Friday - - Editor’s Letter - Mri­nal Shekar Deputy Ed­i­tor mshekar@gulfnews.com

Ibe­long to an era when phones were just that – phones. They were not mul­ti­task­ing su­per ma­chines dom­i­nat­ing every as­pect of our awake time, but ef­fi­cient ones that served one par­tic­u­lar pur­pose – mak­ing calls. So, when I see peo­ple hunched over their mo­bile phones and over­work­ing their thumbs lik­ing, hash­tag­ging and com­ment­ing on sta­tuses and posts, I judge. I judge their bub­ble-wrap ex­is­tence that is de­void of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing life’s sim­ple plea­sures. For in­stance, they will never know what fun it is to peo­ple-watch while sip­ping the per­fect brew at a road­side café, or wit­ness par­rots squab­ble over a spot on a palm tree in Safa Park, or scream their lungs out at their favourite singer’s con­cert. I pity them for all those times when the bright lights of their phones had their un­di­vided at­ten­tion.

Those who live their lives through MO­BILE PHONES will never know the fun of PEO­PLE-WATCH­ING while sip­ping the per­fect BREW at a café, or wit­ness par­rots SQUAB­BLE over a SPOT on a tree in Safa Park

To me, their phone has robbed them of their lives and left them with a vac­uum that is ev­i­dent in their glazed over eyes. They no longer know what it is like to have so­cial lives that don’t in­clude the so­cial me­dia. Their abil­i­ties to build real friend­ships, ne­go­ti­ate and re­solve sit­u­a­tions and over­come ob­sta­cles have rusted com­pletely, all thanks to be­ing ob­sessed with their vir­tual lives.

Twenty-three-year-old Char­lotte Michaels, in the fea­ture ‘Are self­ies wreck­ing re­la­tion­ships?’ on page 34, is a case in point. She has been so busy taking self­ies that she has missed out on meet­ing her real friends, who have now de­cided to move on, leav­ing her alone to rue over the de­bris of her frac­tured re­la­tion­ships.

For all who live their lives through their phones, all I have to say is, hap­pi­ness does not come with a hash­tag as a pre­fix but lies in real ex­pe­ri­ences and real liv­ing.

Tell me what you think. Un­til next week,

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