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ashokbhatia

I extended my hand from under the blanket, and rang the bell for Jeeves. Promptly, he shimmered in, with one of hisPGW HughLaurie-BertieWooster pick-me-ups on a silver salver.

‘Good evening, Jeeves.’

‘Good morning, sir.’

‘Is it morning?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘But it seems pretty gloomy and dark outside,’ I said.

‘Winter is already upon us, sir. In the depth of winter, we learn that within us lies an invincible summer, sir.’

‘Shakespeare, Jeeves?’

‘Albert Camus, sir.’

I sipped the tissue restorative in a mood of quiet repose.

‘Well, what goes on in the great world?’

‘There are several messages for you on WhatsApp, sir. On Facebook, you have messages from Mr. Gussie Fink-Nottle, Ms. Florence Craye and Ms. Stiffy Byng. Aunt Dahlia wants to chat with you over Skype. A blogger oninternet image 1 WordPress desires to have an audience with you. On LinkedIn, Sir Watkyn Bassett wishes to connect with you. Several tweets…

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I extended my hand from under the blanket, and rang the bell for Jeeves. Promptly, he shimmered in, with one of hisPGW HughLaurie-BertieWooster pick-me-ups on a silver salver.

‘Good evening, Jeeves.’

‘Good morning, sir.’

‘Is it morning?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘But it seems pretty gloomy and dark outside,’ I said.

‘Winter is already upon us, sir. In the depth of winter, we learn that within us lies an invincible summer, sir.’

‘Shakespeare, Jeeves?’

‘Albert Camus, sir.’

I sipped the tissue restorative in a mood of quiet repose.

‘Well, what goes on in the great world?’

‘There are several messages for you on WhatsApp, sir. On Facebook, you have messages from Mr. Gussie Fink-Nottle, Ms. Florence Craye and Ms. Stiffy Byng. Aunt Dahlia wants to chat with you over Skype. A blogger oninternet image 1 WordPress desires to have an audience with you. On LinkedIn, Sir Watkyn Bassett wishes to connect with you. Several tweets await your attention. Also, there are some other items which might interest you on Reddit, Digg and Pinterest, sir.’

I shuddered at the prospect of having to brave the world at such an early hour.

‘Jeeves, I have somehow come to despise this extra dose of, what do you call it, something sounding like gravity?’

‘Perhaps you allude to the term connectivity, sir?’

‘Absolutely. Both have the same pull for all of us these days. You know, this intricate world-wide-web we have woven around ourselves? The world was such a quieter place when this was not there. To avoid aunts, all one had to do was to sprint across the Atlantic. Now, one gets chased all over the planet. Civilization’s foundations are quivering. Something ought to be done about it.’

‘But you may wish to consider that it has also made life much simpler, sir.’

‘Faugh! Earlier, I could saunter across to the telephone in the hall in my bath robe and mauve pajamas to hobnobSkype_logo with the aged relative. Now, I have to worry about the dark circles below my eyes and the dress I am wearing before saying tally-ho to her over Skype.’

‘This does present some challenges, sir.’

‘And how could anything be called Twitter? I thought only birds indulge in that pastime. Don’t we have any birds’ Twitter_bird_logoassociations? Would one of those not like to raise the issue of a serious infringement of birds’ intellectual rights?’

‘I believe the contingency is a remote one, sir.’

‘Consider Google. It has too much of information, making it difficult to chug along in life. One, it is no longer easy to pinch umbrellas. Those carrying umbrellas on their shopping sprees often keep a tab on my location and do the vanishing act whenever I happen to be in the vicinity. Two, it has reduced whatever little thinking I was earlier able to do on my own. I once told Stiffy Byng how I was much superior to Gussie Fink-Nottle when it came to being pumpkin-headed. Now, thanksGoogle_2013 to Google, I am no longer too sure.’

‘You feel, sir, that you have become mentally more negligible?’

‘Yes. I also shiver at the prospect of a Big Brother prying into my searches and building up an intimate profile of what I like and what I don’t. What has happened to the civilized norms of privacy?’

‘We have to take the good with the bad, sir.’

‘Then think of Facebook. It is high time someone like Roderick Spode spoke to Mark Zuckerberg. He might take a dictator who designs women’s underclothing on the side more seriously. How can one place all one’s friends on the same level of intimacy? Are we not entitled to have few who are really close and intimate, some others who are useful in some way or the other, and all the others who are mere acquaintances?’

‘There is some merit in what you say, sir.’

‘Of course. And why is everyone posting only about the good and positive things happening to them? Do you think I mind posting the number of times I have been nicked for fines or have been jugged into a chokey for thirty days without the option?’

‘Your openness on social media deserves to be heartily applauded, sir. It might interest you to know that some people have formed SPIN – a Society for Prevention of Narcissism on Internet. They wish to see you in person, ostensibly to request you to accept to be the President of the outfit.’Facebook

‘Right, ho. That is how I have preserved my bachelorhood status all these years. After all, who would risk having me as a son-in-law or a nephew? Is that not the reason Justices of the Peace wish to connect with me? They just wish to keep a tab on what I am up to, possibly forewarning police constables in my vicinity to strap their helmets a wee bit tighter.’

‘That is being clever indeed, sir.’

‘‘Yes. Consider all the delicately nurtured ones who shiver at the prospect of taking a saunter down the aisle with me. Still, I have a long list of those wanting to befriend me over Facebook. I wonder why they wish to connect with me. The mind boggles.’

‘Perhaps to capitalize on your generosity, sir? Several times in the past, you have assisted young ladies in getting affianced to the real love of their hearts. You had done so, if you may recall, by first declaring your intentions of marrying the young women yourself. This had left their guardians all-of-a-twitter, much relieved to eventually allow an alliance with the true heart-throb instead.’

‘I am sure my record in such acts of chivalry is beyond reproach. What I resent is the commercialization of all our relationships. Look at LinkedIn. One would like to have a large circle of influence. But to what avail? We end up LinkedIn_Logonetworking only with those who could be used by us to further our own career interests. What we need instead is a platform where we can connect only with those we admire for their sterling qualities of head and heart.’

‘Well said, sir, but you would readily appreciate the difficulties involved. Perhaps there could be better ways to filter out only those who love and admire one and one’s work.’

‘Jeeves, I do think I have one such idea!’

‘Indeed, sir?’

‘I think I should start a blog of my own.’

His left eyebrow went up a quarter of an inch. I braced myself with the old Wooster grit. I persisted.

‘The more I publish my own escapades and my several acts of mercy, the quieter my life would be! In fact, the journal at the Junior Ganymede Club – could that not be serialized to great effect?’WordPress_logo

‘The rules of the club are rather strict, sir.’

I bridled at him.

‘Jeeevs, if you could get the Eulalie stuff on Roderick Spode once, surely this would not be difficult?’

‘I fear, sir-.’

‘OK, I know what you are going to say next,’ said I, waving an imperial hand. ‘Don’t you think having a blog of one’s own helps? Would you know how one starts and develops a blog?’

‘Sir, having had the privilege of assisting an avid blogger earlier, I can say that it is hard work, indeed.’

‘I don’t believe this. Blogging would be like a song and a lark. That is what Bingo Little told me last night at thePinterest_Logo Drones. His wife’s popularity has gone up since she became an active blogger. You just bang on the keyboard whatever you happen to be thinking of at the time. You hit the ‘publish’ button. That is all there is to it.’

‘One also needs to do so regularly, sir. To do this, one has to learn to read with great fervor. One has to keep the interest of the readers in mind. One has to edit a piece thoroughly before deciding to publish it.’

‘Reading? You mean some juicy stuff others keep writing?’

‘Wisdom would dictate that writers of the stature of Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Charles Dickens, Ernest Hemingway, Spindrift and Spinoza could provide regular inspiration, sir.’

‘What? One has to read such blokes just to be able to blog?’

‘A course you would be well advised to pursue, sir.’

‘But that would be tough on the nerves, Jeeves. I remember when Florence had expected me to read some stuff on Reddit_logoTypes of Ethical Theory or whatever. Is there any other procedure one is supposed to follow?’

‘Yes, sir. You most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. The latter implies that there are no free lunches. Blogging is work, with uncertain rewards. And courtesy demands that one promptly replies to all comments coming in, howsoever impolite these might be.’

‘Oh, that does not sound very simple, does it? It would consume a lot of my time, I guess.’

‘Indeed, sir. Blogging needs dedication. It also strains the cerebellum to some extent.’

‘Is there any other requirement?’

‘The place where you write must be one of solitude. It would be advisable to hire a secluded hamlet far away from the temptations of a city life, sir.’

‘Oh, but then we should have no boy scouts prowling around on their acts of mercy in the vicinity, cleaning chimneys and burning cottages.’

‘Yes, sir. One has to minimize the probability of such an occurrence. Allow me also to point out that availability ofMona Lisa connectivity would be a sine qua non.’

‘That would be a disaster. I was not aware that you need to depend on internet to be able to blog. So, if I were to take up blogging, I would end up feeling like someone on whose head all the sorrows of the world had descended. Who was it you had once mentioned, Jeeves?’

‘Perhaps, you allude to the Mona Lisa, sir.’

‘Well, if she calls up now, tell her that I do know just how she feels when confronted with the harsh slings and arrows of life.’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘By the way, Jeeves, what are all these applications I keep hearing of these days? What do people keep applying for?’

‘If I have understood the query correctly, sir, you perhaps refer to some programs specifically developed for smart phones, sir.’

‘And what do these do?’

‘These are used for simplifying some mundane tasks of life, sir. First, we had WhatsApp. Then we had Line and HikeWhatsApp_logo apps. Now, we have Viber which is catching the fancy of the people. I believe there are about 1.3 million Android apps and Apple’s app store hosts 1.2 million of the things. By comparison, Windows has only around 300,000, Amazon 240,000 and Blackberry 130,000 or so, sir. ’

‘The mind boggles, what? But is this not a delightful affirmation of human ingenuity and creativity, Jeeves?’

‘True, sir. But the reality is that while there are indeed some creative programmers producing elegant, witty or ingenious apps, there are also some misleading programs which entrap one for an uncalled for burden on one’s wallet.’

‘Oh, a prospect better avoided, then?’

‘Depends on how one looks at it, sir. Let us say, you wish to replace your Alpine hat with a more suave version. UsingViber-logo some applications on your cell phone, you can sell as well as buy.’

‘But I do not wish to replace my Alpine hat, Jeeves.’

‘Sir, I just sold it using one of the apps on your cell.’

‘What? These smart phones are making me even more dumb. Let us get rid of it right away.’

‘As you say, sir.’

‘Yes. I am just getting fed up with this continuous slavery of today’s technology. All day long, messages keep beeping, giving one no respite. Is there no place left on earth where one could get some rest and repose? What about that World Cruise we were discussing sometime back? Do ships have internet, Jeeves?’PGWodehouse

‘Not necessarily, sir.’

‘So why don’t you book us on a voyage to Antarctica or some such place where one can really live life to the fullest, devoid of all e-distractions and boy scouts? You had better get the tickets tomorrow.’

‘I have already procured them, sir. Before we proceed on our voyage, may I suggest your meeting the representative of SPIN – the Society for Prevention of Internet Narcissism, sir?’

‘Sure! Jeeves, you stand alone.’

‘I merely endeavor to provide satisfaction, sir.’

(Note from Jeeves: Those of you who have enjoyed this line of thought may like to check out https://www.facebook.com/SocPrevInN)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2020/11/23/jeeves-and-the-social-media-challenge

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/bertie-jeeves-and-the-internet-of-things

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-who-is-the-smartest-of-them-all; https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/why-become-a-slave-to-technology)

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Homo sapiens these days have a serious challenge on hand – that of being unable to ‘switch off.’ Connectivity has become omnipresent. Technology rules the mind and, to some extent, the heart. The result is a disconnect with the real world, steady deterioration in the quantum of quality time available with the near and dear ones, burn-outs, fatigue and an early onset of lifestyle related diseases. Increasingly, we appear to be becoming slaves to technology.  

The following antidotes might help those amongst us who happen to be a part of this rapidly growing tribe.

  •  Learning to Unplug: Out of the twenty-four hours we have in a day, we can surely carve out a time niche where we can just be ourselves. Heavens will not fall. Our business, or the companies we work for, would not collapse. If we set our mind to this, we can do it.
  • Renewing Ourselves: Setting aside a time for yoga, meditation, light exercises and simply pursuing aTechnology MEDITATION-ENTREPRENEUR-SUCCEED simple hobby would help. Being connected to the external world – watching TV, for example – would provide only temporary relief. Real relaxation would swell up from inside us – once we start doing something that makes us internally happy.
  • In-sourcing: One thing we cannot outsource to technology is mindfulness – being aware that we are aware of what we are doing and why we are doing it. Attempting an ‘in-sourcing’ of this kind has a great therapeutic effect on our system. Short bouts of meditation or deep breathing achieve precisely this.
  • Being Wiser: Every moment, we are flooded with data. Every day, we face a tsunami of information. Wisdom lies in sifting through this haze and differentiating between the important issues and the urgent ones. Nassin Taleb, author of The Black Swan, says: “Big data may mean more information, but it also means more false information.” Wisdom alone can ensure that we follow a balanced direction in life.
  • Thinking before Wishing: The option to remain connected 24 x 7 and the deluge of information available at the click of a mouse is making us lazy cats which have had an overdose of rich cream. We need to critically evaluate the wish-list of our lives and reset our priorities in a conscious manner. Chasing rainbows is fine, but the real challenge lies in deciding the colors of our individual rainbows.
  • Being Vigilant: Sci-fi spine chillers tumbling out of the Hollywood dream factory project a scary picture forTechnology smart Home_ipadandiphone us. Our lives could soon spin out of our own control. One threat – to our privacy – has already manifested itself. Another looming large on the horizon is that of our smart gadgets going beyond running our homes. These could soon start aspiring, conspiring and colluding to control our lives. Vigilance is highly recommended!

Life is much like a driving experience. The vehicle we drive and the gadgets at our disposal are becoming smarter with each passing year. We are trying to navigate our way on the autobahns of our lives through an enveloping fog of information which becomes denser with each passing milestone.   

The only way out is to have sharper responses, a stronger will power, an intuitive capability to forecast others’ behavior, a higher level of vigilance and a quiet time for ourselves. The bliss of switching off our gadgets and enjoying a real sunset over the lush green fields that whizz past us is simply waiting to be experienced. So is the joy of rolling up the car windows and listening to the soothing strains of a Beethoven symphony wafting out of the music system. As darkness falls, the fog lamps of wisdom enable us to drive our way through life safely and enjoyably.

As our gadgets become smarter, let us not get dumber. Let us not be slaves to technology!

Related post:  https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/mirror-mirror-on-the-wall-who-is-the-smartest-of-them-all

(Images courtesy www)

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