I am dimly aware that by the time I finish writing this writhing, one-eyed toothless thing called a post, I will have to go back to The Tab That Shall Not Be Closed and enter my pseudorandomly-generated password to login for another session.
Two and a half hours into a novel form of bullying… I forgot. Anyway. For one, the reactions it has elicited from my friends is hilariously tragic.
One of my roommates is a recent manga convert. With the noose labelled ‘500 MB daily data limit’, how in hell will she catch up to me in One Piece? We’re talking about roughly 300+ chapters consisting of 25 pages on an average, each highly defined. As she grapples with this new problem, the threat of me unspooling her hopes by revealing the entire story looms large.
A data limit also means I can no longer watch this dog video when I feel shit. (i am amazed my French teacher was unfazed after watching this. A heartless man, indeed.)
Many will have to unwillingly curtail the hours spent on Facebook. No more selfies, no more status updates till you’re home, no more Comment Wars, no more stalking hot boys from other colleges. Is this what life will become for KiiT?
I’m not really complaining. Except I wish I could log in through my phone, because, you guessed it, NO MULTIPLE DEVICES.
Well, my first reaction?
So I pay a mini-fortune for the Wi-Fi only to have a puny data limit imposed on me? GEE THANKS.
But, ladies and gentlemen, don’t we all know it: internet is a necessary bastard. Internet is that teacher’s pet who does all the homework on time and on the inside really wants in on your birthday party the next weekend, except she punched your brother’s nose bloody last year.
Internet is an aging temptress. All her charms may not entrance you, but her bullshit will.
Right before my exams, I decided to go online only twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Crazy. I KNOW RIGHT?
But crazier was schmucks on Whatsapp who wouldn’t sleep, crazier was my Instagram feed, even crazier was the never-ending pile of unread articles from countless newsletters.
Enough madness to drive you pralines.
The fact that the Internet Mafia Cell here had blocked all cellular devices (OS no bar) didn’t make it easier. Heck, I couldn’t even download manga.
Which is when i said f*ck you to the interwebs, considering what’s at stake.
AT STAKE #1: Online shopping
I usually don’t click on these websites. But when I dream about all the money I have/will have to spend for the rest of the semester and there is something I have been drooling about, i spend hours shamelessly checking out different variations of different products from the different brands on all the websites i can lay hands on. Day turns into night and I end up dehydrated because who has time to drink water when you have to secure the best deals before anyone else does?
That’s right, NO ONE.
AT STAKE #2: Browsing through mindless gossip websites
I tend to suck up to gossip websites on particularly bad days despite knowing that reading better things is a better fix for the mood. Somehow, reading trash is a gesture to myself that says,
you can read absolute bull shit today and get away with it because I won’t judge you. Not today. Because you’ve had a bad day.
So I read about some idiot of a reality T.V. star going broke because she spent all her money on getting FFFFF size boobs and predictions of what Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s kid would look like (a man with a wig. and makeup.)
AT STAKE #3: Instagram
Move over Facebook, Insta-awesomeness is here.
Nothing beats the exhilaration that beats the air out of my lungs when my smartphone squeals that someone has commented/liked my picture(s) or both!
Instagram is the grandest ego-stroking device i have encountered on the internet and i am particularly vulnerable to all the glitter it has to offer. Makeup artists, mixed media artists, doodlers, DIY-ers. I have found immensely inspiring work in there (peterdraws inspired me to take up doodling. yay.)
Sometimes, I crawl onto profiles that make me want to curl up into a ball with a steaming mug of molten chocolate and read. With all their fabulously made up faces and designer dresses and impromptu Starbucks trips (why is that even worth Instagramming, dude? It’s just a green-fucking-mermaid on a cup containing hot coffee. Or cold.) and lipsticked pouts.
I hold it responsible for an erection of the brain. Mixed feelings.
AT STAKE #4: LinkedIn and About.Me
When the tedium of daily life causes my feet to grind to a stop, I have an excuse for a break ready- I check my LinkedIn page and about.me page. Requests to connect and recommendations make me assure me that there are people who appreciate who I am. My about.me page has suddenly begun seeing traffic and compliments and all that jazz. It makes you happy. It makes me happy.
But that is hardly the sort of happiness I want. Of course it is good to check once in a while. Thank my brains i deleted my Klout account.
AT STAKE #5: Youtube videos.
I watch few videos; I mostly see to it that the ones I watch are really worth the time. But fighting against the occasional urge to see guilty dog-faces is a Herculean task. And then more recommendations follow… There are days when even catching up on latest anime episodes feels like a sin. By contrast, I prefer manga. They’re related much quicker, I can read then offline and wherever I want, and they give me ideas on what to try drawing next.
PS. Nothing beats battle scenes in motion. Anime does much, much better.
AT STAKE #6: WhatsApp
I’m grateful for it and hate it in equal measure. All you need is a smartphone, an internet connection and app chat with everyone in your contacts list with the same setup, it is unnerving to see push notifications wave their restless skinny ass on top of your phone screen. Hey, my first conversation with an old friend from middle school after almost 7 years was really a chat on WhatsApp.
It slices across distance and peace of mind like a samurai.
Continued use may induce nausea; to see people constantly message each other, share pictures, crack jokes and everything.
ALL THE BLOODY TIME.
Such levels of proximity feel incestuous. Of course, when I crave human contact, I wave a hello to anyone I haven’t spoken to the last few hours.
THE most annoying thing about the app? As long as your internet connection is active, you will be at the receiving end of the gunfire. There’s no concept of a login.
I doubt the app developers did not foresee the extent of privacy invasion that the app manages to accomplish; they are probably acting on their sinister plan to of having every smartphone user addicted to its brand of instant gratification. Oh, the shady conspirators.
My solution is to turn the internet connection off. I risk getting shot each time I turn it back on to look for more pictures to draw.
… My capacity for introspection is isn’t exactly first rate because everything, almost everything is available at a couple of clicks.
I waste time and claw my creative self to death more often and more regularly than I use it to keep ideas coming.
I have come to learn that a certain degree of boredom is required to keep things going, considering stuff like writing isn’t accomplished by referring to good textbooks and punching in appropriate values to a Future-of-Humanity-Changing mathematical equation.
Something that was being said about Enoch’s hammer and the Luddite movement and us not being able to experiment with our identities freely because of how our interaction with the internet is programmed; I say, you gotta be kidding me.
Often when I draw or write, I seldom am Ritika Upadhyay. Ze Countess effortlessly takes over and guides the nib. In fact, the internet makes it no more easier our difficult to shed identity and assume anther one, trying on many for size in the prices, or not taking on any at all- the object of my awe, anonymity.
It has fueled a more local and dangerous revolution in out lives.
Like George Orwell said,
“We may find in the long run that tinned food is a deadlier weapon than the machine-gun.”
I have decided to switch to the Bi-Weekly Internet Usage Model to salvage my sanity, sleep and sass. The college’s new obsession with limiting internet usage can only help. Thank you, Internet Mafia Cell?
Downside: Can’t download pdf e-books anymore. Future Skype sessions with family also got slaughtered.
- The Whispers of WhatsApp: Beyond Facebook and Twitter in the Middle East (jadaliyya.com)
- Illustrated Temptations: Beautiful Bastard Series (bookishtemptations.com)
- Why I don’t want to be invisible. (jolauro.wordpress.com)
- How Newspapers Wrote About the Internet in 1988 (washingtonpost.com)
- Selfie bastards (zabdas.wordpress.com)
- Could you go a week without internet? (kitguru.net)