Trapped!


The roads are jammed, and most drivers have switched off their engines. I stare absently at the scene outside. An old lady is standing under a bus shelter. As I watch, she pulls out something from the waistband of her saree. It is a small cloth bag of the drawstring variety. She rummages inside and pulls out a few betel leaves and pieces of broken areca nut. She patiently tears the leaves and folds them, places the areca nut in the center, and puts it into her mouth. Her eyes have a faraway look, as her hands tighten the drawstring pouch and tuck it back into her waistband. She chews the leaves, and is deep in thought.

I watch in fascination.

A young girl soon joins the old lady. She is in her teens. As I watch, she stretches her arm into her bag, and pulls out her smartphone. She is soon completely absorbed in her own world!

I laugh at this contrast.

The old lady has stopped pondering. She looks around now, and looks at the young lady, who is completely oblivious to the goings-on around her; her neck bent at an awkward angle.

This makes me think. When did we become this way? When did we stop looking out at the world? When did we trap the world into a smartscreen and start looking for all solutions in that small screen. Instead of looking out and going out into the world, we have brought the world into our palms, to the point where we don’t need anyone or anything else to keep us occupied.

Image courtesy – http://www.dreamstime.com

As I watch, the old lady chews her leaves and watches the world curiously. Her eyes fall on me. She smiles – a toothless smile, her mouth stained by the red of the betel leaves.

I smile back. There is still hope!

Should it be a 5 or a 6?


I am reading a book. My son sits next to me playing a game on the iPad. I pause to look at how adept he is at navigating the game. Virtual creatures seem to fill-up the screen; as an observer, I feel that chaos reigns on his iPad screen. There is constant action, there is constant movement, there is an alertness and nervous energy in my son’s stance as he grapples with the many things that need his attention to succeed in his mission – whatever that may be, because, I have no clue at all about what’s happening.

I play games on my phone too, but mine are games that follow only one pace – my pace.

I simply cannot handle the pace of the games that my kids play. Maybe it has something to do with age?

Now, I like games like Sudoku and Kakuro; which I play when the house is quiet. Games where I can think, analyse and fill-in my responses. Almost like solving crosswords in the newspaper!

Courtesy – Can Stock Photo

Sipping a cup of coffee and wondering if a box needs a ‘5’ or a ‘6’ is all that I can handle in terms of speed. I enjoy the ‘thinking’ more than the playing.

Graduating from ‘medium’ to ‘evil’ in Kakuro is cause for celebration. Some puzzles are truly ‘evil’. They take multiple attempts to solve, usually over a two to three day period. And each time the puzzle is solved, I give myself a mental high five. Simple reasons to celebrate.

And before I go back to my book, I look at my son’s iPad. It looks as busy as ever……!