Of all the gadgets and accessories that have enveloped mankind in their grasp irrevocably, the earphones are the peskiest. A recently popular WhatsApp forward highlighted the twisted (and difficult to unravel) state of a pair of earphones, along with their dangling wires, whenever they are pulled out from their encasing. A famous yoga exponent was pictured alongside the offending objects, just as intricately postured and almost as tough to straighten up!
The stark reality is that whenever one is in a hurry to use them, which is most of the time, the earphones hardly ever cooperate, and insist on remaining tangled and entwined.
But the even more galling aspect of their existence is that they often make most human beings who use them look like nincompoops. One can spot them at a marketplace or at a work centre. They seem as if they are talking animatedly to themselves, with theatrical hand movements to boot, but on closer observation they are clearly channelling their voices into the little microphone which accompanies the naughty duo somewhere down the wire. Initially, one looks askance at the sight of someone who appears emotional while gesturing to an unseen being, present only in the thin air. Our first reaction, despite years of having known better, is to step back a tad, suspecting that one has run into a wonky individual. It is only when our technology-tutored sanity returns that we start looking for signs of that dangling wire in the vicinity of the other’s ears.
And upon noticing the thin black, white or red conduit, we heave a sigh of relief, enlightened to the fact that the man is ‘with it’ and not ‘without it’! A sense of comic relief is natural in such circumstances, but only when enlightenment occurs.
Those who don’t use earphones while travelling and rely on speakerphones are obviously oblivious to the comfort levels of fellow passengers. They watch films like Full Tension on full blast, and the neighbours have to either resort to ear muffs or simply grin and bear it. The third option is to try and convince the viewer of the said classic (!) film, with whatever tactics they feel are best suited to the occasion!
Other modern day gadgets can be irksome too. Some run out of gas (battery, actually). Others beep and bark when it is most inconvenient to their owner for them to do so. A calm Sunday morning service at a church or temple will almost inescapably be the setting for a cacophonous ringtone to blare. The resultant glares will have nothing to do with calmness, of course, and the owner of the perpetrator of the violent noise would do well to shut his eyes and pretend to meditate. But only after he has finally switched off the offending object and stifled its cacophony!
The thing about ultra tech devices is therefore, to realise that they have their downsides and side effects. One needs to utilise their services judiciously and in a manner which does not offend or bother people in the vicinity. A walk in the park without any such device in the pocket is probably the closest experience to nirvana these days. Giggling at earphone users who seem to be addressing themselves, is an added bonus!