Hey there, I am Visakh and this is my story about minimalism. Before going through this article I would really suggest you read this when you have a couple of minutes to spare in your life and actually think over what you are going to read next.
I am a software developer so gadgets are a part and parcel of my life obviously. But why is it so? Do software developers need a lot of gadgets to work? After all, the profession says “software” developer so why so many hardware gadgets. I don’t want to start counting the number of gadgets I have with me but I will tell you this — even my Alexa yawns once a day because it has practically nothing to do except turn the light on and off. What a waste of hard-earned money.
Anyways, that is a different topic. Today I am here to talk about mobile phones. Yes, the part of our body which we cannot live without. The thing which we care for like a baby. The thing that makes us complete. The thing we are afraid to go out without. The “ting” that deserves our utmost attention.
I have been a mobile phone user for over 15 years now. I started off with a Nokia 2600 which was handed over from my Dad. Soon I realized that was not enough to support my life because I needed one with more sound. Back then there were these Chinese phones in the market which used to be loooouuddd. So I sold the branded (didn’t know what a brand was in those days) phone for a Chinese one. I spent a portion of my life making others listen to my radio at full volume because of my so-called “investment”.
From that day onwards the phones kept upgrading themselves sometimes for better cameras — from 1 MP to 48 MP, for better processors — low end to ultra high end, for aesthetics — my friend’s phone looks better. And whatnot. Changing phones became the norm of life. And the collective money lost on them. Let’s not talk about that.
The problem is not entirely ours either. The phone companies bring out so many phones that the one you bought an hour ago has just depreciated to half its price. That gives you a feeling that oh no I need the newer one. One thing is for sure the marketing team is doing a splendid job at this. Good job guys !!!
If you are an Android lover, you are not going to love this part. But here goes.
Here is the solution that worked for me. Yes, I bought an iPhone. Now you will be thinking of — what a showoff, he was complaining about phones and he went on to dump a shit load of money on a phone again. Well partly right. But let’s hear my side of the story too. Here is the reason for the whys.
- I purchased an iPhone 12 mini. It’s 5.42 inches in size. Does size matter? Yes for God's sake it’s a phone, it is supposed to be used with one hand and not two hands and a desk to support it like the android phones of today. I need a smaller phone and not a deeper jeans pocket.
- An iPhone doesn’t come out as frequently as an Android phone does. While I am writing this maybe 2 more new phones with 100 MP cameras have been revealed. I am still in search of that person who is going to put those cameras to use one day. I recently had the opportunity to meet a friend who purchased the Samsung Galaxy s22 ultra. I asked him why did you purchase this and he preferred to show me the reason rather speak about it. His reason was he could zoom in and take a picture of a flower on top of the mountain that was many km away from where we were standing. I gave him a pat on the back saying it’s definitely worth the 70 grand.
- The iPhone has something called a Product Red. Product red is an initiative by Apple where a part of your money is spent on charity. You feel less guilty spending so much on a phone now :P
- I forgot to care about new phones that were arriving day in and day out because my phone served everything I ever needed. My screentime went from more than 20 hours a week to less than 7 hours. If you are wondering about the camera it has a 12 MP one :P and it shows the real me — neither ugly nor handsome. Just me.
- And here is the best part. An iPhone comes with a promise to last 5 years. An android will soon wear out or at least the marketers will make you feel so. So you can look at an inflating maintenance cost every year on it.
- I don’t need a 5000 mAh battery and make my pants lose trying to carry them. I can put my phone on charge the other night if I have to travel anywhere the next day.
- I don’t know if this is true, but since then, I am not even being targeted by Google about new mobile phone offers either. I could be wrong on this one though but I rarely see those ads these days.
- The exchange value is good too. Even after 5 years, you will find people who are willing to buy your phone. Android, I don’t know, maybe after 5 years, you can use it as a paperweight.
Anyways this is not an Android vs iPhone post. It’s about adapting to new ways of living and decluttering things from your life. The art of buying new things doesn’t impress anyone for too long. It gives you a sense of achievement but it’s definitely a liability for life.
We spend so much time buying new things that big companies like Amazon are hiring 10,000 workers a month to deliver them faster. Outside India, they have drones too. Think about it, why faster? Did we ask them to deliver sooner? Who is that one person who said I need my Nike shoes by 6 pm today or I will die? Well actually No. The sooner they get it to you the lesser you will have time to think about whether you actually need it or not and the sooner you will buy the next one. Smart ain’t it?
And this has a domino effect. You see a new phone with your friend, and now you want that too. So what do you do? You ask your company for a raise or you work more hours. Your company, to support you increase the price of its services. This creates artificial inflation because everything else gets costlier along with it. You finally get a phone which means more import of raw materials from countries like China. When you a buy a new one, your last new one becomes crap and now the country has to spend money in disposing it. And on and on and on. And if raise is not possible the next way is you either quit or job or work overtime. Both times losing the precious time that you could have given to your loved ones. Is the phone worth all of this? Think about it.
If you look back in time our grandfathers used to work very less hours and used to spend a lot of time with family and community. They were even twice as healthy as us. Believe me, my grandma taunts me saying who will look after her once I am dead. And she is 75 now. We earn double or maybe 10x of what they used to and are not even half as happy as they were.
Thank you for making it this far. This is a series of steps I have taken to minimize my life in the actual sense of it. I will keep updating my journey here till I reach a point where there is nothing left to minimize (#nirvana). With that in mind bye-bye and remember doing more with less is what the essence of life is.