Podcast: If the Phone Dies, We Die

The Tata–Mistry controversy puts Kunaal Roy Kapur and Anuvab Pal in a conundrum. Why doesn't anyone in a position of power ever retire in India? The old guard never seems to retire. A change of hands never seems to take place in Indian family-run enterprises. Speaking of family-run enterprises, Kunaal wonders about the kind of dynamics that an heir to a family business is caught in. All his friends feel like he's got it made, without ever asking him if the business actually makes a profit. For him, the biggest transition will be from his dad's employees calling him baba, to them calling him sahab.

Next, the duo wonders if phones have become essential to our daily survival. What are we without our phones? Can we do anything without our phones? "Food, air, water and a charged phone," says Kunaal are the most important things for survival. Anuvab can't stop obsessing over the level of battery left on his phone. "In the 21st century, 11% of all our brains are only thinking of one thing— is my iPhone charged?" In an earthquake, the first thing Anuvab would do is check whether his phone is charged.

Anuvab is in another pickle. He has started resembling the kind of person he hated in his youth. This brings him to a bigger question, "As we get older, do we inevitably start resembling people we hated in our youth?" Are we only repulsed by them in our youth because something within us knows we will end up like them—not successful, famous or rich but fat, balding and lascivious?

Anuvab's parents trust the absurd messages they get on WhatsApp more than they trust him. If parents have to listen to such junk all their lives, why do they even send their children to schools and colleges? WhatsApp groups have become a large repository of irrationality and superstition.

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