Home Hyderabad Column Are you ‘live’ yet?

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the digital boom has taken over life beyond imagination. With the selfie mania, snapchats and the already hyper-active social media platforms, people are now constantly glued to their mobiles. Before I understood what a ‘live chat’ was, I was flabbergasted to see a notification which said my friend and co-RJ ‘Shekhar is live now.’ Yeah right, he is not dead. We hosted a show a few minutes ago.
The urgency to click a picture and share it with the world has taken over so much that even a minister recently said that states should declare ‘selfie danger zones’ in tourist spots where people are prone to fall off from cliffs or drown in water. On the face of it, this sounds funny, but it is surprisingly, and disturbingly, true.
I was passing by a bus stop recently and observed the bystanders. Never before did I see people so self-engrossed. The age-old gossip zones have turned almost meditatively quiet with people stuck to mobiles – swiping and typing. I suddenly recalled when I had no phone at home and would get calls on my neighbour’s landline. I would feel guilty and ask my neighbour hesitantly if it was okay to make just one ‘emergency’ call.
Now my driver picks up his phone and hollers to his wife at the other end in typical Hyderabadi ‘Running mein hoon.’ My cook Deepa stares at her mobile and blushes while making rotis. I recently heard of a domestic help asking for a SIM card as part of her salary package.
That Hyderabad has become savvy with this too is evident in the latest gifts we see in shops – selfie sticks, mobiles and mobile accessories. A few of my friends have named their mobiles ‘life companion’ and ‘best friend’. Even driving away mosquitoes is easier now with an app on the mobile. It apparently creates a buzz that annoys the winged enemies and they fly away. I hope we learn to live amidst such ‘live’ notifications.

Swapna Sundari

—  The writer is a popular TV show host, radio jockey, professional singer… and most importantly, a hardcore Hyderabadi)

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