I want to be disconnected, I want to become un-networked - I want to be unwifi-ed. I want to put my phone in airplane mode perennially. I want to be ‘out of coverage area’. I don’t want to go to a forest lodge or the Himalayas to be quiet. I want it here, in the city. So I’m turning down your request to join your Linkedin network. I’m going to ignore the numerous Change.Org mails in my inbox - “My neighbour is a cross dresser. One thousand people have signed my petition asking the Chief Minister to stop tranvestites from renting flats in Lokhandwala.”
No, I don’t need to get a fresh new set of teeth. Or buy property in Oshiwara with easy EMI. Please stop your bulk SMSes. If I call a friend, dear service provider, I don’t want you to precede his voice with, “Iss caller tune ko copy karne ke liye, 007007 dabao.” Lady, I know how to download songs. Right now, I just need to speak to my friend, asap, so butt out.
“Hello, Mr Rahul, BEAUTY HOMES ke taraf se, main Kajol baath kar rahi hoon.” Kajol, no offence, but my accomodation is sorted for now. Then, there are the tweeters - Mahesh ‘The Knife’ Max (“single guy, loves single malt”) and Florry Furtado (“relentless twitterer, chatterer, traveller, arty farty, party animal”), both follow me on Twitter. Why me ? Does it seem like I’m single, love single malt, and am part of the chatterati? Even if I am, don’t assume that we connect on those slim parameters. And why are you following me, you virtual stalker?
I have 50 friend requests on Facebook - I don’t know you, why should I accept your request? Are you a strangler, a serial killer, or worse, a relentless chatter. My fear is that after I accept your request, you’ll suffocate me with your second-to-second posts - I don’t need to know what you’re feeling in your head or your hamstrings - there are shrinks and psysios better qualified for that. Don’t constantly sell me your wares and your whereabouts.
Look, I’m as 21st century as the next guy. I won’t give you the sepia-toned argument -‘How I miss the old days of no mobile phones, our friendly Irani cafe or that the PCO was good enough’ - the world has changed, I buy that. But have we also lost quiet, has repose evaporated? What’s with this constant talk, seeking people out, garnering support, searching for approval, asking me to join bandwagons, liking your page, telling you my birthday? What sort of world do we live in now?
I don’t want all my five senses invaded every minute of my life - don’t take my privacy for granted. It isn’t there for you to annihilate and overcrowd. Chat, connectivity, computer obsession, cellular whatever its called - just general overcommunication - it’s just highly overskyped.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller.
Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.