Wednesday, 2 October 2013


Umwelt as per wiki means the environment or surroundings to which a particular organism is adapted to or which affect its behaviour. In simple words it comprises of everything which makes up the “model” of the world suitable for an organism to live. As I started thinking about this word nothing other than “facebook” came to my mind. Facebook is umwelt to all possible human beings from a toddler to a retired old man. A toddler creating a profile is slightly tough as he can punch only the air with his fists and not the keys of the laptop. Parents of today are more than happy to create an umwelt for their kiddos who just started breathing the not so fresh air of the earth and are rocking the world in their cradle.

They for sure don’t have to rock the world with their facebook profile or a page. It’s funny when a busy dad working in a software company creates a profile for his month old son and sends requests to everyone snatching the baby’s freedom and privacy of creating his own profile when he grows up! The same parents after 10 years will for sure complain about their son and his fellow friends as they will be spending unusually long time in front of the computer. Dad will buy an iPad or a Samsung galaxy tab for a 15 year old and repent later as he gets transfixed by the tab and spends hours holding it ignoring people around him. The sleek and beautiful umwelt was provided to his dear son by himself.  There’s no scope to actually restrict and complain much.

I remember a time when umwelt to me meant our 4 room quarter with a beautiful garden well maintained by mom. I used to help her in gardening. When power used to go off without any prior notice during those hot sweltering summer nights we all used to gather outside our home under the natural AC of a Neem tree along with neighbors whom we all knew by names and played antyakshari. We used to have a candle light dinner and enjoy to the fullest even in the midst of mosquito bites. Now all a kid wants to do is stay in his own private umwelt and play temple run or angry birds in an air conditioned room. It’s surprising to me when I see an eight year old absorbed in apple products playing all the games to hearts content. The boy is cut off from social life at an early age. By the time he grows he might suffer from social phobia. Social phobia or social anxiety is a condition which is predominant these days. The way a 9 year or 10 year olds make facebook their C/O address disheartens me.  I had a latest experience in a wedding where a 14 year old girl was totally immersed in her smart phone and the facebook app. I was trying to talk to her but she was lost somewhere. I also have a smart phone but what is the point of going out in a gathering when all you want to do is check your updates and live in your cozy dim corner even there?

A mother to a Son: “Why are you always sitting in front of your laptop? It is not good for your eyes. Go out in the garden area and play.”
The son takes his laptop to garden area and starts playing there. You all would have come across this joke on internet in the recent past which holds true for many kids.
“Mom. Do you know that the fucker who is involved in match fixing earned some 50 lakhs!” says 11 year old Aakash to his mom much to her bewilderment.
“Aakaaaaaash. Where did you learn these words?” stormed Aakash’s mom.
“Oops. Sorry mom.  The other day I saw a comment on some photo on a website where many different words were used for that match fixer. Honestly it just came in the flow mom. I am really sorry.” Replied Aakash.
At some point of time both mom and son stop bothering about the cuss words in the movies, TV or internet as they are abundantly available anywhere. Kids follow the footsteps of parents. If parents are happy in their virtual umwelt then kids have no other choice than getting adapted to the same umwelt. It’s not uncommon to see a father and daughter staying in touch only via facebook comments or pings. Friends can be partners in Farmville or criminal case but very few people take time to meet in real and have a cup of coffee and a happy face to face conversation.  It’s high time for everyone to start thinking about their cozy umwelts where they are in touch with whole world but they are absolutely oblivious when it comes to knowing a neighbor. It’s a task which they feel is tougher than adding a friend on facebook. They are ready to add the neighbor or a person sitting in the next cubicle in office if he/she sends a friend request!
“You feel like having greenery in the blue ground.
You don’t want to hide behind a wall, you want to be found!
If you are unheard you make a lot of sound.
You shout in rage and cry as if you got a wound.
Slowly thy fans and the folks arrive one after the other in a round.
These figures are better than your savings. You can smile and turn around!”

The above poem is dedicated to facebook users who enjoy the facebook veggie delight every day. The veggie delight here means the people who are as good as vegetables on face book. This poem is also for those who think facebook can heal and seal all their wounds. All offence meant to them!
 So, what is your umwelt? Do you want to change it?
Afshan Khan


  1. Loved your poem...internet revolution has taken out everything from our life...i don't have anything else to do at home once I am back from office(besides regular housekeeping, baby sitting and cooking chores) other than net surfing and watching TV...sometimes I really feel I need a break from all this...but I return to my lappy thinking...I'll only check notifications for 5 mins...and sad but true...more than 2-3 hrs are wasted ( emphasis is on wasted..not spent) ...this hi tech virus has bitten the meaning out of life... atleast to some extent...

    1. even if the only way to stay in touch with friends and folks is via online , I totally agree with ur point. Many of my works are pending due to the online bug which has bitten me. I try my level best and come out of it but at times I am trapped. Anyway try taking breaks. Eventually it will help :)
      I am glad u liked the poem Nairiti :)
      Thanks for the comment. good day

  2. ;) Umwelt, Need a change...

    Leave Facebook and read posts here...:)

    1. haha
      ya this can be a better Umwelt
      Thanks for reading Pranav


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