28 January, 2021

The Demon On My Palm: Mobile-Loving India Faces Strange Digital Disorders

The addiction to the internet is emerging as India's newest lifestyle disease but we are not ready to accept it. The smartphone revolution is causing enormous digital distress

The Demon On My Palm: Mobile-Loving India Faces Strange Digital Disorders

She sits pretty on the railing of a bridge, smiling at the camera. A clear blue sky above her and a river far below. She is holding the end of her red saree about her head, as if bracing against the wind. If a picture says a thousand words, the 20-year-old’s photograph tells the sweet story of a newly wed woman. What it doesn’t say is, it is also her last photograph.

On August 16, when Rupali Patel toppled over the Mandleshwar bridge in Madhya Pradesh into a Narmada in spate, she and her husband were busy posing for selfies. A moment of distraction ended it all for her. That very day, some 300 km away at Mandsaur, a mother-daughter duo met with a ­watery end. They, too, were clicking selfies. They were the latest in a country that stands out as the world capital for selfie deaths.

It’s not just death by selfies. In the sweet spot of the world’s digital revolution, something strange is ­happening in India: a mysterious relationship ­between new technology and human ­behaviour. In August, dangerous stunts for video-sharing app...



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