through your phone, and some of them are so spot-on that you are overwhelmed by how well these guys know you. You can turn on sleep music on your phone at bed-time. You can use apps to help you concentrate. Even attempting to wean from this frightfully useful device seems like a foolish venture.
I don’t claim to be an outcast who lives away from the realm where mobile phones dominate every aspect of life. I carry my phone wherever I go and look into it more often than I care to admit. But I find it upsets more than just my eyes. I dislike how phones vie for our attention over everything that used to be beautiful and untouched, like a favourite film, the stars reflected in the eyes of a loved one, or time spent comforting an infant with teddy bears and rattles.
Like the mythical land of Atlantis, that time when phones were used only for calling people is buried under the ocean. If I try to unearth it, I will also dig up entire bucketfuls of debris, obsolete technology, strange stares from strangers, and allegations of being “too old school for your own good”. The Dominion, it seems for now, is here to stay.