image from here

image from here

No, I am not going to rant about the impending doom of humanity because Terminators are here. Neither am I going to convince you that we live in the Matrix. And no, my laptop did not transform into a Transformer and attack me.

What I am going to tell you is that I am suffering from mechanophobia. I fear machines. Not the imaginary machines whose fear Hollywood have instilled in millions of us over the years, but the real machines that surround us all day. It is strange how that fear is instilled by small minor incidents that stay with us and grow their inky black tentacles in our brain as we grow up.

Take for example, the ceiling fan. A very harmless machine, you might say. Not for me. I remember my grandfather telling me years ago how a man was decapitated by a ceiling fan that suddenly decided to part from the ceiling. I was a kid and the story stayed with me and every time someone would switch on the fan, I would look at it with fear as if this was going to be the last swirl of air to hit my face. Till date, winters is my favorite time of the year. A few days after my grandfather told me this story, a ceiling fan fell over my uncle’s massive and turbulent tummy as he was sleeping. It is another story that the fan just bounced off him because of the fats he had accumulated over the years. He lived to tell the tale.

A few days back, a guy died in our locality because he had left his laptop switched on to download movies in the night as he went to sleep. The battery developed some problem and emitted some sort of a poisonous gas. The poor guy did not even knew what hit him. Now, I have this habit too and ever since I have heard this story, I have developed a fear of leaving my laptop switched on at nights. I do not want to wake up in heaven without even knowing what happened. I have started sniffing my laptop and I look very suspiciously at it.

Whenever I am using the grinder in the kitchen to chop onions or garlic, I have this fear that while I am putting them in the grinder, it might get accidentally switched on and I will lose half of my finger. Every time I operate this machine, I imagine half of my finger finely chopped with the chopped onions while the other half squirting blood like a fountain. I just can’t shake off the image.

The machines that carry us places terrify me even more. Whenever I sit in cars or buses, I keep wondering if this is my last day on Mother Earth. What if the car explodes in flames or one of the tyres of the bus burst while the driver is over-speeding? What happens if the Metro fall off one of its pillars? What if the train I am travelling in collides with another one and I am stuck with entangled metal and dead bodies with an iron rod jutting out of my shoulder? I can’t sleep at nights in a train. I keep imagining that all of us are going to DIE! Whoever came up with the bloody idea of running this crazily heavy machine on two thin metal tracks was a fool.

And ever since that Malaysian flight has vanished, my fear of flying has multiplied. Think about it. There is this huge machine made up of a million part flying thousands of feet above the ground and you are encased inside it. Thousands of things can go wrong. One small part stops working and that it it. You will end up screaming to glory, falling to Earth in a huge ball of fire. Or worse, end up as shark food.

And don’t get me started on lifts. Every time I hear that slight creaking of the lift as it fills, I keep imagining that the metal wires that keep it dangling are going to snap and we will all experience zero gravity before splattering to our death. I hate confined spaces that does not give you any chance to save yourself.

I fear the drilling machine too. Every time dad brings it out to drill a hole in the wall, I get all panicky when he switches it on. I keep imagining that the drill bit will fly out of the machine any time and head straight for my head. You can’t imagine how many deaths I die before that machine goes back in its box. I keep imagining the drill bit embedded halfway in my forehead.

And I can go on and on. What if my mobile phone explodes? What if the room heater catches fire while I am sleeping? What if the CFL falls on my head (It fell off once in my room and shattered to pieces. Thankfully, no one was standing beneath it)? Sometimes I feel like a walking Final Destination. All Parts.

Of course, I do not let anyone around me know of my fears. I behave as if I don’t care and am perfectly normal like every one else. They have no idea about the storm raging inside me. But then what do I know about the kind of fears other people are living with? On a basic level all of us are the same. Phobia is a part of our psyche. There was a time when I thought that I was going mad, fearing things that are a part of our every day life. I thought I needed some help. I realized it is not the fear of machines per se. All the phobias stem from our fear of death, of losing something. If you ask someone what they fear, you will always get a couple of things – Dads, Bats, Lizards, Darkness, Men, Women, Loneliness, Sea, Company, Self etc etc. So, I think I am all right. I am not falling to pieces. Not yet.

Now if you would excuse me, I need to go and kill a cockroach. I am the only one in the house who is not scared of them.

2017-11-11T00:38:15+00:00 Tags: , , , , , |

About the Author:

Amit Sharma is the Author of fiction novel False Ceilings published by Lifi Publications in January 2016.
Amit always keeps a book and a portable reading light in his bag (much to the amusement of his fellow travellers). His other hobbies include watching world cinema, travelling, staring at hills, digging into various cuisines, cooking, listening to music, painting, blogging, making his daughter laugh and helping his wife with her unnecessary and prolonged shopping.
He is currently working on his Second novel which is a thriller.

27 Comments

  1. Sreetama March 29, 2014 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    I can relate to your plight, especially the grinder one. I didn’t know about the dangers associated with keeping laptops on overnight! 😮 But I do get scared of my cell phone at times. What if it explodes mid conversation or while charging!

    • Amit April 1, 2014 at 10:03 am - Reply

      Yes, I have heard a few stories of laptops and mobiles. It is better to use them when you are wide awake. I don’t charge my mobile when I am asleep. The room might be on fire when I wake up. 🙂

  2. crazyambivert March 29, 2014 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    Ha ha 🙂 . Enjoyed reading it ! Believe me, I share the fear of ceiling fans too .. When hit by insomnia, All I do is stare at it and wonder what if it just fell on me ? Im back after a bit of a hiatus and enjoyed reading this ! 🙂

    • Amit April 1, 2014 at 10:05 am - Reply

      Thank you. 🙂
      Yes, ceiling fans take the top spot for me too. I am glad that there are ACs available now. The faster the ceiling fan is moving, the greater my anxiety. So, I prefer switching on the AC.

  3. K. Mathur March 29, 2014 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    I have many of your fears but like everyone else, continue using machines with fingers crossed surreptitiously as they do make life easy.

    • Amit April 1, 2014 at 10:06 am - Reply

      Yes, we don’t have an option. We have to live cautiously in their presence. It is amazing how we have already started fearing them. 🙂

  4. Malyaj March 29, 2014 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Valid fears indeed !
    I fear many of these because of the casualness these are used without any heed being given to the safety procedures. Eg. people driving without seat belts on, riding without helmets, not all concerned about traffic rules, starting the grinding even before the lid is closed securely, using naked wires instead of replacing them with proper equipment, using other ‘jugaads’ etc
    I was especially miffed at the casual attitude of a work-person when he came to drill a few holes at my house for some equipment. My concerns were taken very lightly by him and brushed aside. That seems to be the general attitude of the common junta sadly.
    And many a times my fellow men feel that safety procedures will put a dent in their “macho” image. Sigh ! I’ll rather have safety.

    • Amit April 1, 2014 at 10:08 am - Reply

      I agree. When accidents happen because of our negligence, the machines can hardly be accused. What really scares me is when a machine malfunctions and you are affected out of the blue.

  5. Sapna March 30, 2014 at 9:28 am - Reply

    haha Good one. I must say you are not alone esp. the ceiling fan. I used to do that during the forced afternoon naps during my childhood. Stare at the ceiling fan and wonder what if it fell on me. I thought I am a freak. Now I know I am just “normal” 😛

    • Amit April 1, 2014 at 10:10 am - Reply

      I am very glad that there are so many people that share my fear of ceiling fans. One day, when we will rage a war against them, I will have a lot of people fighting on my side. 😛

  6. themoonstone March 31, 2014 at 7:47 am - Reply

    That was hilarious ! As far as your fear about ceiling fan goes, I share it completely, after one fell down in my mom’s house but luckily didn’t hurt anyone ! Phew. Once that image is established, its hard to get over your fear 🙂
    For me the I dread the mixie ..not cutting my fingers, but suddenly erupting due to the sheer force, the contents, the jar and the blade flying off in all directions !
    Mobile phone as well, after I heard of people burnt due to explosions while using it when charging.
    But for all you know, it might not be machines which will kill us, but something much more mundane like a brick falling over the head or the sheer fumes of automobiles which are anyway killing us day by day 😀

    • Amit April 1, 2014 at 10:16 am - Reply

      Thank you Moonstone. I am happy to find people who share my fears. 🙂
      Yes, that eruption happened in our house a few years back. The Mango Shake came out flying and smeared everyone.
      And I forgot to mention pressure cookers here. I know a lady who was burnt because of an exploding pressure cooker.
      I know! The ironies of life. You might survive an airplane crash but might die by falling off the bed.

  7. Rachna March 31, 2014 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Oh Gosh! It looks like our homes are just waiting to erupt on us :D.

    • Amit April 1, 2014 at 10:16 am - Reply

      I know! And we don’t even realize how dangerous our surroundings are. 😛

  8. Ruch March 31, 2014 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    I keep getting stray thoughts about electrocution whenever I switch on or off the geyser 🙂

    • Amit April 1, 2014 at 10:17 am - Reply

      One of my relatives died because of electrocution.

  9. pooja March 31, 2014 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    Haha! You made all our lives seem so much more adventurous! 😀

    • Amit April 1, 2014 at 10:17 am - Reply

      It is! But we hardly pay heed to the facts. 😛

  10. Ms April 1, 2014 at 10:31 am - Reply

    All your fears plus a hundred more. Flying tops the list – once took 4 valiums instead of the one recommended by my doctor – on a 7 hour flight. Was wide eyed throughout, was given oxygen by crew due to hyperventilation, staggered through immigration and was shaken awake by taxi driver since I slept soundly during the 30 minute ride. Woke up confused and panicky without any memory of events following disembarkation from plane to waking up in the taxi.

    • Amit May 11, 2014 at 6:43 am - Reply

      I am scared of flying too. I can write a book listing the various fears that hit me when I fly. And my wife laughs at me holding my sweating hands. Don’t ask.

  11. ashreyamom April 1, 2014 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    ok.. i had these feeling for few days after I watched the movie “Final Destination”.. how even small things can kill people.. if u have not watched it, please dont, it will scare u more..

    • Amit May 11, 2014 at 6:44 am - Reply

      Yes, that movie just multiplies your fears. Who was the idiot who thought of that idea?

  12. reekycoleslaw April 2, 2014 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Hahaha….that ending was classic!

  13. jojo April 5, 2014 at 3:05 am - Reply

    If this is a piece of fiction then I’ll call it hilarious. But if you are living with all these fears then I’ll say ‘Que Sera Sera…whatever will be will be’. This mantra helps me overcome my fears.

    • Amit May 11, 2014 at 6:45 am - Reply

      No, it is definitely not fiction but not entirely true either. I don’t think about my fears all the time. 🙂

  14. sanityvows May 17, 2014 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Hey! I have nominated you for the Liebster Award! Waiting for your new posts! 🙂
    Check this out….
    http://sanityvows.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/the-liebster-award-d/

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