The happiest day of my life was when my daughter was born. I held that tiny human being, my own daughter, in my arms and realized that she had just become the center of my universe. That feeling of euphoria was shared by my wife. When we left the hospital to go back home a few days after the delivery, I held my daughter close to me and whispered a promise in her little ear: I would always be there for her.
However, the heaven we had created in the space of a few days came crushing down when we noticed how radically this new member of our family changed the course of our daily life routine. I was very busy at work and always tired when I came home from office. I had been accustomed to ‘home’ being a quiet, peaceful haven, where I could take rest and strengthen myself to face the next day’s tasks. Now ‘home’ had become the kingdom of the little princess, and that kingdom was far from being quiet or peaceful. It was instead filled with the baby’s cries, her dirty clothes scattered around, and flocks of cooing aunties coming to see the little one. My wife had no time to cook dinner for me anymore. When I tried to enter the kitchen to cook for myself, I stepped on a toy and hurt my foot. The fridge had nothing but baby bottles inside it. I turned around wondering whether my wife would mind it or even notice, if I went out to eat.
It was around that time, that I bought the smartphone that I had been eyeing for a few months. It was to console myself, because my life had become so hard. It was to divert me, to entertain me, to make me feel better. Now whenever I felt lonely, I could take out my new phone and read the jokes my friends sent to me; whenever I felt tired, I could play a soothing song on it; and when I felt bored, I could read the news on it. This way, I was able to suffer in silence without complaining to my wife, who was already so busy with the baby.
After long months, Diwali came, and with it, my parents. My father was delighted to get to play with his granddaughter at last. My mother noticed something was wrong right away.
“What are you doing?” she hissed at me.
I looked around myself, puzzled. I was sitting on the sofa with my smartphone in hand, playing a game. My wife and my father were in the kitchen, feeding the baby. “Nothing, Ma!”
“Exactly!” she hurried to me and snatched the phone out of my hands. “You are just sitting with this phone all the time! As if you didn’t even notice that there are people around you! That too, family members!”
I secretly wanted to ask to get my phone back, but it didn’t feel right. “I didn’t mean it like that, Ma. I was just taking a little break…”
“Do you really need a break from your family, huh?” my mother was getting really angry now. That surprised me. What exactly was the problem? “Don’t you get it, beta? You are not spending time together with your family. You are missing out on everything, because you are so busy with this phone! Your wife told me. It is not like this only today. It is like this every day. When was the last time that you let go of your phone and instead held your daughter? Don’t remember? See, this is sick.”
Horrified, I realized my mother was right. I got up, felt tears come to my eyes. Before I started crying, my mother grabbed my hand and led me to the kitchen. There, my father was holding my daughter and feeding her out of a bottle. When she noticed I had come in, my baby pushed the bottle away and looked at me with a broad smile on her little face. “Ah-aa!” an excited scream escaped her lips. She was wearing a yellow dress. Although my wife had never liked it, she knew well that yellow was my favorite colour. I tried to remember if I had seen that dress before. I didn’t remember. I walked to my father, who handed my daughter to me. I held the baby carefully. She was still looking at me and smiling. I smiled back.
Then I glanced at my wife. Slowly I asked her: “Is the dress new?”
I realized that real togetherness is indeed away from the phones and technology that enslave us and closer to the people around and the nature. Don’t miss the real Joy of togetherness video below.