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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Running to Stand Still

Technology has changed the way we live our lives. But instead of making it easy we find ourselves trying to keep in step with technology. As a result we find ourselves constantly on the turn to catch up. With what?

The moment the email takes more than 30 seconds to deliver, we start fuming, cursing the server, the service provider. However, there was a time, not very long ago, when it took 20 minutes to get connected to the net.

Times have changed as most of our routine activities are done in minutes or seconds. We no longer stand in a queue to withdraw money as we have ATMs and online banking. We can spare ourselves from the drudgery of cooking and cleaning up as we have instant food. Home deliveries and microwave; sleeplessness doesn’t bother us for long as we have sleeping pills and more such pills to solve our other problems; we have cell phones to call anywhere in the world; we read the newspapers online look up for words in online dictionaries. Technology has definitely saved so much of time.

However, one wonders with all the time saved owing to technological advancement, has it really slowed down our lives? Rather, the city dweller, surrounded by gadgets, has started imitating the pace at which the technology works. The modern man wants instant gratification. Under the sheer pressure to do more things and quicker, man has sped up the pace of life. He tries to fit in all his activities into twenty-four hours a day and compromises on his sleep. There is no time to relax. Every task is done hurriedly. And people’s mode of entertainment has become restricted to sitting in front of the TV, surfing on internet, messaging on cell phone, watching movies and eating out.

American poet William Davie’s poem “Leisure” aptly describes the lifestyle of city dwellers.

What is this life if, full of core,
We have no time to stand and stare,
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows
When self-worth is measured by not looking inward but at friends, friend’s friend, colleagues and neighbours, we rarely settle for what is good for us. One wants to achieve more and more irrespective of whether one needs it and can achieve it. We want to take up all the responsibilities and worries on our shoulders. Do you remember the last time you put all your worries to God? Important factor is to enjoy what we do. If one enjoys working 12 hours a day or commuting four hours a day or working seven days a week, it’s fine. But, the moment we try to make ourselves adjust to something we have doing, it starts taking a roll on our emotional, mental and physical health. In my previous workplace, there were two managers. Their workload and work pressure were almost same. However, I always saw a getting restless, lighting up and screaming. I rarely saw her smiling. Contrarily, I always saw a smile on B’s face. A would spend most of the time yelling at her team members and B would discuss things with her team members in a friendly manner.

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