BEHOLD THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

This morning something strange happened. It shook me to the core and forced me to hide under the covers for a very long time until the episode repeated in my own room and threw me into a blue funk.

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Donning my new walking shoes that I vowed to use till they wear off, I set out on the trail around the many blocks of the apartment complex I was staying at. Although I start out fast, I usually begin to slow down as the surroundings come alive with hollers of playing children and screams of tantrum-throwing toddlers. But nothing of that sort happened. The evening climate was perfect, the lighting was good, and I was waiting; yet, not one human came into fore.

During my third round towards the playground, I got exasperated and turned my eyes towards the bench in the shade and saw a boy hunched over. He wasn’t moving. My curiosity propelled me to explore.

I slowly walked in his direction and noticed that there were two more kids—one boy and a girl—seated by his side, stooping in the same way. Then when I moved my eyes towards the figures standing behind, my heart dropped to my feet. There were two ladies, probably the kids’ mothers, standing in the same position. I decided to investigate and moved closer.

‘Um, hello,’ I said, hesitatingly.

No movement.

I cleared my throat and tried again.

‘Hey!’ I wrung my fingers in nervousness.

Five angry faces turned to face me and I scrambled from the spot like lightning.

I went in to find the room where I was staying with my cousins empty (for the sake of anonymity I’m gonna use only cousins in this article). I hopped on the bed and draped the blanket around my body like a mummy, trembling underneath.

The bathroom door clicked and I was relieved that I would have someone to share my horror story with.

Out came another stooped figure mechanically gliding on the floor like a spectre. The scream that came out of my mouth thereupon shook the whole building and virtually split my eardrums.

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It’s not a virus. It’s not a parasite. It’s a small contraption that has been made by humans and is controlling their brains now.

Here is the device that’s guilty of starting a pandemic.

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We all carry smartphones these days. We can’t imagine a day without the device let alone our lives.

But we have let the machines control our entity to such an extent that we have become the living dead—drifting away aimlessly, eyes on the screen; hands holding the shiny glass instead of being entangled with the partner’s fingers; mind pondering about the next message to type to a friend staying 5000 miles away rather than concentrating on the conversation happening with the person who is two feet away.

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Phone zombies have become so rampant that I’m scared to step out or even stay in for that matter.

Cousin 1 sits on the chair holding the phone attached to its charger. Can’t afford to lose a second even if there’s a possibility of the battery heating up like a volcano, thereby destroying the phone.

Cousin 2 walks back and forth from the charging point like I do an emergency walk from the bathroom and the couch when the former is occupied. Charging your cell phone a hundred times would only deplete the battery, you moron!  

Cousin 3 forgets manners and courtesy when at relatives’ place and checks Facebook notifications. In the end, all you’ll be left with are virtual friends.

Cousin 4 barks like a rabid dog when you disturb him/her while chatting in the whatsapp group. Bite me!

The means of an end to this apocalypse is literally in our hands. We just need to realize it before it’s too late.

Drop the phone. Prop your face.

 

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WORLD WITHOUT SMARTPHONES

World without smartphones would be civil, gracious and perhaps more tangible. I could actually kiss a person as opposed to sending him/her a “Face throwing a kiss” emoticon.

Gone were the days when we would discuss a meeting place with friends over a simple, basic phone and travel miles of distance to gather there for a plate of pani puri or pav bhaji, since it has gotten so much easier with chat groups and video calling.

Imagine a world without smartphones, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram . . . Imagine a world where you could meet people in flesh instead of online. Imagine a world where you could focus on eating rather than clicking pretty pictures of the food on the table. Imagine a world where people don’t disregard etiquette for Facebook updates and whatsapp status. In short, imagine a world where people would freaking heed you instead of snubbing you for that piece of shitty electronic gadget.

So, here I am at a cafe meeting up with an old friend of mine, on her insistence. Honestly, I have better things to do—like watching T.V, lazing over my bed or snooping over neighbours (kidding!). But I came here out of benevolence because I’m a courteous girl, who values people more than objects.

The girl, let’s call her Ms. Snub, because she did just that. SNUBBED ME!!! Ms. Snub arrives wearing a crop top, flaunting her washboard abs, and ripped jeans. She throws come-hither looks at anyone who notices, even the waiter. I begin to get a feeling that she called me to show off her transformation from a flabby teenager to a sexy woman.

To tell you the truth, I wasn’t annoyed by any of that. We exchanged pleasantries, ordered our lattes and I started speaking with her body. Yes, that’s right. Her body. Because her mind was elsewhere and her eyes were over the screen of her smartphone. I thought my voice would stir her but nah. She didn’t so much as bat her eyelashes and I wondered if she was playing the game of Statues.

‘I think the latte’s getting cold,’ I said finally and that managed to gain her attention. Not me but the latte got her to channel her eyes back at me.

‘Oops! So, what’re you doing these days?’ she said as she guzzled down the now cold coffee in one gulp.

‘Uh, I am taking these classes on . . .’ and her focus was back to the gizmo.

Listen, you little snobby moron! I came here on your bidding. I came here for a chat not to gush over your intense makeover if that’s what you’re expecting from me. So heed me or I’m gonna rip that head off your Barbie doll neck.

Oh, that was just me fantasising. It was too tempting to put it into action but no. Because I’m plagued by this disease called manners.

So, I simply and as genteelly as possible say, ‘Um, hey, Snub, why don’t you and your phone bugger off while I go and do something useful.’

Hey, I said I’m plagued by a disease called manners, not tolerance.

Anyway, it makes me wonder why people think it’s okay to engage themselves in virtual conversations when there’s a person you could have a real conversation with sitting right in front of you, flailing their hands to catch your eye. Why?

It’s super offensive and borderline derogatory. But how do we deal with this madness?

I just wish I could arrange a worldwide intervention and holler at all the frenzied smartphone addicts saying, ‘Heya’ll! So here’s a tidbit. The person you are shunning right now, the one seated beside you, you’d take that place if you keep doing this. Imagine that!’

I agree that we need to keep in touch with our family, friends, and relatives who are not close by. But not at the cost of the person living with us or the one who comes just to see us. It doesn’t look pretty to see your partner pacing all around with a mobile in his hand and fingers always on the move over the screen.

Without smartphones, life might become tedious, monotonous and possibly create distance between people. But, at least it would give us undivided attention and I don’t think I’m being selfish in that respect. I’m certainly not an anti-smartphone evangelist but I do follow the protocol of “eyes on the face” when someone’s conversing with me or vice versa. And I believe it’s not unfair to expect the same.

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