Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Human Touch

It is said that absence makes heart grow fonder. That might certainly be the case, but it doesn't save you from the grips of sadness distance from dear ones create. Technology has advanced considerably so that these days being away doesn't truly mean being away. We have mobiles, emails, voice chats, messenger services and social networking sites which has transformed our world into a kind of global village. Mostly, everyone and everything is within our reach any time of the day. 

Yet, there is one thing that all the technological inventions have failed to solve. It is the purely human feelings of despair and longing that is directly proportional to the distance between you and your family and friends. Sure, you don't have to wait for the letter that comes once in two weeks or the garbled voice echoing on the monthly trunk call any more. There aren't post cards, in land letters or cryptic short telegrams that you need to wait for with bated breath. Perfumed letters from lovers, lengthy letters with details of the daily life from moms to sons and notes with little hearts, rainbows and stick figures from grand kids to grandparents are things of past now.

  If you feel homesick, all you need to do is pick up your mobile and wait for your mom to answer your call. If you feel bored, you can hop onto a whatsapp group conversation with your friends group and plan for an outing. If you miss your lover or spouse working elsewhere, there is Skype or Gtalk that will allow you to gaze lovingly at one another while whispering sweet nothings. If you feel lonely, log into Facebook and browse, chat, post and let the world know your thoughts.   You see, we are always connected; always in touch.

The Zenfone contest conducted by Asus Zenfone (http://www.asus.com/campaign/zenfone/IN/) asked me to give my phone a super power. I consider my Smartphone smarter than me most of the time. These phones come equipped to guide you to your destination, suggest a great restaurant to try, review the latest movies and pick up a book and read when bored. But my mobile will possess the much needed human element; the complete use of our five senses.

Agreed, all we need to do is pick up our smart phone to talk to someone. Agreed, we have facetime and Skype app on the smartphones that allow us to have face to face conversations. Yet, when you are homesick though you want to hear your mom's voice; but you'd rather have one of her bear hugs. When you are bored, though  you can hop onto a group conversation, you'd rather sit cross legged and engage in friendly banter. When you miss your spouse, though you can video chat but you'd rather caress his cheek lovingly or hold her hand and give a gentle squeeze while talking.  When you talk to your lover with sound of rain in the background, you want to feel the coolness of those first drops and enjoy the smell of the first rain. You want to be able to enjoy not just the smell of your mom's cooking but enjoy the taste of your favourite curry. You want to not just listen to your lover's sound but feel the touch of his arm holding you close to him.

Having said that, the super power my phone will possess would be the ability to recreate the five senses which would humanise the conversations further. It is this human touch that would allow me to hold my friend's hand even as she sobs out about her heartbreak on a late night call,  allow my parents to hold my daughter when they coo to her on a long distance call and swat my sister lightly as teases me yet another time. 

 A combination of 3D Holographic projection, touch recognition and artificial intelligence would allow my Smartphone to add the senses of smell, taste and touch to my Smartphone's capabilities. This would mean that when I call home to check on my baby, I am not just listening to her cooing over the phone but hugging her close to me while breathing in her baby soft smell . On the much needed call post a fight with my husband, I would be looking into his eyes and not just apologising but giving a reconciling kiss to make things up. If I feel homesick, all I would need to do is dial my parents and receive a quick hug. If I were to ever miss my sister, a phone call would allow me to sit side by side with her and discuss life's quirks with her over steaming cups of strong flavoured coffee.  If my parents would want to meet their grand kid, their Smartphone would do that for them. Even as I look on with amusement, I would see my parents being transformed into little kids as they play with her from a different continent altogether.

With the world around us hurrying by in a mad rush, it is difficult to keep track of time that has passed by. It is not just time but precious moments that are lost as well. Busy dads miss dinners with family, working moms miss the first steps of their babies, friends stuck on a deadline bound project miss the Friday parties, aunts and uncles miss the wedding they looked forward to. But not anymore.

This new Smartphone would allow you to miss none of these beautiful moments that should never be missed. You get to be not just a passing spectator who views the videos and images captured but be a part of the moment. It would allow you to get the taste of panipuris your friend just shared with your holographic image, push back strands of hair from your baby's face, take in the smell of jasmines from your mother's puja room and lean onto your lover's shoulders and gaze into the horizon, irrespective of your location.

Not just that, this Smartphone will always ensure that you don't have to be worried about your sister walking back home all alone. You will never have to choose between an important meeting and a sick child to take care of. You will never have to miss an important lecture because you missed the bus. You will never have to fear that you are alone without any help in sight. Not when you have a Smartphone that will allow you to truly stay connected.


Zen is the state of being in complete and absolute peace. For a human being who stays outside the realms of mysticism and nirvana, this is the state achieved when you know that you and your near ones are safe and happy. And this is precisely what my Smartphone will help achieve. The state of peace and happiness knowing that being present is just a phone call away. 

This post was written as a part of ASUS Zenfone contest (http://www.asus.com/campaign/zenfone/IN/)

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