Life is precious. But a life that remains stagnant, unproductive, what is the point of it? My whole world was stagnant. It remained so for nearly a decade. I could see things unfold before me, yet I was blind. I could hear things scream to me, yet I was deaf. I could sense people conversing with me, yet I was numb, unresponsive. I no longer felt anything. That I fell prey to depressive tendencies. I felt I no longer was me.
Oftentimes, I would catch myself watching useless videos on YouTube for hours on end. Switching from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram to WhatsApp was what mattered to me the most, day in, day out. No talking to the family, friends or relatives. The internet was something divine to me, and I was its greatest slave. But it was a master I wanted to break free from. It frustrated me that I couldn’t punch it in the face and make it weak enough to not take control over me. My frustration was so intense that quite often suicidal ideas would cross my mind. This frustration would come every minute of not using my smartphone and murdering innocent time.
This addictive behaviour that had robbed me of my brain had to be dealt with, come high or hell water. I mustered the courage of picking a phone without internet. A nice-looking, innocent phone. Its mere face spoke volumes of its goodness. Just one number to dial in case of emergency. That was that. No making me a slave. No murdering time. No damaging my health. No trying to make me feel ashamed of myself. And no making me take shelter in the lonely corner of my room and damaging my brain cells.
It has been a relief I craved for years. The damaged self is now healing. My ears are beginning to function the way they should have been. My brain is beginning to become adept at understanding the issues I swept under the carpet when I was a slave of the internet. My guardians are happy that I listen to them and that I finally take pleasure in what really matters in the real world – in-person visits and conversations.
The writer is a post-graduate student of History at Kashmir University. [email protected]