Am I smarter than my smart phone?

by Sahadev Komaragiri


My first smart phone was a blackberry. That was back in 2008. I felt like I was the most tech savvy guy around the town. Its notification sound was musical to my ears. Slowly it became annoying, especially when it made that sound in the middle of the night and that dumb flickering blue light would not go away until I checked that damn email. I lived with such annoyances. I told myself that there is a cost to be paid for remaining tech savvy. Slowly my phone became the most important appendage of my body. It was always on and I never let down any notification without being attended to on a priority basis.

With my mobile phone, well until a month ago, I used WhatsApp, Facebook, GMail, YMail, Blogs and news sites that I follow, and a number of other Apps like OneNote, Swiggy, Uber, and SBI. Oh, when time permits I used it make or receive phone calls. Well that was until recently. One day I felt like if I was taken over by an overwhelmingly strong bout of common sense.

It was on a fine evening when I was with a doctor. He was barely listening to what I was saying. He was constantly checking his messages, smiling smugly and getting back to me with one more obligatory question and going back to his messages. He was not always like that. But that one time he appeared to be the ugliest guy still alive.

The next morning I found that guy in my own mirror! I realized that I too was checking my messages – during a traffic light stop, during lunch with my better half, when there are friends and relatives around(some of them were doing the same too), while watching a movie, at parties, in the temples, while working, in the meetings and even in the middle of the night! My God, I must be one crazy digitomaniac.

The changes that followed from that day did not come to me easily and in one fell swoop. It dawned on me gradually and in small installments. Finally enough is enough is what I told myself. To secure my freedom from my phone I took a series of steps, slowly and steadily.

  • To check my digital angst, I started disabling my WiFi connection on my phone for a few hours every day. This strategy did not work for too long.
  • I started disabling my data connection on my phone. I now enable it only when needed. This worked to some extent, but I was not too happy. A series of bigger steps is the need of the hour!
  • A few months back I dropped out of a dozen WhatsApp groups. In one particular group there were as many as 250 messages early in the morning although I cleared over a 100 messages the previous night. That was the first group to go.
  • There were many groups to which I was not making any contribution nor am I learning anything new. All such groups had to be out of my life!
  • My WhatsApp status now reads “Please DO NOT ADD me to any GROUPS WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. Thanks”. I felt overwhelmed when a person sent me a personal note requesting if I can be added to a group. People do respect your sentiments.
  • A couple of weeks back I switched over to WhatsApp on web. I now use WhatsApp only on my laptop and very rarely on my phone. It was a big change and it’s been working very well so far.
  • Two weeks back I uninstalled Facebook, GMail, and YMail. All emails and facebook updates have to wait until I get back to my laptop. This was by far the biggest change. I now kick myself occasionally for not doing it earlier!
  • Our WiFi router these days is on only when needed i.e. when I am in front of my computer or there is a much required use for it. Otherwise it is off. It is definitely off in the nights.
  • The mobile apps that I use regularly such as Uber and Swiggy are still used on a per need basis. I now make it a point to promptly disable notifications on any new app that I install.

After all such changes like would have been suddenly too chaotic. Good news. My life is still beautiful and to this day there is no serious psychological malfunction, there are no withdrawal symptoms, and there are no visible signs of social/digital backwardness. My friends and colleagues will slowly get used to the fact that I may not respond to their messages on WhatsApp and facebook in a timely manner. If it is important and urgent I would rather have a nice heart to heart talk!

I noticed a downside though. These days I have to search for my phone when I need it. Sometimes I forget to take my phone with me when I leave home. It happened twice in the last one week. I am now learning to leave my phone and my car keys at the same place. You see there is a place for everything and everything should be in its place! 🙂

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Learner of Life July 11, 2016 at 8:14 am

Totally agree !!! Loved the last line !


Abbi July 13, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Very glad sir and very happy to read your posts again in the blog… Mani-pushpak has been blown again 🙂 Request you to keep inspiring and please do share more.


Panduranga Rao July 15, 2016 at 10:22 am

Well highlighted challenge faced by all smartphone owners with Data Plan. Happy to read your blog after many days . Please keep writing more frequently ?

– Rao


Sahadev Komaragiri July 15, 2016 at 10:23 pm

Thank you sir!


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