“Ok, the internet is down. Let me browse through the WhatsApp videos and images.” An internal thought I have whenever the Wi-fi dies on me. When I left home for the new place about a few months ago, my idea was to read all those books that were untouched by my hands or eyes. They were all securely packed and delivered here to be made use of but it seemed as if the internet had other purposes for me. I did touch the books and gave them a different seat from the table to the bed and then back to the table. This was happening every evening and morning with no pages getting creased or the reader in me growing from it. I was always wired or in other words wirelessly-wired. It was youtube to Instagram to LinkedIn to WordPress to an innumerable list of websites where I scrolled through, heard from or gave the utmost exercise to my eyes with all the staring. It felt as if my fingers slimmed down from all the intense scrolling sessions. Nobody was to blame, but me.
Visual media was getting to control my day in and day out when books and articles were completely ignored making me have a writer’s block whenever I started jotting down something. Then suddenly last evening, all skies broke loose here and there was heavy rain and wind. All networks were shut down, which included my wi-fi provider. I was in the middle of watching an old Malayalam movie which just happened to pop into my mind. It was fun, full of classic comedy dialogues and innocent romance which involved the two families that lay a lot different in their financial statuses. The hero was sealed mentally unstable by everyone including his family and the love of his life when the green light on my wifi modem turned red. Ugghhh!! I was irritated to the core. It was an evening of rest since I had completed all the tasks for the day. Nothing was left to be done, I thought to myself, it was raining outside making it an evening bound to the four-walled room. Then it snapped in me, let me take a bath.
Bathing was a multi-layered ritual for me, taking the decision, getting into the bathroom, sitting on the loo for some quality time continuing the same pleasure of exercising my eyes with visual content and finally getting to the actual process of getting wet and cleansing myself. Yesterday, also I took the mobile and sat on the loo with the utmost comfort, but Youtube lay dead in front of my eyes, white as snow with all the crimson lost. I was partially disappointed but thanks to auto download in WhatsApp that few videos which were sent to our family group were there in my gallery. I started scrolling through the folders and sat there for a comparatively lesser amount of time. Then got to take bath. As the water fell onto my head, it seemed as if one of the lately unused senses was wet and activated. I suddenly thought about the books that are sitting under the table.
I had things to do, something which was entertaining and informative all at the same time. Why had I forgotten that old habit of immersing myself into a book and being that girl with new thoughts for every day? Why was I not interested in the feeling of touching a page and reading through the lines that were going to transform within my thoughts and make me picture all the words in my mind? I had a conscience prick, there under the shower. I had to re-order my priorities. I had to chart the way my leisure time was to be spent. I had to bring that balance between reading and watching.
Getting to watch ideas is definitely a boon but setting our minds on the process of reading and visualising is an equally important practice. We need to make the growing generation read their fairy tales and not watch them. Parents need to read and sing to them the rhymes rather than just streaming to that channel with nursery songs. They need to feel the touch of the pages in a book and not just the smoothness on the screen of ipads and tablets. They need to walk out in nature see a flower, later use a pencil and sketch it on a paper. They need to be used to move their eyes around the curves and edges of letters and numbers and not watch them take form on the led/LCD panels.
Let’s make it a point to take some time off our gadgets and settling down on quality reading time, every day or night as and when we have a chance. Find that thin line of balance between technology and tradition.