I was very happy last week- a lot of people liked my blog on Human Tech experience. Satya Nadella was everywhere-on prime-time television, newspaper editorials, magazine covers spreading his Satya Vachanam that we are in a mobile – first, cloud first, Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing world. I was really basking in this make-believe world of “Virtual Reality.” The next morning, I had a moment of truth.
I was in front of the security guard with my boarding pass and ID proof. I had taken the boarding pass of a flight scheduled at 20.30 PM and landed at the gate at 7.15AM. The security guard politely showed me the corner of the boarding pass having the schedule. Without making eye contact with the security guard and the passenger behind me I fled the scene. My initial “flight response” was to get home. Then my “fight response” kicked in, “what will my wife think?” So, I decided to apply my mind and not get emotional and look at the next options. Why can’t I take the next flight? In the next one hour I fixed the plan, thanks to this mobile friendly world when I could get in touch with my ticketing person, called that 1800000 number with a lot of courage, mailed the requirement and finally got the ticket for a 2 PM flight.
As they say you only a need a chip and a chair to work these days in this digital world. I got inside a CCD. I was progressing with work and in comes a call from an old colleague mentioning about the sad demise of a friend Aaron Watson. He got to know through his WhatsApp group and since he knew I was the one who introduced him to Aaron, he thought I was in touch with him. It was a moment of shock. I said no, I was not in touch with him for the past few months. We were only on FB for the past two years. I was really agonised. I went through the SMS storage and I found that we got in touch on 4th October 2013 and our last communication was on 5th October 2015. Thanks to cloud I could reminisce of those old conversations. Since 2015 we were only on FB. The algorithms worked to give both of us information on what we were doing in our lives. I recollected his book “Voices of my heart “and CD “Echoes of footprints” which he had given me 4 years back. Aaron mentored my speech which was titled “You will realise the value on love not in its presence but in its absence.” This moment made me realise the value of this statement.
It was a strange feeling that engulfed me as I felt that I should have spoken to him more often. He did not just mentor just one speech in my view, he had put me on a journey of self-reliance. I always believe you will grow as you give and get value from others. Yet I defined relationships only within a timeline and did not take it down for a lifetime. With these thoughts I landed in a book store as it was getting time for security check in 30 mins. What you think, attracts. I got hold of this book “Silo effect.” In that book on page 16th there was this poignant line which stopped me in my track, “the world is increasingly interlinked as a system, but our lives remain fragmented.” We are all living in silos in a virtual world.
I had a chat with a couple of his friends as well. They all mentioned a similar story as mine. With our breakneck speed of life, dominated by Mobile, Cloud and Algorithm we somehow missed to be in real touch. But I decided to make this time real.
While coming back from the airport I got the details and phone numbers of his in-laws and landed at his house. I had a one-hour chat with his wife and it was one of the most painful heartfelt conversations I had for some time. She thanked me for coming and she mentioned that now I know how much you valued his friendship. In contrast I did not fulfil the rules of relationship, but I guess I realized the value of that speech he mentored, and I was speechless. Our friend Dirish Mohan (who posted in FB with a homage to Aaron) said, “Man is like an island living in a crowded city!”.
Technology shifts are dominating our lives and it is important that we embrace technology so that it can change our lives. However, let us engage ourselves beyond the virtual world. There are people whom we have defined within relationship timelines. Let’s try to change them to lifetime relationships. This is the “real” truth (Satya Vachanam).