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Apropos Mukul Kesavan’s lead story in your anniversary special (Talking to my Selfie, Nov 3), no doubt mobile phones have changed our lives forever: the world lies within the palm; everyone is on call. There hasn’t been a device as democratising as the cellphone: the millionaire, the colony grocer, the doctor, the coffin-maker, the pundit, the milk vendor, the banker in New York, the Masai tribesman in Kenya, the Bhilala woman in her village on the banks of the Narmada...everyone has a mobile phone for business and personal use. On the streets, when I see people walk by, lost in conversation, one shoulder shrugged up to hold the mobile phone to the ear, I find myself wondering how business was ever carried out before the technology. The sight of people using the phone while driving or while riding scooters or bikes evokes in me a strong urge to slap them. But that’s not the worst of the ills of mobile technology. Internet addiction in its various forms, the misuse of networking, its deployment in crime and terrorism—these pose threats on a far greater and long-term scale than automobile accidents caused by drivers preoccupied in a mobile conversation.
M.C. Joshi, Lucknow
Your choice of the mobile phone for the cover story of your 19th anniversary issue shows a certain ‘village’ mindset. Perhaps you will take a few years more before devoting an issue to the internet.
Parthasarathy, on e-mail
Does cellphone technology invest us with a new freedom or does it enslave us to useless chat and cut us off from reality?
Dinesh Kumar, Chandigarh
In the army, we used to say the most dangerous thing you could encounter in a jungle is a young second lieutenant wandering clueless with a map spread across his hands. On a highway, the most dangerous creature you could encounter is someone texting with his/her thumbs while driving.
C.V. Venugopalan, Palakkad
Cellphones can have a negative impact on close relationships. Researchers from the University of Essex found that people who engage in personal discussions when a cellphone was nearby even if neither was actually using it, reported lower relationship quality and less trust for their partner; they also felt their partner was less empathetic to their concerns.
Mahesh Kapasi, Delhi
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