January is ending and the new year is already a month old. With the new year, have come new commitments and new deadlines. There is, however, a lingering memory of the year gone past that raises its head once in a while. One such memory, was the holiday we took during the end of the year. 
The holiday season was on and here we were spending the last few days of the year with friends and family and taking a much needed break from work. With schools shut and most employers giving holidays for Christmas and the New Year, a lot of us were taking the time out and travelling – seeking out destinations we've never seen before! 
I too got my chance to have a holiday where we got to see nature's grandeur to the fullest in Coorg, which I am told, is also known as the Scotland of India :) Picturesque mountain ranges, deep valleys, misty mornings, the beautiful Cauvery river, winding roads embracing the mountains, sunlight streaming through trees, fantastic waterfalls and amazing sunsets were the highlights of our trip. From elephants to coffee plantations, we got to see things we never would've imagined.

Every morning, we couldn't wait to get out of our lodgings and head to newer destinations! But in addition to nature’s splendor, there was another reason for this….we had no network where we stayed! Yes, our trip was planned last minute and the only accommodation we could get by then was in a lovely homestay, with very good people and comfortable rooms; but no network! And we only found out about this when we reached the place the first night.

I remember travelling with my parents for vacations like this when I was younger and we never faced this problem, not once. But obviously, times have changed! When I was younger, I left my friends back home and my family usually traveled with me. I therefore, did not have to wait for daily updates on WhatsApp and Facebook from  my friends and family. I also did not have to let them know on an everyday basis where I was and what I was doing.

I loved my Kodak camera as a child and all the pictures I took were developed and stored in an album after the trip. But now, with changing times, I take them on my phone; (as far as smartphones go, my phone has one of the best cameras, you know) and then I upload them or share them with my family. Yes, now, my entire family doesn't travel with me – they are all over the place – and I want to share my pictures with them as soon as I possibly can, since that’s the next best thing to having them actually being with me.

Then there is also the small issue of being ‘reachable’ all the time. When I was younger, we traveled during school vacations. My Dad, would take leave from office and give us complete attention during this time. We, however, have no such liberty today. We have to be available all the time, we have to check our mails regularly and we have to take phone calls any time of the day (or even night). The fact that we still call this a vacation is a miracle, really, but then again, times have changed, right?  

Take the simple case of newspapers. How many of our generation still read newspapers? Most of us prefer to read the paper on our phones (or phablets). It is accurate, easy and you can browse the latest news on the way to office or between meetings. What’s more, you can share a link from your phone to someone else’s if you find something really interesting.    

Same goes with research. Where earlier, we used to gather brochures of the places we were to visit and gain information from real talking live people (not the speech enabled search engines) and this made us interact with people more and actually speak with others. Today, technology has seen to it that we do none of that.  

One of the best things technology did was introduce the navigation apps in our smart phones. Now we don’t depend on maps made out on paper anymore, but we let the GPS system guide us and take us to our destination, ensuring that we do not get lost on the way. And this is amazingly accurate too.

But when you land in a place like I did – with lush dense forests letting no network reach you – all these present day wonders wane. The first worry is that you are ‘not reachable’ and then come all the other worries – you don’t have access to your mails, you cannot get the GPS signal, you cannot get up to date news and (the biggest worry, perhaps) no Facebook or WhatsApp updates!

Our initial shock of not getting network was alleviated by our gracious hosts who gave us their cellphone to use as and when we had an emergency (which translated to getting calls from office about twice or thrice a day (Yes, I was on vacation!)). However, theirs was a no frills Nokia phone and sadly, it did nothing to relieve the pain of not having access to Facebook and WhatsApp. We also went back to seeing the real newspapers and actual brochures made of real paper to chalk out our itinerary.

And only when we went back in time did we realize the real meaning of vacation; and how difficult it is for our generation to have a real vacation. When we travelled as kids, we were never expected to be reachable at all times, and we gave all our attention to enjoying the vacation. However, today our phones, laptops and ipods never leave our side even when we are on vacation; and maybe that’s why, a vacation today is pretty much similar to what we normally do in our lives.

Just a couple of days of no network helped us realize how dependent we are on technology today; and it also brought us closer to the things that really matter . When we got lost, we asked the local people and found our way; we made almost no phone calls and received only those that came during the day as a one off case. We did not have to worry about whether our phones had enough charge. In fact, we did not even look at our phones as frequently as we usually do. We slept peacefully and woke up to the sounds of birds, not the alarms on our phones and we were reminded by the rising and the setting of the sun as to where we needed to be at that time (sunrise point, sunset point); and not by the reminders set on our phone.   

We could open our minds and appreciate nature like never before and that I think was the one important thing we took away from this vacation.   


  1. We should use the technology as the tool that helps us to work efficiently, not we should become slave to the technology.

    1. That is true. Anything we get addicted to, is not good. It could be technology or anything else.


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