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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The New Smart Pain

Thanks to my smart phone. Let me dive right into the matter. My thumb aches and goes numb… due to phone overuse. Boom! The story is over here. Not really… you can't be relieved so fast!

B'lu fingers addicted to her phone… are also addicted to paint… clay, kitchen knife and plenty of other things that can't seem to stop herself from getting her hands dirty! [B4 I forget… Have I told you this hand has modelled for a TV ad?]

I am scared am fighting a brand new addiction. This time it is a smart phone!

I am really scared of those days coming back... when that painful spondylitis… had me on the physiotherapist's table for those unbelievably torturous procedure of traction. Weights attached to my upper and lower body… that would stretch in opposite directions… elongating my spine… to reinforce that lost gap. That stupid lost gap... had the bones pressing the nerves and some other odd stuff in between there - was the MRI-scan explanation for that incredible pain in the neck. 

[Trust me, each time I was stretched on the traction table I wished all that new pain would make me few inches longer may be!… Magically taller, all pain… all gain, I mean. Nah! It didn't. 13 sessions wasted if you look at it that way. But I must confess… that this primitive method did relieve me a 'little' from the neck pain 'temporarily'!]


I used to work at an incredibly stressful and understaffed news desk… editing about 30 stories on an average day to fit into some 5 broadsheet pages I had to 'tick off in green colour' for pre-press to pick, colour-process and move to the printing table. 

On each following day, the pages were nitpicked to have you held by neck to keep the job as neatly done as possible. The atmosphere was so negative with so many people having their necks held by necks held by more such necks [read the bit again its not a wrong sentence here]… literally and metaphysically so that every new person who joined the desk had to cross thought blobs that read 'aah here comes a fresh new neck'. I cannot believe I did that job for 6+ years. I mean obedience, for sooo long to end up with a neck [and a messed up head] that I took over an year to recover.

I love to read and I love to write… but that job wrung out all passion that the queen's language deserved complete with all its obsessive-compulsive-disorder-decorations like the punctuations, hyphens etc. I did not even like full-stopping anymore. All this had me exploring/resorting to a new language that rattled in my head.

I identified my alter-ego as Jim Carrey. To put things in perspective - it was Hank in Me, Myself & Irene. I was happy building/fighting the second person growing in my head… fighting for freedom! Freedom of expression and trying to find humour/reason to keep the mundane look exciting. The mutiny was on. Getting me nowhere… as I was glued to my seat... stressfully banging on my keyboard.

I was abusing it, I mean my passion, each time I was being subjected to biased/subjective use of certain words. 

Journalism was my ideal job. I wanted to find stories… be heard for my opinion… make a difference etc. But there… they did not want to hear anything… and mind you if you did anything like a journalist did… like snoop around for the true story… you had it! 

All that mattered was that readymade stories looked 'good'… in their uniforms… without creases… all spruced as per the style-sheet… laid neatly on a template that was pre-decided to kill every little innovative design in your head to present the matter slightly better! I would have reduced that 'control freak flowchart' to ashes if it was my own paper. But it was not my paper. I was confused. I thought I had to keep doing it… to stay alive! And kept doing it… while warm seed pillows wrapped like a snake around my neck… dreaming about my next reflexology session when I could sink into the masseuse's cozy chair and zonk out.

Fast & Furious

My news editor could sense my perturbation on the keyboard… but he only said 'you have really fast fingers.' 

I could not type any slower! The speed got into everything. Like Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump, I couldn't stop myself… [Yeah! Just like him I was on the cover of the Forbes Magazine for my incredible invention/life… Sigh! Are you still reading this post!?] 

A sweet person, used a wrong English word to give me a compliment... calling me a 'quickie' for I cooked up a quick meal. I used to jump and leap to match the beeps of the microwave that defrosted and sweated… to pack something 'healthy' for lunch. [And now!? I don't know what rushing is like. Will you trust me when I say am far from being retired… I pray for people who love to see others all ruffled/rushed like themselves! I bless them peace/health.]

Back then I also painted pretty much like that. I had to release the thought asap before it morphed into something else… I did/could not meditate like most painters would with the tip of their paint brush going dry. I din't even use a brush most of the time. The palette knife was my best friend… to slap and split the limp paint and violently mix em to form a new hue and texture that would eventually calm me down to catch a few hours of night's sleep… to face the nitpicking and neck holding the following day.

Why am I being poetic about speed?

In the mad craze to catchup on all that my life offered… today I am missing my pain-free thumb… and it is painful to think of a traction-treatment to this part of the body! Right now… am not using my right thumb… but still typing you see! 

Mobile life 

The smart phone has got me scrolling and reading all the time. Thanks to the fact that I can read all the time even if I am not carrying a book… or when am travelling etc… but really it is a bad addiction [and who doesn't know about that]… like everything else that can get u hooked on for unnecessarily long time… the thumb-scrolling is the new villain in my life!

I was always a bit hooked on to mobiles ever since I had my first one…. as it made me feel connected even though I lived most of my adult life by myself. I have owned about 10 phones by now and none of them were fully explored of all its features. I used mobiles mostly to call/text or read/click pics.

I must take you back to an eerie winter's night in New Delhi when a phone-o-act saved me… back then I had no cell phone. I was still studying. 

I was walking alone through the Jai Singh Marg (heart of the city). I heard footsteps catching up and the only thing I could think of was make them believe I am not alone. Like fake a phone call. I took out my wallet and pressed it to my ear... and pretended to talk to someone who was expecting me right at the corner of the road. Suddenly I heard the footsteps fade off. 

[Like my uncle, who heard the story, said - I was probably never stalked… they were tired/peaceful people walking back home from work… and when they reached their turn before mine... disappeared to their homes. Phew! But I truly believe it is the phone-o-act that saved me that night… and am pretty sure my uncle said so to make me feel 'ok' or safe/confident... to walk alone at night.]

Another time, years ago, my first mobile got me new job! I got this weird phone call - a job call. Weird because it was from the owner of an event company who wanted to offer a new reporter [me] a 'brand manager's job in his company. Guess why? He said that I typed back smses really fast… and that perhaps I may be the proactive person their company needs… to spread their wings.

[Back then, I wasn't smart-enough to understand that a new journalist can be an affordable/smarter-face to a new events company. That a scribe is a better bet than a sweet PR & marketing person who will sell but not speak/ask or explore… or sound as interesting/excited as a new journalist would… in as much spirit.] 

Just because that job seemed to empower me more than any other would to a 21-year-old… I took the plunge. Flinging [temporarily] my dream job of a journalist's I packed bags to a new city leaving my friends who were happy for the 'jump' in profile but did not want me to leave the city I grew up… along with them. You have no idea how possessive I was of my byline those days. And I never wanted to leave Delhi for anything else in the world. But I left! Why? God alone knows. All the way from Delhi to Mumbai… to live a new life… in a new job… in an overspilling city.

May be I made/make every choice to peek and see if I fit there… And settled in only when I found a part of myself there. Donno really!

Today, each beep on my mobile makes me frown at my right thumb. Well I am not in a meeting but am not touching that darn thing today. My thumb looks at me with an invisible face that winks and says 'Thumbs up' to that!

One [or two] big question[s]. Shall I get rid of the Watsapp… as it is robing a bit of my real-time like Facebook did a few years back? Or should I just keep the mobile on silent and forget about it for a few days? Will it be a temporary relief [or freak my family/friends… cos the last time I did this a friend drove down 50 kilometres to ring the door bell at the middle of the night and check if I was alive!]… Should I take a break as I rewire my brain and be more considerate to my aching thumb… or go see a doctor?

Somebody stop me!!! [The Mask-man Jim flashes his over-sized teeth!]

PS: It must be an off day for my mobile… but nobody can stop me from using my laptop! A-aarg-ha! I love the clicking sound of my keyboard.

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