Engagement Ke Side-effects: WhatsApp

by The British Asian Blog

On 5th May of 2016, I wrote about my intentions of implementing a 24-hour Internet ban once every week.  You can read about that here.  The timing of this couldn’t have been any better – the engagement ceremonies were just few months away.

It is now fitting to write my experience of the 24-hour Internet ban and how this played in my favour with Simren.

I decided to introduce this Internet Ban on a Wednesday of each week.  This meant on Tuesday midnight till Wednesday midnight I would switch off my Internet access.  I would only access my emails and that too when I was ‘only’ working, and boy oh boy was it hard or what.

I remember the first few Wednesdays, I’d:

  • Repeatedly pick up my phone and think ‘why I haven’t received any messages on BBM, WhatsApp, Viber, Google Hangouts, Telegram, Skype and Twitter’. Let alone the various other email mediums.
  • It made me anxious to know who was trying to reach me, and what if I was missing something important.
  • I repeatedly and subconsciously kept reaching for my mobile device(s) and then realising that I just repeated the same actions just a few minutes ago.
  • I made a few weird and confused facial expressions when during points 1, 2 and 3 as above.

It was weird.

I have now mastered it and I couldn’t any happier over this.

I learnt that:

  • If someone needed me, they’d simply call or text me – even in an emergency.
  • 80% of content I receive over social media application doesn’t benefit me or improve any aspects of my life.
  • If I spent my time reading the 80% of content that doesn’t benefit me or improve any aspects of my life, then I’d be spending ‘an extremely large portion’ of my free time doing something which has no material, spiritual or physical benefit to me at all.
  • I managed to spend more time on improving my life and doing things I enjoyed like street photography, riding my motorbike, reading, writing, cooking, gardening and making more phone calls to check in with people.

This has now changed my mindset dramatically.  I am now finding myself switching off my Internet on my device(s) 2 days a week (Wednesday and Sunday).  I can do the same from 10pm every evening, throughout the night and early morning till about 10am.  I am not watching or reading everything that is sent to me.  I can scan the content in seconds and decide whether to read/watch it or totally ignore it.

In short, I am probably most productive now then I have ever been in the last few years.  I’m being more proactive and getting more stuff done now then I could do before introducing the Internet Ban.

Simren is like me.  She doesn’t use much of social media on her mobile device(s) and that’s her own choice.  She seems to think that despite being more connected socially and virtually we are further physically apart.  In other words, these communication apps simply keep us further apart.  I couldn’t agree with her anymore.

Leading up to our engagement, she realised that I wasn’t on social apps much (by the last login signature each app displays).  She quizzed me over this, and I had to tell a little lie, by saying that I’ve always been like this.  I’ve kept my distance from social media but I value my time and I value physical interactions with people and she loved it.

I further explained how I had complete control of when I use the Internet on my device(s).  What she didn’t know and I haven’t told her, is that I’ve just recently got the hang of it and the confidence to make the Internet a valueless aspect in my life.  I went on further explaining how I switch it off and on (as above).  I could see her facial expressions change like a kitten – she found these little things cute and very much like herself.

It helped being in control of my devices.  For example, when Simren and I would be together (mostly only with the extended family or at an event) I wouldn’t even acknowledge my mobile device(s) until I either had a text or a phone call.  She picked this up.  She realised I was different from the rest.  This is made her snuggle into me more and more.

Now, since our engagement, I don’t have to bother answer questions which I use to get from other ladies in my life “why aren’t you responding to my message”, or “why aren’t you answering my skype call” and or the best “you were checking into the app 4 hours after I sent you a message but you ignored me”.  Simren knows if she needs me she’s got to ring me or very least text me.  This is what I call freedom.

Am I Superman or what.

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