The 7 Stages of Tech Grief

Sudhanshu Ramteke
Saturday, 16 March 2019

The loss of a dear one is never easy and I started feeling something that I had never felt before... nope, not weight loss…grief, I was experiencing grief!

Lost my phone, message here or e-mail if urgent”, I posted on all my social media accounts.

The loss of a dear one is never easy and I started feeling something that I had never felt before... nope, not weight loss…grief, I was experiencing grief!

Stage 1: Shock - I lost my smartphone a few hours ago and was still in disbelief. Every time I moved, I felt something inside my pockets, only to be revealed as disappointment. I repeatedly searched all the frequent hiding points (mostly cushions) in the house and found everything but my phone. Good news, missing Grandpa found; Bad news, phone still not found.

Stage 2: Denial - I convinced myself that one of my friends was playing a prank and soon I will be reunited with my love. I even bought a new cover online so that I could welcome my phone with some gratitude. When my brother pointed out that now I had a spare charger, I placed it securely inside the safe deposit vault and waited for the day when I’ll be using it again. Just like the last date to link your Aadhar card, that day never came. 

Stage 3: Guilt - I owned an Android phone. There were times when I got carried away and ended up comparing it with iPhone. I knew that it was me, not the phone. I wasn’t able to afford high end products and always blamed my phone for poor performance. I felt guilty and promised myself that once my phone was back, I will treat it like the Apple of my i, pun intended. 

Stage 4: Anger - By the end of the week, I was angry with everything that existed. “Why call it a smartphone when it can’t find its way back to the owner?” I questioned technology. “Why have such expensive phones that can’t be replaced even after selling your kidney?” I asked my friends. “Why have phones without anything attached to them?” I asked Grandpa. “You mean fixed landline phones”? He replied. Grandpa went missing again.

Stage 5: Depression and reflection - I was still in mourning and as a mark of respect, I requested all the family members to put their phones on silent mode for a week. Any notification tone was a trigger to happy memories and I realised that my phone was more than a piece of technology. It was:

Like a mother - Woke me up in the morning, ordered food whenever I was hungry and if I stayed up late at night, fell on my face to slap-force me to sleep.

Like a father - Always guided when needed via the shortest route, helped with all those complex calculations and interrupted whenever I was about to speak my heart out by auto completing my sentences.

Like a sibling - Showed my embarrassing pictures to the world, wasted my time by playing useless games and taught me to hurl insults at strangers using all the fancy hash tags.

Like a lover - Responded intimately to consensual touches, never got bored and always held hands. Stayed together, even in questionable places such as the loo. Shared 99.99 per cent love and germs.

Stage 6: Reconstruction and working through - After much ado, I bought a new sim and reluctantly went to the store room to revive my old Nokia not-so-smart backup phone. Ever had a bad phase in your life when you felt so low that you went back to your ex? It felt exactly the same. All the love was lost and we hardly had anything in common. I tried to initiate communication by reintroducing myself but had to press the numpad keys 20 times just to type my name. So much for a rebound!

Stage 7: Acceptance - It was difficult to stay connected to the world without a smartphone and therefore, I was finally ready for a new commitment after three long weeks. I left swiped a number of options before choosing the one I liked. Our budget, specification, colours matched and thus began a new journey of hopes and expectations. I didn’t realise when it happened but I was soon over my grief and happy with my new companion. Mother, father, sibling, and lover — it meant the world to me. 

After note -  Months later, I was sitting with my Grandpa and sharing the experience. “Getting through grief can be painful and I’m glad you healed quickly,” he said. “I was just overreacting, it wasn’t a big deal,” I replied and got up to leave. Something was missing…Something very important.

After six hours of panic mode, I finally opened my laptop and typed in a state of shock — “Lost my phone, message here or e-mail if urgent”.

(Sudhanshu Ramteke is  a stand-up comedian)

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