I started using cell phone from 2002, i.e. after complete 6 years of Indian entry. I never felt the need of that, even though I was engaged in many photographic assignments. I also don’t quite recall that I had any problems in contacting people, or people contacting me before I started using cell.
Now the big question, whether my life is faster than it was pre 2002?
I seriously started seeing a girl from 1990, and, I was still in my junior school. So was she, but in a different school. Suppose her name in Annie (Annie’s Song is one of my favourite song). We used to meet once or twice in a month, in planned manner. Till 2007, I was in Jadavpur Uiversity, and our frequency of meeting enhanced. I was really busy in things like photography, music, rock climbing, college fest, and yes studying mechanical engineering. We used to meet in JU, Gariahat Anandamela (a famous meeting point of 90’s, before the mall culture ushered here), Nandan, different Metro stations, and etc etc. Till 2001, I really do not remember any occasion, that we did not meet on time. Annie always used to praise me for my compliance to time, despite my super busy schedule and various kinds of commitments. I remember, in 1997, we were returning from 8B bus stand, walking towards our home, and one gentleman was speaking quite loudly while travelling in a Rickshaw. Both of us screamed, “see…….. that’s a mobile phone”. It was a thing to us. However, we also never felt down or frustrated, that we don’t have one.
The next phase of my life with my second girlfriend was even interesting. The first part of the period was me, my cycle, public transport or office pull car, my work, my music and my photography. And the second phase was the same, minus office car, public transport, and plus mobile, my new Maruti 800 car, and my new Yamaha bike.
My commitment towards keeping time was intact during entire first phase, when I am dependant on persons driving me. However, the next phase was really a transformation. As I told earlier, I had many friends and many many commitments to keep. And I used to plan like that. Tannie, accepted, and loved that busy Swing, and always supported to convert my various dreams into realities. During this period I also left my first job of Alstom after a long 6 years for photography.
I started calling Tannie using my mobile, that, I will be late by 15 minutes today. Well that was the start, and that was the start of using a contemporary tool called mobile. Earlier, meeting people for keeping various commitments was planned, but this planning evaporated from my life with the introduction of mobile. I also do not remember any occasion of meeting someone, where I was always on time. The time allocated for Tannie started reducing.
When we parted, she told me, “Swing, we were much better without our car and mobile. I have lost the person, whom I loved; you are not the very same Swing”. In between she also taught me “how to say no”, probably my biggest and most important learning till date.
Can we ever think not to confirm a planned meet, using our mobile, just before meeting? Can we just even think to visit out near and dear ones without giving a call to them? No, we can’t.
Mobile has changed our value system. Mobile has changed our personal commitment plan. And most important, mobile has made our life slower.