The mobile hypnosis

So the other day I read a headline in a newspaper, a headline that I had half guessed I might read someday. ‘San Francisco Train Passengers Too Distracted By Phones To Notice Shooter’s Gun In Plain Sight’ the headline read. A young person was murdered, rather shot dead, in a train coach that had a dozen people who were too engrossed in their cell phones’ to notice the blood on the floor.(

While travelling with friends in train coaches/buses that have so many commuters immersed in their phones, I have so often, with the air of a this-generation-is-so-stoopid spewing old uncle, pointed out and bemoaned this habit of people being engrossed in their cell phones completely. They seem to be transported to some different world that amongst other things has subways to surf and candies to crush.

At times, I am tempted to join in the disdainful expressions of fellow travelers, who contort their faces in disapproving looks at the sight of a commuter smile to his mobile phone and look all coy, somehow hypnotized by it. Someone could pull out the ground beneath his feet, but this dude will not slip out of his communication epiphany.

While initially I was on the self righteous pedestal, I later realized a lot these guys are commuters travelling the same distance everyday and while I still was not a fanboy, but I was no longer a member of the disdainful contortionists. And then breaking bad happened to me – literally and metaphorically – and I found myself watching it on my mobile while travelling thereby traversing to the other side of this mobile besotted spectrum. But then thankfully, I keep moving up and down the spectrum and ensure my feet are firmly placed on the firmament, lest someone pull it off.

So I tried of find out what exactly did I dislike about it, I mean there were no obvious reasons apart from maybe realizing 15 minutes later that you co commuter has journeyed to the other world. The main reason I think is I somehow associate it with some kind of robotic monotony, like somehow you are missing out on the world around, some sort of disconnect with the actual world. Like you work, sleep, eat, and the time you could have for yourself, you program yourself to spend with your mobile phone.

But those that I think deserve a special place in hell along with those who send stupid candy crush invites – I hope some who have sent me the invites are reading this- are those who go out for a picnic, someplace they may or may not return, but would still be engrossed in their mobiles all the time. My problem is with the last three words.

Another slightly unrelated and admittedly romanticized thing that makes me uneasy is how unbridled use of mobiles has killed the fine art of waiting. I sometimes fear what I would do if I had to wait for over half an hour and do not have articles to read online or check my twitter feed. It almost seems like another era when people did not have mobile phones and you could not call a friend to ask where he/she was. (However considering the punctuality standards of some friends, I may be able to live with the unease.)

So the other day, while I was waiting at a railway station for a friend for like 15 minutes, I thought let me put my money where my mouth is. So I resisted the urge to pull out my mobile phone and just sat and looked around. And by the end of 15 minutes just before the friend arrived, I thought, what the heck, I can blog about this.


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