Monday, August 22, 2016

Digital Disease in Devlok !

Observing my fellow human beings in Devlok (isn’t what is at 30,000 feet is Devlok!) is one of my favourite pastimes. 
Thank God there is still solitude at 30,000 feet in most of the airlines.

Cramped in a bus that flies with no internet and limited legroom, it is a fantastic human observatory.

In a Patna-Delhi flight today, I had a charming young woman and mid-aged man sit next to me.
Wearing a very Lakhnawi fragrance the girl (Ms.X) appeared to be an employee of a software MNC. I wonder why people wear their RF-id cards around their next in metro, flights and train (and more on that some other day). The gentle man (Mr.Y) had a hand bag ( which I have traditionally seen babus for carrying a small lunchbox, stationery and other sundry items. I guess he works for government and might have been travelling for work. Or he may be on his visit to Delh for an RTI related case.

After the announcements - and after gaining altitude, as we settled in - I tried striking a conversation with Mr. Y - and see if my differential diagnosis on his career was correct. Bingo! he indeed was visiting Delhi for responding to an RTI case. I even asked him - can’t this be done on Skype ? Or maybe the government should invest in creating a simple, secure app for official communications ?

He shrugged! Ho to salta hai. Sab digital ho gaya hai - pehle ghadi aur ab jindagi. Pata nahi retire karne tak kya hoga!
(It is possible. Everything is digital now. It started form digital watches and now everything appears to be digital! I don’t know what will happen by the time I retire.)

The girl next to me seemed very disinterested in our conversation.

And them came the best silencer on the aircraft - the meal service. So after 25 minutes of chewing deep-fried ‘pakoras’ and semi-cooked paneer - I was ruing the poor match I had. I wish I had more talkative neighbours. A 100 minute flight would have been more bearable.

And then I suddenly realised that while my neighbours were silent - they were actually craving for a conversation.
Before you label me delusional on this - let me explain.

After every 10 minutes both Ms. X & Mr. Y were trying the phones on and clicking on it. And that was a pretty repeatitipve act.
Curious about what apps triggered this - I decided to stretch the boundaries of  gentlemanly behaviour and peep into their screens.
I told myself - I am making and observation and I as long as I don’t look at what is private I am not breaking any ethical code.

So I kept looking at their actions on the disconnected and cold block on glass and metal. 
Ms. X had an iPhone 6 (or 6S) and Mr. Y had a plasticky Galaxy. They both kept opening their WhatsApp. Ms.X kept opening the blue icon of Facebook infrequently. For those 75 minutes it seemed that they both were subconsciously programmed to turn their phone on, swipe and click. I guess both are smart - they know there is no internet, and yet they kept opening these apps - in a clockwork of clicks. I know there must be a name for this disease. I hope it will make to ICD 12 !

That is how Digital Disease is in Devlok.