In a recent post on my blog Techn0Treats, I wrote, ‘These days people spend more time looking at the screens of television, computer and mobiles etc, than at each other. Computers and mobiles have almost become an essential need for life sustenance. And proper digestion of food is not possible for most people now unless the intake of food is accompanied by a proper dose of Television.’
Well, if I look at myself, I am no different. But, recently, someone’s post on Facebook made me look back, fondly, to the days when television used to be a luxury, and not a necessity. Now, TV is one of the major reasons for reduced social interactions (offline, that is) between neighbours and family. But when TV had arrived in India, it actually brought people closer together and became the reasons for almost daily neighbourhood gatherings.
When I look back at my first TV viewing, I remember that in our entire block there was only one home that could afford a television. It was only a small, Black and White set. But it was precious enough to be safeguarded within a wooden case, with sliding doors. I loved watching even those sliding doors! Maybe because, being a kid, I was not allowed to touch them.
Those days, almost the entire neighbourhood kept vigil at the wall clock, waiting for the time of popular shows like Chitrahaar etc. And at appropriate times, we all used to head towards that one home that had the TV. We always found the doors open in welcome and the floor decked with mattresses to accommodate all visitors. And there the neighbourhood stayed crowding till the show was over.
But soon, television entered every home and such gatherings came to an end.
I remember when we bought our first television, I and my sister loved it so much that we even watched agricultural shows like Krishi Darshan! Those days almost seem to belong not just to a different time, but to a different world altogether.
While a small TV costing a few thousand was considered a luxury once, we now have wall length Ultra High Definition televisions costing lacks, and there are people who have already started thinking them a necessity for their life style.
And instead of gathering together in one home to watch one single channel, we now have numerous channels (although, most of the shows are getting less and less watchable, if you ask me, with all their turning and twisting of basic logic and common sense). And people are no longer bound to watch the same show on one single TV set. Even in one single home people watch different shows on different devices like computers, tablets and smartphones. People are free to watch what they want, where they want, and when they want.
But you know what? The fact of life is that the more personal freedom we acquire, the lonelier we get. Maybe that’s why, despite all the talk about technology shortening the distances and bringing us closer, and despite the rapid expanse of online social networks, and despite I being an ardent devotee of technology (I love my gadgets!), it still seems to me that we are just getting lonelier and lonelier.
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