There was a time when friends used to sit by the side of the Ganges in Allahabad and reflect on the mesmerising magic of the sunset wondering at the master painter who created that awesome and enthralling panorama in the firmament. But a group of young friends at the same riverbank today will be busier with their respective mobiles either chatting with some other friend or worse, playing some game on the mobile. They do not have the time to wonder at the majestic movement of the sun or thrill at the song of the birds returning to their nest.
The mobile revolution swept India at the beginning of the twenty- first century. The creme de la creme of society were already using it by the late 1990s but the hoi polloi got addicted to it around 2001- 02 when the market pitched it as the common man’s necessity. Initially, one had to pay even for incoming calls but soon private service providers got involved in a ferocious competition to capture the market. As a result, each company started slashing the prices of the mobile services. Incoming charges became extinct, and outgoing calls keep getting cheaper.
Again, since both the private and the government sectors are bent on making India a superpower in the world of IT-enabled communication, the customer is definitely the king. So the mobile is developing as a multi-purpose product. A standard mobile today would be expected to have everything from Internet facilities to FM radio connection.
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Things begin to go wrong only when people take their adoration for the mobile too far and get addicted to it. So you have people who are busy chatting with someone else or even surfing the Net right in the presence of other friends. Is this socialising? You are actually neglecting friends in your immediate vicinity betraying a severe lack of social graces.
Moreover, we tend to chat with a friend every now and then on the mobile instead of visiting him on a regular basis as we did a decade back. There are also times when the presence of camera mobiles around us make us extremely self-conscious because making a mockery out of a person’s private moments and dignity has never been easier.
The mobile is not an unmixed blessing and has to be used judiciously. To stop it from becoming a menace, we should learn to respect people’s privacy during social interactions and know when to switch the mobile off.