It's a typical weekday evening, and all of us are at the dinner table. Well almost... cause granny is on the sofa with her plate, watching her favourite serial, my son Tanmoy is on his laptop, headphones on, gaming away. Daddy dear is on the smartphone working out some details of the following days work. I scream at Tanmoy so he can hear that food is getting cold and he shouts back over the blaring of his headphones that he will have it, so "..don't worry mom". I look around exasperated and choose to go and sit by my mother-in-law on the sofa to check the latest posting on the whatsapp friends group. All in the same room, but worlds apart.
How many of you could actually see your household while reading this bit. I wouldn't be surprised that almost all of you. And that's the pity of the situation. Technology, as much as it has given us, it has taken away much more. While it is indeed difficult to imagine a life without the convenience of instant connectivity across continents, it is seemingly becoming more and more difficult to connect to people and family members across dinner tables. The sacrosanct time, when all the scattered members of the family got together at the end of the day and shared the happenings and the sweet nothings of the day, has long lost. People find it simpler to connect to strangers over networking sites and feel it almost obligatory to 'like' the posts, yet they fail to notice the gestures and efforts the near and dear ones take to make lives of the loved ones convenient.
But who is to blame for all this. It did not happen overnite. The transition from a 'happy... jolly... talkative... family unit' to a 'scattered... plugged in... out of time... family unit' happened because of some of our own inabilities. Our inability to disconnect from the outside world. Our inability to prioritise and commit dedicated time to our commitments. While we are at work, we steal time to chat with friends and so often when at home, we choose to catch up with work collegues. We also carry work home. Our longings to be connected with old friends make us isolate our loved ones. No harm you would say, until the time when your expectation from your kids and other members to pay attention to you, fall on deaf years. Suddenly you see that the techno-device addiction has spread like a virus in the household and is now eating away into your relationships. Family members have become less expressive of their feelings. Sometimes even confused of their feelings.
Here's the thing. When you were busy getting engaged in lengthy chats with those far-away friends or work collegues, your child waited and waited to have his turn to talk to you. Overtime the message was clear, "...later". As age-old wisdom tells us, children imitate the grown-ups around them. And more so the ones they idolise. And that is where they learnt to disconnect, because if it's okay for mom and dad, then I'm sure it's okay for me too.
Moderation is the call of the hour! Let's wake up before it's too late. It's time we grown-ups set down our own hi-tech devices and give our home it's due importance when at home, before demanding it of our kids. It is we who have to get dis-enchanted from this virtual world and come back to the real world. Because this is where our love and the loved ones are. Let us do the right thing and set the equation right. Respect your time with your family, and others will respect it too. Meet organically. Socialise in the real world. Unplug intentionally. Redeem relations. Celebrate life!!