Living in a technology crazed world, you are forced to convert your mind and body religion to ‘Gadgetism’ – a word I came up after experiencing a technology-induced trouble phase. Gadgetism is simply the need to rely on a gadget 24/7. When affected by this disease, humans get mini heart attacks by thinking they lost their gadget rather than getting mini heart attacks due to normal causes such as stress.
Call it lucky or unlucky, I lost my lovely smartphone recently and had to go back to the Middle Ages and use a basic phone. Now before you mention the unquestionable ability of a basic phone to never break or stop working, let me remind about another cool advantage of it. It has a flashlight – something that you never ever need if you live in a developed city but think about all the lost hikers who need one around the world. And of course its never dying battery because all it has is buttons and a flashlight.
After spending more than 7 days without a smartphone, here is how my world changed. Whether it was for good or bad, I truly loved/hated the experience and honestly hope it happens to every smartphone obsessed human on this planet at least once.
Allow me to push you in the tiny yet deep pond of my findings of a life without a smartphone:
1. Trust Issues
The first and the foremost issue that you have to face after losing a smartphone is – trusting other sources. I do not know about others but, most people I know and I, myself rely on my phone when it comes to checking the time (all around the world) and weather forecast. I had to turn to Google for weather information for the first time and had to face a rainy storm in my summer clothes because it deceivingly said it would be sunny. Without a cellphone, you would start using your old dusty watch but keep asking the people around you because it just does not sound like the correct time. You simply do not know what online or physical source to rely on for basic things because your gullible mind is dependent on various tiny apps.
2. Loneliness Everywhere
Sigh. One thing that stabs you every waking moment is the silence in your room. There is no melodious alarm sounds waking you up in the morning, no beeping sounds of your reminders and most importantly, no notifications of messages or calls. As if your ears were not barren enough, your hands unconsciously search for your smartphone in the blankets or under the pillow just so that you can take a peek at the missed news feed on Facebook or Instagram. That feeling of total isolation acts as a wake up call. If you go through that my friend, you definitely need a break from your phone because you are way too attached to the technology side of life.
3. New Faces
Losing my smartphone opened my eyes to a whole new world of what I like to call – Real time FaceTiming. Instead of sticking your face into the phone screen, you actually look up, around, and see new beautiful faces around you. You meet new people, converse, make memories and curse yourself for not socialising as much as you did when you were a kid. It is also a fantastic way to find your true love. Look around; fall in love at first sight with a real person instead of swiping right on dating apps. Next time you are at a public space such as bus stops or the rail station, put your phone away, look up and be a part of a communicative crowd – trust me you will love it.
4. Worthy Friends
You want to know who your true friends are? Lose your phone for a week. As simple as that. If a friend wants to contact or talk to you, he/she would make an effort without all those endless social networking apps. He/she will come visit you, call you, try to contact you, and even cook you a meal to make you smile. This should be a classic way to test friendship. You may have a thousand friends on Facebook, Whatsapp, etc, but how many out of a thousand will try to contact you – that is the real test.
5. Selfie Cleansing
The classic selfie craze! The selfie craze originated a few years ago and has given birth to displeasing poses such as the ‘Duck Face’. If you own a smartphone, you are bound to take atleast a few selfies every few weeks. Don’t you dare deny it because you can never lie to yourself. After losing my smartphone, I was deprived of taking selfies and realized how many I did take when I had my phone with me. Apps such as Snapchat make you a selfie monster and you realize that once you stop using it. I started looking at myself more in the actual mirror or in the eyes of other people than on a phone screen.
6. Rekindling with hobbies
Without a gadget present in my hand, I started to rekindle with my hobbies such as reading, watching movies and most importantly, writing. I forgot how amazing a touch of an actual book felt in my hands and how important it is to merge yourself with your surroundings. I even started looking down on people who constantly text and advised them to communicate more with people present next to them. Even though you have that disappointing feeling of not being able to do your sasks through apps, you realise you do not really need an app to do your daily tasks. You get the perfect opportunity to go the Gym with a friend rather than asking an app how many calories you have lost all alone.
No matter how much pain and loneliness you go through after losing your smartphone, at the end of the day it is only a piece of gadget. It is funny how people do not realise how attached they become to technology and how technology slowly takes over their lives. Living in a world where texting is prioritised more than face to face communication, it is important to keep your feet on the ground and maintain your true personality outside of the world of a smartphone.
Khyati Rajvanshi is a Communication, Media and Culture with Film Studies student (BA Honours) at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, United Kingdom.