Monday, November 25, 2013

Connected virtually, dis-connected literally!

She looked at the teenager with her inquisitive eyes, the lines on her forehead becoming even more prominent as her eyebrows came together, expressing her disapproval. She tilted her nodding head and tapped her on her shoulder with her trembling fingers, asking, “What are you doing?” The teenager didn’t bother to look up. “Uff, give me a second, daadi. I’m facebooking,” she said. The wrinkles on the forehead had curiosity written all over it… “Face WHAT,” the 70-something asked and the teenager just got up and walked away. The inquisitiveness vanished as her eyes softened and became a shade blurred with the tears that were pooling inside...

Technology. It brings us closer, it seems. Really?

I pity the teenager. A phone with a camera, andriod ‘kit kat’ (whatever that means), games, a plethora of applications. Fancy. I still pity her. She has no idea how special the conversations with grandmums are. The stories that they tell can’t be bookmarked for a leisurely read. You’ve got to go with the flow, honey. I pity the teenager, for she has no idea how great she would have felt had she spent some time with her grandmum, making her feel wanted. That’s what they want. They’re not asking us for expensive gifts or world tours. All they want is some time with us and that’s probably the least we can do for them.

Time. Comes with a pretty heavy price tag. We have all the time in the world to sit in front of the laptop for hours, liking photos and updating silly status messages, but time to spend with our loved ones? Heavy tag dangling? “Sorry, a little busy, ‘GTG’, TTYL”, is our standard reply.

The smileys have replaced the oh-so-enchanting smiles that used to trace their way to the twinkling eyes. Fun is ‘funner’ only when shared on facebook. Weddings aren’t solemnised until the facebook relationship status confirms so. Wooing, weddings, engagements, honeymoon -- facebook is a big slice of our lives.

Having a once-upon-a-time-fancy phone, I can easily connect with the daadi above. While every around is busy glued to their phones that come alive with a touch of their fingers, ‘connecting’ with people over WhatsApp, BBM, WeChat and what not, I sit, gazing at the ceiling, admiring the cobwebs in the corner with new-found interest, the frustration inside me bubbling and ready to burst like a volcano. I too want to ‘connect’, but these fancy applications, I have not. Am I not eligible for a ‘real’ connection, instead?

I try to talk to people, but end up talking to their heads instead, their faces, buried
inside their laptops, tablets or phones. I fidget. I don’t know what to do. I feel out-of-place, most of the times. I remain offline on chat, both on facebook and gtalk.
I have phone numbers of people I want to connect with, and so do they. Chats are tricky, as I have learnt the hard way. Once bitten, twice shy, I stay away from these virtual modes of communication.

Life is not all about telling the world ‘what’s on your mind’. Sometimes, the eyes say it all, but only if the other person can tear his or her eyes away from the phone. Talk to your mum, tell her what you’ve been upto. Walk over to your dad, tell him what you’re planning. Have your dinner from your grandmum’s hands, they’ll taste delicious. Go over to your friend’s place, gossip over a steaming plate of maggi. Take a walk with your husband, cook with him. Ditch your fancy gadgets and look around, you’ll hear birds chirping, kids laughing and you’ll see time slowing down…