On 29th April 2017 there was an internet shutdown in the whole of my village. Neither the landline nor phone network was working. On calling Vodafone, they said that the stuff will be fixed in a week. After couple of days without internet I noticed that my evenings felt longer i.e. I had more time to do other things. The 1.5 hours which I usually dedicate for internet was not there anymore. All the other activities which had internet running in the background got done quicker, as they got all the focus. This increased the availability to a solid 3 hours every evening. At the end of the week, when I mentioned this to a friend, she jokingly asked if more free time led to more fights between my wife and I. Another friend came to rescue and said “Let’s just say that they got to understand each other better”.
That was true. She had a Smartphone and her activities would normally go into whatsapp, viber, instagram, pinterest etc… Now she also had more time. We unconsciously started probing into the minor details and starting eating each other’s head. We were newly married. She would be bothered by the way I handle clothes and I would be annoyed as how much oil she uses in the cooking. She is an artist in her pastime. She has an eye for perfection over subjective things (notice the irony), which is against my binary nature. She was shot up on nerves when I ignore her issues with colours not matching or carpet having wrinkles etc…We had eventually more of such tiffs and silent times just during the first week without internet. And Vodafone did not get it fixed. They said it might take one more week or longer.
In a way, lack of internet led us to more conversations. We meddled with more objects at home and dug up their history. We were observant to the tiny details over each other. Eventually we had more arguments. At some point, it felt as if the whole 6 hours back home was reserved for being sad and hopeless about each other. It was hard. Not having internet gave no option to be diverted from this and our efforts went into other required things like cleaning the home.
Setting aside our mental state in those weeks, the home was always clean. We also went for frequent running or outings in restaurants or somewhere. It made us feel physically able and thereby mentally reinforcing. Like any other addiction, there were withdrawal symptoms from the internet too. There was one spot in my home near the living room window where her phone would have a minor signal. During the first two weeks, I would stand by those windows often.
Third week: unusually things started going well. We had happy time. We were suddenly tuned to and started to address our mutual needs well. Her menstrual period co-incidentally got over in the same week too, but that was not the reason to the fights that happened. We as two persons starting to live close quarters had differences just like any couple: differences in mindset, behaviour, habits or objects of personal importance etc… All I could hypothesize was that these arguments over such differences were bound to come anyways: slow and dispersed over time when internet should be available. Now without internet and the sudden availability of time, the arguments occurred all at once in just two weeks. It certainly made us understand and accept each other’s nature in a quicker way.
My internet is off since three weeks now. I don’t have cable TV at home, I have not subscribed to any newspapers or magazines and I don’t have a Smartphone. I have no “This might be your need” suggestions and I have no news threatening my peace here. I come back from work. I read a book, I write, I spend time with my wife, we run and of course we understand each other better on turbo mode. I call my friends and talk to them. I’m available and I’m living my life with less distractions. I’m happy in my village and I have no idea what’s happening on the other side of the mountain. Three weeks crossed. My withdrawal symptoms have vanished. Although I miss reading news, I’m really accustomed to this new reality and feel healthy about it.
There is a refugee shelter near my office: I had this passing thought: Had I no information and news fed stereotypes in my head, maybe I’d have been more willing to help a refugee as a lost traveller or a guest in need than protesting to the government to erect walls fearing that my life is in danger. Is it my fear or does the news want me to fear?
Vodafone guys just sent a message today. They are sending over a technician in a couple of days to fix my internet.
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