I have always admired my friend, Jhikki, for her practical attitude towards life. She comes across as a mature and peace-loving person. She worries too much about the changes occurring at a fast pace in present day lifestyles. "Some changes are absolutely unwarranted for and rather harmful," she often observes.
Jhikki is not much of a traveller by choice, rather she dislikes travelling; but now that her daughter has been married in a far-off city, she has to visit her sometimes. She says that her favourite train happens to be the Shatabdi Express. The reason? It being a fast train saves time, making the journey somewhat comfortable for her. And she is proud that our country runs such trains, a true patriot that she is.
A few days ago, Jhikki turned up with a sullen look on her usually calm face. "I read in a newspaper that they are going to install an LCD TV for every passenger in all Shatabdi trains," was her grievance.
"But what is there to be so worried about?"
"Worried? Oh, I wish you could understand. It'll become impossible for me to travel by this train if it really happens," she lamented.
"Why so? I think you can just keep your own TV switched off and stay calm," I said, imagining that this might bring my friend back to her normal, cheerful self.
"My dear, it's easier said than done! Just imagine when your co-passenger has the TV on, how can you stay unaffected? Even if there is no sound, the picture is bound to distract you." I could quite follow Jhikki's predicament but really had no solution to offer.
"And you know how I like to sit quietly and ruminate over the ideas that cause such a commotion within me! Many a time I have an engrossing book with me, for which I could not take time out at home," Jhikki said, airing her grouses one after the other, "I strongly feel as if a passenger's rights are going to be usurped by installing TVs in the train."
"Yes, indeed it is a blessing to be able to sit quietly, just conversing with your own self. Even I thrive on such a state of being and in the modern set-up, it's not all the time that one gets such opportunities," I said. Jhikki laughed and said, "We have similar choices; no wonder our friendship has been going strong for four decades." Again turning serious she said, "Basically, we are so over-exposed to these electronic gizmos that we need to observe some TV, internet or mobile phone off days."
I could not but agree with my miffed friend when she further commented, "Too much use of technology is wreaking havoc in our lives; a guarded and conservative use is the need of the hour if we want to ensure a quality life on this planet."
I have to confess that all my encounters with Jhikki invariably leave me, with something to contemplate on. How I envy her!