Life without a cellphone is…normal

Published: September 29, 2014
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Life without a working smartphone in your pocket, at all times, is strange. PHOTO: REUTERS

Life without a working smartphone in your pocket, at all times, is strange. It’s like something in missing in your life, like some tragedy befell upon you. I have gone through such a tragedy, and I’ve been the same.

Five days ago, after receiving a phone call, I saw that my phone’s battery was almost dead. That’s normal, right? Well, I rummaged around my room to find the charger. My eyes remained settled on the screen as I connected my charger to the tiny slot, waiting for the light come back and see my phone grin with life again. However, that didn’t happen. It stayed silent as I helplessly watched my vintage wallpaper of petals and leaves get dimmer and dimmer, until finally fading away to a complete blackout.

My heart was taken over by the same darkness that engulfed my phone.

All at once, I wanted to check the calendar, use the calculator, post a tweet, make a note; I wanted to make it live again. Or, if nothing else, I wanted to at least say a proper goodbye to it before sending it away to the hospital (read: mobile phone repair shop). But alas, fate is cruel. Its screen did not light up again and it was safe to assume that it had gone into a coma. I felt numb while giving it away – the pain was too much. But there was nothing I could do to make it come back to life again. Only the doctor (read: repair man) could breathe some life into it now. Needless to say, my prayers were almost entirely focused on its well-being.

However, the past five days have been nothing short of torture for me. Here is how my days went:

Day 1

I baked!

Note: Before my venture, baking was part of my ‘top five things I’m terrible at’ list, on number two.

Also note: I needed my phone for the recipe. (This was followed by a half an hour remembrance of how great my smartphone was)

Anyway, reluctantly I took out a Martha Stewart recipe book, and read from it (unbelievable, I know). Since I had no new notifications to worry about, I wholeheartedly mixed and whisked the ingredients and baked a lovely lemon tart that tasted quite decent.

Lessons learnt:

1. No use of phone while eating allows tasting buds to work efficiently.

2. Sometimes, when you cook with dedication, you earn the right to being called a master chef for a day.

3. The touch of a glossy cook book actually feels very nice.

Day 2

I sat on a chair, sighed, cheered away the emptiness my hand felt, and painted my fingernails, twice. It was only then that I realised that I needed a manicure as well, so I got myself an appointment. Of course, I needed my phone for that too but, thankfully, the landline was still available.

Lessons learnt:

1. It is important to take care of yourself.

2.  The buttons on a cordless are fun to press on.

3.  I need to buy more nail polishes.

Day 3

I went with mother dearest to pick my sister up from her friend’s place. The experience gave me the opportunity to look outside the window, eat ice cream using both hands, and laugh with my family instead of at internet jokes.

Lessons learnt:

1. Life goes on perfectly without a car selfie.

2.  Karachi is not a clean city.

3.  It is important to talk to your mom; otherwise she thinks you love someone else.

Day 4

I spent the day at the dentist and then the mobile shop, only to discover that my phone still needed another day to discharge. My toothache (I’m guessing it was the lemon tart) had me do nothing productive but whine about how much I needed my phone to distract myself. I decided I should clean and organise my makeup instead.

Lessons learnt:

1. How to be patient.

2. I have enough makeup.

Day 5

I terribly felt the need to post something on Instagram, but there was no way to do it. So after that, I decided I had nothing better to do at home; hence, I went along with my grandmother to the eyewear shop. The objective was to choose an eye frame for her, but instead, I ended up liking one for myself (and buying it).

Lessons learnt:

1.  Grandma doesn’t let you pay.

2.  These shops will have your frame adjusted for free.

3.  You feel important when your choice of consideration is fulfilled.

4.  My eye sight has become weaker.

By the end of day five, I realised that life can go on well (not entirely, but positively) without a smartphone, which sometimes only symbolises nuisance. So maybe if we could use it less then it would be almost possible for us to live without it. Today is day six by the way, and I feel relatively normal.

Muzna Hatmi

Muzna Hatmi

She is an artsy person, distinctively creative. She tweets as @muznahatmi (twitter.com/muznahatmi)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sharoon Younas

    Your article was initially amusing; I chuckled halfway through it. But then it slowly hit me – a lot of what you’ve said has darker undertones, inadvertent or intentional. From not spending enough time with family (miss my nano now) to constantly checking for social media updates, technology has somewhat hollowed out our relationships. Yeah, we find long lost friends and keep tabs on others but its very superficial. Meh. I might undertake this 5 day technology fast myself.Recommend

  • Urooj

    Well the best part is that you shared the “lessons learnt” coz at the end of the day what matters is what you learn….and certainly life was best in 8 ‘ s :pRecommend

  • Hassaan

    Views core from the heart =)Recommend

  • Parvez

    I can really relate to that……I very seldom carry a cell phone.
    Next time your TV breaks down……don’t hurry to get it back. You’ll be surprised how pleasant life can be without the idiot box.Recommend

  • Bushra

    A good read :)Recommend

  • Raza Rashid

    lol.ive actually experimented of living without the cell phone for almost 3 months and trust me it feels really good and a perfect remedy for depressionRecommend

  • Shakeela

    Well, em in a same situation myself. And in the past 2 days, I have started reading novels, take my studies very seriously and helping my mama around. God just love mama’s expressions. But I had a good laugh reading your views :)Recommend

  • Anonymouse

    #FirstWorldProblemsRecommend

  • Minhal Fawad

    This blog is the most interesting blog I’ve ever read! I love it :DRecommend

  • Tariq

    I’ve been living without smartphone for 9 months now. Do not feel any lack of convenience or comfort. All the needs can be addressed by other means (laptops, tablets, wifi) Lots of time for yourself. BTW I had a smartphone twice, taken away by you know who.Recommend

  • Tyler Duerden
  • Gp65

    I have stopped my TV cable service 5 years back. Don’t miss it.

    Recommend

  • Dex Ali

    my 3rd day feeling relax :DRecommend

  • Parvez

    ……but then the computer has stepped in to fill the void and the possibilities are endless……when I see children fiddling away on their smart phones even during a play or the cinema or on the beach, I am just astonished.Recommend

  • Arooj Najmussaqib

    loved reading it… :)Recommend

  • csb

    wow you can write!Recommend