Switching Off

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SummaryWe live in an age of rapid technological advancement.

We live in an age of rapid technological advancement. Barely 60 years after building the first airplane, we succeeded in putting a man on the moon. In our own lifetime, we have witnessed the birth of the internet and in the 30 years of its existence, it has become an indispensable part of our lives. We rely on the World Wide Web for communication, information, entertainment, to shop, work, play and yes, to peruse porn.

The landline telephone is already archaic with the advent of the mobile handset. The extraordinary advances in cellular technology have resulted in the rise of the smart phone, which allows access to a mindboggling number of applications, developed to make life easier for mankind. My wife recently heard a song being played out in a beach shack in Goa. Try as she might, she couldn’t recall who had sung it. I simply activated the Shazam application on my phone and, within seconds, it had provided not only the song title and the name of the singer but a host of interesting trivia as well.

Invited to a friend’s house in the middle of an obscure village in the Goan hinterland, I entered the address into Google Navigation and let my phone seamlessly guide us to our destination. No need to stop and ask befuddled locals for directions, no bickering about whether we were supposed to turn left or right at the white chapel. No argument. No stress.

Impressed by a new wine we recently discovered, I pointed my phone at the barcode on the bottle and the scanner application instantly provided information about its price and where it could be purchased. And so, the first few days of my Goan interlude passed in a technology-facilitated reverie until I awoke one morning to find that my smartphone had suddenly, inexplicably died on me. Try as I might I could not revive the blessed thing and the prospect of getting it repaired locally seemed bleak. At first, I despaired. There would be numerous messages from friends and New Year greetings on Facebook, BBM, WhatsApp and Viber that would have to be replied to. Emails from across the world that required my attention. The need to feel connected was so great that I fretted, fumed, and considered purchasing another cell phone simply to tide over the one week of vacation time in Goa I had left. And then,

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