My ancestral home is a tiny village in the south of India, Sevvur. Unless you are from there or know somebody from the village, there is no way you would have heard about it. It is a sleepy 2.5 street village with a population of less than 1000, and at a given time, there may be less than 50 people living there.

But, one thing we have more than people is monkeys. Yes, we have a monkey problem, so we get a monkey catcher who makes money by transferring monkeys from one village to another. To us, it may look like the problem is being solved, but in reality, monkeys are getting free transportation from their summer home to winter home. And when monkeys are in our village, they perch outside our kitchen to watch my mom cooking. Or they sit outside the windows to look at us as we watch TV. It’s like we are in the zoo, and they are the visitors who are watching us.

On a different note, I got a rowing machine for Christmas to add to my exercise bike and treadmill. And one day, my dad commented that if I could row at home, run indoors, and bike without going outside, I am sure I could also swim without getting into the water. A sassy remark for sure – but it made me wonder what kind of a weird world we live in.

Isn’t it ironic that we have made our living style so convenient that we do not have to bend down or sit down or squat – we eat at the dining table, have sofas, have vacuum cleaners, and so on? And since we need to do those activities, we invented exercise. I remember when I moved from London to Columbus, I was super annoyed that I had to walk for exercise because I used to walk everywhere in London.

Now we can get everything delivered to our homes. And Amazon and Google are working on an Artificial Intelligence idea to ship us items even before we need them. We have watches that tell us whether we have had enough sleep or not. We have gadgets for everything from the time we get up to go to sleep. We wake up to an alarm, take showers that adjust the heat according to temperature. There are kitchen gadgets that make breakfast without cooking, self-driving cars that drive us to work, bots at work replacing humans, our watches tell us when to sit, when to stand and when to exercise. And when we get home, we have Netflix telling us what should we watch.

At this rate, what are we doing? We are losing touch with ourselves – we are becoming incapable of knowing our instincts – when to eat and go to sleep. At this rate, there will be very little difference between humans and robots. Stephen Hawking said that Artificial Intelligence might be the most dangerous thing that humans have invented. And you can see for yourself why. We are on the way to being a society run by artificial intelligence, and it is called artificial for a reason. We are losing touch with the natural intelligence within us, which is vaster than any encyclopedia or Google. The delicate machinery that we call bodies is so complex that nobody has been able to replicate it – instead of honouring it and going within, we are going without.

Are you in touch with your inner self? Stillness speaks – do you listen to it?

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