My cardboard box in the cloud

A lazy Saturday morning, as I was glancing through the notifications on my smartphone, there were 280 messages from one of the many useless whatsapp groups I am part of. And I had no patience to go through all messages but I could understand the context that it was an argument on some forward messages related to Covid19 and people who have assumed to have doctorate on the topics bouncing to respond with their views, suggestions, solutions, uff! Let me get a ‘no phone day’ and I decided to do some cleaning. As I climbed up to clear things from the loft, there was a cardboard box which put a smile on my face. It was too dusty and after shooing away the dust around, I opened the cardboard box. They were my .. well, how do I explain to people from digital era.. Hmm, they were my archives from the cloud – the slambook diaries of school, college, inland letters from my parents, love letters 😉 and huge collection of greeting cards( I used to be crazy about receiving greeting cards during special days during childhood).

Since my phone was switched off, and food was ready, I literally had plenty of time to take that bus to nostalgia. I started reading the notes. Many of my juniors and friends are still in touch with me, thanks to the world of social media. But, to read their ‘hand-written’ note, to read incidents they mentioned and the doodles they drew in slambook were very very special. “We are life-time best friends and I will be there with you during every stage of life” – ManjuSri, my 11th grade bestie had written the note of promise and she is one person I lost touch with, might be because my landline number or hers changed and that was the only source of contact we mentioned. Soundarya and Jaishankar are still my daily dose of madness, our friendship continues as family friendship – BUT when I read their messages on the notebook, it still was precious.

My dad as an employee with State Bank of India, we used to receive greeting card for each new year (almost same design for atleast 5 years lol ) and I used to safely archive them in my cardboard cloud. That was a pride for the employee’s family, today we complain about ipad version vs macbook air as employee recognition & still not satisfied ouch! Also the “inland letters” my parents , friends used to write and me trying the best handwriting to convey my marks went low to dad in the most assertive way – also sentimentally he cant scold me back in a letter”.

The first phase of mobile phones were as heavy as bricks and I was a proud owner of one which had only incoming option (for my parents to call me) and SMS charges 1 rupee each. But I was on a monthly package of 28 rupees , so if I exhaust 28 msgs, then my incoming will also be barred. During the fights with my boyfriend then (husband now), I used to type lengthy angry messages of listing how mean he was and after 140 words, it would be converted into multimedia message which was Rs 5. Oops.. no no, as I reduced the text, somehow my anger also got reduced. And with 28 messages as the only option, let me try to be a nicer girlfriend. There were days when I had exhausted the data pack and had to wait for 1st the of next month for my sms to work back. By the time I got the SMS renewed, the anger would be gone far off. Oh those days..

If we look back, those days, communication was not easy like today. We were mindful of using every channel of communication. 30 mins of internet in browsing centre was all I had to go through TATA company before joining TCS and that was a luxury and my parents were able to afford I felt. I did not waste time to even blink and had to use the time to learn about my future career. Today, unfortunately, the excellent growth in communication channels, the multiple sources – email, chat box, fb, insta, etc.. and many ways to communicate : emojis, gif, text, fwds, memes, blah blah blah ! We have somehow lost the engine of being mindful of what we communicate. We don’t have to rethink before fighting / arguing or sending an angry smiley or an annoying gif to whomsoever , might be a closed one or someone we have not seen but just part of the whatsapp group because they live in the same society.

Today, the world is going through the roller coaster in this pandemic time. People are going through unbelievable difficulties. From personal/ family health issues, marriage getting cancelled, childbirth without family around, loss of lives – plenty of physical, mental, emotional stress around. Can we please get back to being mindful on our communication? Here are simple seven tips from my side, please feel free to share your tips, recalling your cardboard from cloud :

  1. Don’t be reactive to any arguments, family, friends or colleagues – whatever the context is – It is okay to pause than to react immediate.
  2. Spread positivity but be cautious of not giving a pep talk for free, without knowing what the other person is going through
  3. Stop the chain of forward messages and Covid19 related data from unknown source
  4. Take a break from social media and smart phones – do not get obsessed with gathering updates and information every hour
  5. Hold on to the verbal communication and take steps to act upon
  6. Take good care your mental and emotional well being , that is essential to spread positivity to the outside world
  7. Last but not least! Stay safe & believe from within.

We are blessed to have the technology to help us pass on an important information across the globe, contact our loved ones across borders, still win a business deal with resilience and future forward leadership, get blood donors for emergency, save lives via medical hotline facilities. Let us assume that every message we communicate is expensive and tune our brain to be mindful and positive. We are in this together dear world.

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