Thursday, April 24, 2014

"U" for "Umwelt"

Umwelt as per wiki means the environment or surroundings to which a particular organism is adapted to or which affect its behavior. In simple words it comprises of everything which makes up the “model” of the world suitable for an organism to live. As I started thinking about this word nothing other than “facebook” came to my mind. Facebook is umwelt to all possible human beings from a toddler to a retired old man. A toddler creating a profile is slightly tough as he can punch only the air with his fists and not the keys of the laptop. Parents of today are more than happy to create an umwelt for their kiddos who just started breathing the not so fresh air of the earth and are rocking the world in their cradle.


They for sure don’t have to rock the world with their facebook profile or a page. It’s funny when a busy dad working in a software company creates a profile for his month old son and sends requests to everyone snatching the baby’s freedom and privacy of creating his own profile when he grows up! The same parents after 10 years will for sure complain about their son and his fellow friends as they will be spending unusually long time in front of the computer. Dad will buy an iPad or a Samsung galaxy tab for a 15 year old and repent later as he gets transfixed by the tab and spends hours holding it ignoring people around him. The sleek and beautiful umwelt was provided to his dear son by himself and hence there’s no scope to actually restrict and complain much.

I remember a time when umwelt to me meant our 4 room quarter with a beautiful garden well maintained by mom. I used to help her in gardening. When power used to go off without any prior notice during those hot sweltering summer nights we all used to gather outside our home under the natural AC of a Neem tree along with neighbors whom we all knew by names and played antyakshari. We used to have a candle light dinner and enjoy to the fullest even in the midst of mosquito bites. Now all a kid wants to do is stay in his own private umwelt and play temple run or angry birds in an air conditioned room. It’s surprising to me when I see an eight year old absorbed in apple products playing all the games to hearts content. The boy is cut off from social life at an early age. By the time he grows he might suffer from social phobia. Social phobia or social anxiety is a condition which is predominant these days. The way a 9 year or 10 year old kids make facebook their C/O address disheartens me.  I had a latest experience in a wedding where a 14 year old girl was totally immersed in her smart phone and the facebook app. I was trying to talk to her but she was lost somewhere. I also have a smart phone but what is the point of going out in a gathering when all you want to do is check your updates and live in your cozy dim corner even there?
Image source : here

A mother to a Son: “Why are you always sitting in front of your laptop? It is not good for your eyes. Go out in the garden area and play.”
The son takes his laptop to garden area and starts playing there. You all would have come across this joke on internet in the recent past which holds true for many kids.
“Mom. Do you know that the fucker who is involved in match fixing earned some 50 lakhs!” says 11 year old Aakash to his mom much to her bewilderment.
“Aakaaaaaash. Where did you learn these words?” stormed Aakash’s mom.
“Oops. Sorry mom.  The other day I saw a comment on some photo on a website where many different words were used for that match fixer. Honestly it just came in the flow mom. I am really sorry.” Replied Aakash.
At some point of time both mom and son stop bothering about the cuss words in the movies, TV or internet as they are abundantly available anywhere. Kids follow the footsteps of parents. If parents are happy in their virtual umwelt then kids have no other choice than getting adapted to the same umwelt. It’s not uncommon to see a father and daughter staying in touch only via facebook comments or pings. Friends can be partners in Farmville or criminal case but very few people take time to meet in real and have a cup of coffee and a happy face to face conversation.  It is high time for everyone to start thinking about their cozy umwelts where they are in touch with whole world but they are absolutely oblivious when it comes to knowing a neighbor. It’s a task which they feel is tougher than adding a friend on facebook. They are ready to add the neighbor or a person sitting in the next cubicle in office if he/she sends a friend request!
“You feel like having greenery in the blue ground

You don’t want to hide behind a wall, you want to be found
If you are unheard you make a lot of sound
You shout in rage and cry as if you got a wound
Slowly thy fans and the folks arrive one after the other in a round
These figures are better than your savings. You can smile and turn around!”
The above poem is dedicated to facebook users who enjoy the facebook veggie delight every day. The veggie delight here means the people who are as good as vegetables on face book. This poem is also for those who think facebook can heal and seal all their wounds. All offence meant to them!
 So, what is your umwelt? Do you want to change it?

My favorite Tea time posts from yesterday :)

Dee takes me to flashback with Throwback- Back in my day 

RajRupa's lively Train Travel experiences 

Suzy Que's Temple

Richa's Time for Change

This is my 21st  post for  A to Z challenge 2014

32 comments:

  1. Thanks for dropping by at my blog earlier Afshan. I do agree that most of us are responsible in the way our kids are turning out...with regards to their smartphone and social media habits.The antakshari in the garden when there was no power at home resonated with me...I remember doing something on those lines in my childhood too...those were the days of human contact and not just virtual contact!

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    1. :) ya those days are totallly GONE with whooosh sound :)
      now a days it is tough to restrict kids

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  2. Ha ha...so true! Social media is simply spoiling today's kids, we like it or not.

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    1. They know more than we do which stumps me every damn time :)
      Thanks for reading my post

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  3. Social media used well is transformational, abused (like anything else) is a curse. You've brought out the problems very well.

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    1. Ya it is like both curse and boon to me. Thanks for liking my post

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  4. hey babe...did u write on the topic Umwelt for the '1HUNDREDWORKS' contest?..they had this as topic.
    U would have clearly won :D

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    1. Yep I had written and I didn't win. Reposted it here as I never used on my blog :) thanks for liking it !

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  5. This is a great article, Afshan. Thank you, I enjoyed reading it. The point you've raised about the predominance of social media saddens me too. It's an unreal world!

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  6. Very well written.Yes,my kid is on her laptop after she is back from school.My screaming makes no sense to her.She is on facebook too.

    Many kids these days are like her & they find that cool !

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  7. Ohh I had never heard of this word...Interesting post this Afshan

    U for Uncanny-Random Thoughts Naba

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  8. This is a new word for me, but your examples make it clear. I agree about the effects of Facebook -- on one hand people are so worried about their privacy and on the other they share way too much on Facebook. I'm rather tired of seeing proud parents displaying their children potty-training. And the cell phone -- it's amazing what a phone can do these days, but there's nothing more pathetic than seeing a couple at a nice restaurant both on their phones rather than talking.
    Thanks for visiting my blog!
    Wendy at Jollett Etc.

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  9. Love ur umwelt, Afshan. It's so true how today FB, Whatsapp and Instagram has robbed children of innocence, plucking leaves in garden or playing hide and seek or Kabbadi. A great take and let's hope for better days in this rush to make e-world our world.

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  10. I learnt a new word today. The way kids are growing up so fast and learning so many things, I wonder how I will take care of my kids when I have one. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

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  11. Times are so different now than when I was growing up. I'm sure each generation feels that way...but this present generation no longer seems to know what going outside and experiencing the real world means. Sad.

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  12. I had never heard of this word before!

    It is sad indeed that technology is both a blessing and a curse. One of the fun parts about being a kid was being able to play physical outdoor games with neighbours and classmates!

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  13. This word is new to me...and I just stumbled on your blog today:( I loved reading this..I loved the poem..amazing!
    My lil bro is ten years old... You should see him immersed in his laptop! I shut off my phone for a few hours everyday..my way to just keep a balance and get some peace of mind for a few hours

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  14. Tks for an intro to a new word Afshan:) Also your post is something so important in the current scenario...each of us needs to think more and give time to our kids rather than stuff a gadget in their hands to keep them quiet and engage them with something/anything while we want some peace/quiet, coz that one step leads to so much damage as they grow.

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  15. Hmnn...I don't really know what is my current umwelt....

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  16. You learn something new everyday...thank you!

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  17. Umwelt: what an excellent word. I wish I could see as far as the farthest ocean, because the one thing the internet has done for me is expand my horizons in a wondrous way. However, I understand and agree with you that there is an imbalance between what we call IRL ( in real life) and social media.
    However, I will tell you this: As an adult, years ago, I met my best friend by reading a news letter. I then interviewed her for it. The interview was published.
    We have never met, but she remains my best friend and if not for computers (although not Facebook) we would never have been able to keep up the conversations we delight in, via email. Phone calls help too, but the computer has made a huge difference for us, It is a good thing in that way, even if it can get out of control ! xox jean

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  18. Nice use of umwelt...I sort of dread this word as I had taken part in the 'Umwelt' competition.

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  19. I learnt a new word today.Thank you! And quite a thoughtful post too, well done! There is a thin line between the right use of technology and the overuse of technology...it is important to remember that.

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  20. You're perfectly right that it depends on the parents how they choose to bring up their kids and how much freedom they choose to give their child! It's just that they should be comfortable with their choices later on!!

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  21. You have just nailed the current scenario. I seriously dont understand why do parents need to open their child's page and all that..

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  22. reality penned in a nice way :)

    http://jrnywithprabhu.blogspot.in/

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  23. An aunt of mine opened a FB account for her son as soon as he was born. And then sent friend request to the "uncles and aunties" around. How ridiculous. If grown ups don't adhere to the rules, then what do we expect from kids.

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  24. Could relate a lot to this post. In summers, during the power cut, all kids used to gather and play stuff like chain cut, colour colour with so much hungama and the elders used to sit and gossip. Talking to people was easier back then. Now one minute of free time and everyone wants to check their mobile phones, I'm shocked. To be so connected too, is dangerous. Some people don't like to sit alone without a mobile. I mean what's so difficult. Be with yourself, how bad can that be!

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  25. My kids don't know what it's like to live in a world without social media and smart phones. Because they have instant friends through these, they sometimes think they are "friends" with other kids, when they are actually only acquaintances. It's something I have to watch, to make sure they aren't sharing information with people they don't know.

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What do you think about this ? I always love to hear back.A comment or a brickbat boosts me to write more but the mud slinging shall be promptly vacuumed.
Thanks for your time :)

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