On Friday last I happened to dunk my Blackberry into a tub of water. No I was not under the influence when that happened. Nor did I have prohibited substances coursing through my blood stream. And no, I did not have an Aha moment and decide I had had quite enough of being yoked and shackled to my email accounts, and needed to really really break free.
My husband would be the first to aver that the Blackberry isnt really the best gift he gave me. I would beg to differ. This statement from him would come from bitter experiences in the recent past where he has woken up in the middle of the night to see me hunched over the phone, furiously thumb punching emails with a great amount of concentration which would have been better served had I reserved it for tasks of more reward, as in filling out my income tax returns, which no doubt has none of the excitement that comes from replying to emails from friends in different time zones, which fall in the realm of “Yo, wassup?” and indepth discussions on domestic issues as compelling as gas cylinders and the booking of. (BTW, anyone else currently agonising about their gas cylinder refills? I’m a microsecond away from sitting down with placards and a stern expression outside the damn agency office. Given that I have no full cylinder, the hunger strike has already started).
The phone, naturally, gave up the ghost instantaneously on being dunked so unceremoniously in said bucket of water. I have a sentimental attachment to this phone. This is the phone the husband gifted me a couple of years ago when buying a Blackberry meant you were a Very Important Person and needed to be constantly online. Never mind if me being online constantly was for the very important task of updating my facebook status manically. Or my blogs. Which I am convinced will shrivel up and die if I dont post every couple of days. It was a sweet thought. In fact, I have never bought mobile phones or watches or jewellery for myself, the husband has done the honours. Isnt he a gem? Can I have a trowel to lay it on thick for future such honours being assured? But I digress. Given that this happened a day before Valentine’s Day, the timing I thought, couldnt be better. I threw wild hints about the New Blackberry Storm and the New Blackberry Pearl, and how the model I had came without a camera and sheesh, I really, really needed a phone with a camera in case I ever had to click incriminating evidence or found myself face to face with Shah Rukh Khan or better, George Clooney. The man snored gently. I was sure he was assimilating it in his subconscious. His alpha brainwaves were absorbing what I was telling him, I was sure he would wake up the next morning and run shrieking towards the nearest mobile phone retail outlet and pick up a brand new sparkly Blackberry with a phone in declaration of his eternal love and devotion to me. Yes. And Rakhi Sawant was going to seriously get married to the bald NRI she choose on her Swayamwar show.
The phone was given, in practical, penny pinching manner to be repaired. This is also the flashing light moment when you realise that the spouse has gone from being the man with the grandiose expressions of love to a staid, practical, middle aged person. The next I would expect him to discuss the price of vegetables with me over his morning cuppa, and he would spend his weekend doing home repairs. I fainted at the prospect of my bad boy morphing into an Uncleji. Thats a grim thought.
And I spent the next four days being inaccessible to the general public. It was a liberating experience and I highly recommend it for all ye who wish to detox. In fact, I had reached a stage of addiction where prising the phone out of my hands would entail a surgical procedure, with general anaesthesia. And which would be then followed by a stint in Blackberry addiction rehab. I would stand up and say, My name is Kiran and I was addicted to my Blackberry. Or so I thought. I would have my thumb feel phantom pain from the lack of punching in totally irrelevant replies to totally non urgent mails. I would need to be tied down to my bed screaming to be let at a phone, any phone. My friends looked at me gravely when I informed them that I was without a phone. Some patted my back, and pulled on their sackcloth and ashes expression, and started the condolence routine, “I’m so sorry to hear that. It will be tough to start with, but time heals all things.” I nodded in appropriate woebegone manner. You must remember at this point I didnt know if the phone was salvageable. My grief was genuine. I even squeezed out some tears.
I spent four days without a cell phone. People needed to call on landlines if they needed to reach me. People are pretty lazy. No one took the trouble of getting out phone diaries and checking the numbers. It was a very peaceful four days. I finished reading three books. I actually did some cooking voluntarily, without rushing off to check mail in the middle of a dish, resulting in it being salted twice over. I sat and chatted with friends without my mind being distracted by the emails I was replying to.
I realised I was pretty much on my own, having no numbers of anyone either, since I have no memory for phone numbers and even less foresight to take written or electronic back up of my address book. Being any more inaccessible would need me to paddle out to see in a dinghy, with nothing more than a week’s supply of rations.
Was it a liberating experience? You bet it was. I got my phone back yesterday. Repaired and in perfect working condition. The first thing I did when I reached home was to switch it off and take a nice long nap. Nothing was so urgent that it couldnt wait. I switched off the phone in the night too. No blinking red light, no tempting icon on the top left hand corner telling me that I had so many unread mails which I needed to read right now or die wondering what they were all about. Just a deep, peaceful sleep, without me jumping up and checking mail everytime my eyes happened to open in the course of the night. I think now finally I own the Blackberry, not the other way round.