The dark sky had started getting darker. The bats had just rubbed their eyes open, looking forward to their daily routine. Tired IT professionals were returning home from their late shifts. The clock chimed and filled the air with the sound of 10 similar striking dongs. The local politician had just installed a shiny, new clock tower in view of upcoming state elections. To make sure, his presence is acknowledged and reminded more frequently, he has extended his spends to get a chiming clock which dongs and reminds us of his presence every hour. I could see the crowd thinning on streets. A few bikers swished past my car window. An owl hooted with all its might.
My eyes hovered over various places but stopped at a woman sitting in the car parked adjacent to mine. I could see her through the half-opened glass window of the back seat. She seemed to be leaning forward. I could see her forearm, so fair that her dark, green veins stood out against her skin. Her hair, a shade of rich mahogany, falling on both sides of her face. With lowered eyes, she gazed down at her lap. A strange glow illuminated her face. A glow which made her smile occasionally. My Yoga trainer often enlightened me with his storehouse of knowledge about the physical and mental well being. Out of the lot, my favourite part arrived when he spoke about how regular meditation could add a glow to your face. Since I was not a regular, he would often say stuff to lure me in his regular sessions. ‘This glow would be like nothing you have seen before’, he would say. Well, I did think of this particular lady was a regular meditator. But, my Guru also told me that meditation would make you a more interesting person. You would stand out from the crowd since you would be more sociable, interactive and happy. But, this lady did not seem any of this. Yes, she smiled. But, it was very, very robotic. Or mechanical, I would say. She had not talked to the person sitting right beside her in last half an hour. But, this might be because he was also in a trance. His face was just as illuminated as hers and his gaze was fixated downward. And so was the person at the rear seat. It was a car full of diseased.
Very confused, I looked around myself and curiously scanned more people to find if anyone exuded such astonishing traits. A man standing by a shop displayed the same robotic skills. So did a teenager hanging out with his group of friends at the nearby cafe. A group of people crossing the road were in a similar situation. Their backs bent, eyes lowered, arms folded and faces illuminated. With such glowing faces and lowered eyes, they moved on the road, irrespective of any living or non-living entity that might encounter them.
What was this? Did Spielberg movies about robots ruling over human brains come true all of a sudden? Is our future under threat? Is this a new spread disease which is disassociating one from the other? My mind started racing. I was horrified. What if our generation turns into a bunch of mute, bent back, glow-in-the-face, robots? What is this disease? Where did it come from? Whats the cure? How can we pull the world out of this haze and get them back to being sociable, lively and more human?
I was lost in my thoughts, trying to pin down the reason for these dazed faces, when suddenly a music from the adjacent car attracted my attention. The glowing woman in that car finally raised her gaze. But, now the glow in her face suddenly vanished. That’s when I fially saw her hands. She picked up her smartphone from her lap, swiped a finger on it, pressed it to her ears and said ‘Hello’.
Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master!