Thank God For Technology

My phone is one of my most prized possession. It’s almost as important to me as my kidneys! No kidding…if I lose sight of my phone for even a second, I get a mini heart attack!

I need to be around my phone all the time. Even if I’m not using it. And I’m pretty sure that most of the people these days are like me. And it’s really not our fault is it??

I can call, text, whats app, Skype, mail, listen to music, click pictures, calculate, online shop, find my way home, play games and do such insane amount of stuff that it’s almost magical!

I mean today with this small device in my hand, I can talk to my friend who lives in California, at 2 in the morning when the insomniac in me refuses to go to sleep. Had technology not been this advanced, I would be writing letters to her that would reach her 20 days after I posted them. And if you know anything about the Indian postal system then you won’t be surprised if the letter never reached her. Ever.

It’s true that when technology had not taken over, people were actually connected to each other because they made an effort to stay in touch, unlike today where we have 300 friends on Facebook but we are really just bothered about our 3 best friends. I mean I’v got half of my high school people on my friend list on Facebook  but I never actually talk to them. It’s mostly about checking whats up in their life, from a distance.

I sometimes wonder how people used to write such long letters to each other. Writing about each detail of their lives. My uncle who is in the army travels a lot. So in the early days of his marriage he and my aunt used to write to each other a letter every week, telling each other everything that was going on in their lives. My aunt still has has a bag full of those letters.

It’s hard to understand the emotions people had when they wrote those letters. We have video calling if we miss somebody too much. In those days waiting for that one letter must have been the highlight of the week!

I guess that’s the reason people of that generation were far more patient. Our generation barely has the time or the courtesy to write an entire sentence in a text message. It’s mostly like “Hw r u? Txt me whn u rch home. Need 2 tok.”

You really can’t expect anything even remotely related to patience from people who write like this! I mean your parents spent a fortune on your education! And this is how you end up writing? Even the word ‘Love’ has become ‘Luv’. And I swear I have a pet peeve of this word. Every time somebody texts me “Luv”, I feel like punching that person in the face. It’s a four letter word for crying out loud! How much time did you save by making it three lettered!

Yes I love my phone with all my heart. And I don’t think I can live without it. But sometimes I really wonder whether this technology has actually connected us to our loved ones or turned us into insensitive stalking idiots who can talk for hours on whats app but have nothing to say to each other when they meet in person.

As for me, I’m enjoying the best of both worlds! I write a letter to my brother at least once a year and then whats app him to tell me when it reaches him.  And yes, everybody thinks I’m crazy writing to him when I could have easily texted him! It’s hard to explain to people how much fun it is to write a letter and then actually post it.

Years back I saw a movie where the actress wrote a love letter and instead of signing her name at the end, she kissed the letter and left a lipstick mark at the end. I so want to do this someday. I’l maybe write a letter to my husband and leave a crimson lipstick mark at the end. How romantic would that be!

I can always send flying kisses via Face-time, but lipstick marks will all ways be the real deal when it comes to romance.

Isn’t it?

I agree it’s fascinating to be able to talk ‘Face to Face’ with somebody sitting in 10,000 miles away from you via video call but I would still love to send a pigeon with a rolled parchment declaring my undying love to my beloved!

 

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Getting My Mom Online

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Being born in the 90’s, I belong to the generation whose parents had not seen much technology when they were our age. They technology then progressed at a much slower pace than now. Today every 15 day’s we have one or the other mobile company bringing out a new, advanced model of a cell phone. In our parents generation, there was this one land line phone which had extensions in all rooms and if you were discreet enough you could actually listen to the what your sister was talking on the phone with her best friend. 😛

I don’t know about other countries but back then, there was just one channel on the TV when my parents were my age, and the programs came only in the evening which consisted mostly of news and agriculture stuff. (India is mostly an agrarian economy and there was an entire show on crops and seeds and stuff!).

Now we have more than a 100 TV channels showing some random nonsense stuff 24X7. There are news channels, sports channels, channels for cartoons, and a lot of idiotic channels that show some horrible daily soaps.

Since our generation practically grew up with the growing technology, we had a pretty fun time going from those small mobile phones that used to have just one game (Mine had just this one game ‘Snake’) to now devoting our lives to our I-pad’s.

But bringing my parents at par with this fast paced technology is sometimes harder than getting a crocodile eat out of your hand and making sure it does not eat your hand along with the food.

So when my Dad got an I-pad, I made sure my mom learns how to use it. She was all “I can’t use the touch screen’, and ‘I don’t know how to get back once I open something’ etc etc.

Slowly and patiently we introduced her to Google, Facebook, You Tube, online magazines, and the various other applications on the I-pad.

Not that she had not been in touch with any technology. She had been playing games on our window’s PC for a long time. She’s a pro at “Freecell”.

It began with her finding all her long lost cousins on Facebook. She would go online and see their picture’s, send them messages and feel ‘connected’ to all of them.

Later, when we told her about You Tube, she found out infinite recipes for cakes, cookies, chicken chettinad, khandvi, and what not. It then progressed to hair care tips and home made face packs, to gardening tips.

Now, she watches all her re-runs of any show she misses out on TV.

My Dad was pretty surprised when he saw her working on the I-pad. According to my Dad, all the social media is a waste of time and kill’s a persons privacy. He is interested only in stuff that would help him in office. So his I-pad has been barely used by him. It’s more of my mom’s gadget now.

Recently my mom researched all the hill stations we could go to for a vacation, including maps and road routes. Google fascinated her. I can’t really blame her for that, I’m too pretty much in love with Google and every time I open it I pretty much fall in love with it again. Google is the only reason I finish my assignments on time. 😛

My mom is now on what’s app and keeps sending me and my sister funny video’s and forward messages.

She can be seen playing ‘Dots’ on the I-pad whenever she get’s time. She’s is competing with me and is trying to break my high score. I’v been bored of that game for like an eternity but she’s still pretty determined to beat me at it. That reminds me I really have to introduce her to some new game.

Her next venture is going to be Skype. I can only imagine her video calling me every time I’m late from college. :-/

I’m glad that she has learned all this and can now use the Internet without any assistance. But I can now see why she used to be all agitated at us for always being busy with our phone’s.

The scenario at our home is such these day’s that my sister who has her summer vacations and is at home is seen screaming at my mom for always staring at the I-pad. I remember when the opposite used to happen with me.  🙂

 

 

 

Look Up

 

I saw this video a few days back when I had my exams. Even though I had sworn not to use my phone or my I-pad for any reason other than an emergency, I still just could not resist picking them up once or twice a day and just browse through for no reason. That is the level of addiction I now have with these two. Losing sight of my phone for 30 seconds is enough to give me a mini heart attack.

But watching this video made me realize how it had become a habit for all of us to constantly be dependent on technology. How we are slowly ans surely losing the human touch and becoming so engrossed in our phones and laptops and computer’s that we barely realize how physically we have nobody around us.

I have about 350 “friends” on Facebook. I barely know 50 out of them in a familiar way. And only 5 of these would probably come and help me if I ever need them. And those 5 don’t even need Facebook to stay connected with me.

We are constantly sharing stuff online. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, all of them have become such a crucial part of our lives that we barely give a thought as to whether anybody is interested in what we are posting or not.

It’s just an attention gaining platform. Putting your life on a platter in front of everybody to scrutinize.

I don’t know about other’s but I have had my share of depression from Facebook when after a shitty day I go online and see how happy people are in their virtual lives. Checking-in in some nice restaurant with friends, going to the movies, posting cheesy pictures they clicked there. Seeing all that has many a times made me think how boring and dull my life sometimes is.

But is it really that dull? I said earlier that I barely know any of these people on a familiar basis. And Facebook I’v realized is not what it really looks like.

Last weekend, me, my sister and my cousins went out for dinner to this nice Italian restaurant. We ‘checked in’ on Facebook and let the whole world know where we were. And then when I put my phone down, I saw all of us busy on the phone, not even bothering to make a conversation. And when We tried to talk, it was just some awkward ‘so what up’, and ‘how’s work’, till the food thankfully came it and we started digging in.

So for anybody who saw my ‘checked -in’ status would think I’m enjoying a nice dinner out with my cousins. What they don’t know is that we had not even a single thing to say to each other.

That was when it struck me how we, being first cousins and siblings have nothing to say to each other after, despite the fact that we were meeting after a month of absolutely no contact. Though we were ready to be ‘connected’ with the rest of our so called ‘friends’.

Life is what is happening to us while we are busy staring down at the screen of our phone. And I truly believe it’s time for us to switch the damn thing off and look up.