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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Captured and Frozen till eternity

One of the easiest ways to understand the meaning of 'Happiness' is to watch a person's body language. And it gets even better if you are are able to capture that moment forever. 

I was lucky for I managed to do just that. 

One lovely morning at the beach in Muscat.

He was so happy and I was so happy just watching him.

Then I clicked.... 

....Hey presto. 

Happiness is...

Here it is
Frozen till eternity

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fomo, Nomophobia, Keeping Up with the Joneses and Social Media

When we were growing up, the term ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ was routinely used and inherently implied one of two things: a) Keeping up with the Joneses was not a nice thing to do for one could always go ahead and carve one’s own niche b) It was exactly the ‘thing to do’ and heaven help those who tried otherwise.

I’m happy to say that I decided to take a middle path – did what I had to, and managed to keep an eye on what others were doing as well.But in today’s world, that same phenomena has taken on and is rapidly moving further towards ‘gigantic’ proportions. Here’s the story of how I arrived at this conclusion.

Last week while sipping my coffee after the weekly groceries were done, I was fairly absorbed in a newspaper when I heard two female voices referring to each other as 'fomo'-addicts.

Much merriment followed and the conversation moved on to some other topic in a while. But my curiosity had been aroused and discretely looking back when I could, I noted that they must have been in their early to mid thirties.

But the term had got to me and definitely needed to be checked out because (and here I confess) I hadn’t heard that term earlier. A quick Google check when I returned home, and this is the definition that I liked best.

The Urban Dictionary, defines fomo as "fear of missing out" – The fear that if you miss a party or event you will miss out on something great, then goes on to give us a sentence made with that word, “Even though he was exhausted, John's fomo got the best of him and he went to the party”.

I think that sentence really does say it all! And I clearly understood what the two women in the coffee shop were giggling about.

On a more serious note, look around and it will become clear, many of us are now in the grip of this 'fomo addiction' – the fear of missing out on something or someone more interesting, exciting or better than what we’re currently doing.

Goes without saying, that this has been magnified by new technology such as Facebook and Twitter and the ever increasing tribe of social media sites, which relentlessly broaden our scope for comparison.

While I’ve written about the many plus points of the social networking experience in a few of my earlier columns and blogs, it is important to clearly take note of the very real potential pitfalls as well.

Think about a young student who hasn’t fared well in his or her board exams and is trying to avoid meeting people. So what does that person do all alone?Probably turn to his or her computer and eventually get to one of these sites where all the others are reveling in their glory and receiving congratulatory messages from common friends.

The very thought of what this young person goes through is so depressing that I'm choosing not to expand on it any further.

On a related note, did you know that nomophobia, the fear of being without your mobile, affects 66 per cent of us? In the latest study, of the 1,000 people surveyed in the UK, 66 percent said they felt the fear.

Young adults – aged between 18 and 24 – tended to be the most addicted to their mobile phones, with 77 per cent unable to stay apart for more than a few minutes, and those aged 25 to 34 followed at 68 per cent.

That number is up from a similar study four years ago, where 53 percent of people admitted to the phobia. Think about it enough and you might realise that you’re probably in that category too and I confess that I’m probably half way there myself!

So what are the solutions? This is something that each one of us will have to clearly define and prioritise for ourselves as there is no single or correct answer here.

The balancing act is probably the most difficult one to manage and if we have the will, there will always be a way. Here’s welcoming September with the hope that cooler weather will be here soon and in order to wean yourself off a possible/exiting 'fomo' or 'nomophobic' condition, I can only suggest that meeting and bonding with friends in 'real time' is a good way to make that start....

(NB- This piece was originally written for my column My Take in Muscat Daily)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What 'best' memories are made of

Last evening  I spent some time looking at some old photographs. Correction,  they were not really'old 'photographs, but they date back to just about five years ago.

And what I saw saddened me somewhat. Because many of the people in those photographs were no more. Particularly, those who were in their seventies then - I counted and at least six of them weren't alive any more.

I spent some time thinking about it, then realised that there was really  nothing that anyone could have done about it. All of them had died of age related illnesses and despite medication and hospitalisation, they eventually passed away.

Memories are made of this
As the old adage goes, 'time and tide really wait for no one' and the fact of the matter is that all of us will be gone one day. All we can do is to keep the happiest memories of  those who are now gone, close to our hearts and every now and then take a break, pause  and reflect on the best they had to offer us.

So one of the best things one can do is to look at a flower, a garden, a sunset and think of them. For memories are truly made of these and by associating the things we love with all the things they loved, we are definitely doing the right thing.

That of keeping them alive ...forever...