Technology as made it like this
We live in the best of times, we live in the worst of times…
‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.’
A Tale of Two Cities - by Charles Dickens.
I was compelled to recall that immortal statement as its classicism is as relevant today as it was during the eighteenth century Europe ,the context being entirely different, though. The context that which prompted me to recall those lines concern the rapid advances in technology and various forms of internet connectivity and its influence on three successive generations –that of my parents, ours, and that of our children.
Once we set those rapid technological advances and internet connectivity against the backdrop of each of those three successive generations, the manifestation of each generation is not unlike those contrasting metaphors purported by Charles Dickens – best and worst of times; age of wisdom and foolishness; epoch of belief and incredulity ; season of light and darkness; winter of despair and spring of home.
Wielding and operation of modern communication devices evolve as second nature with our children – from even a year old if my sister is to be believed . They use it the best, quite very wisely, with an innate belief , in good light and with lots of hope. Our parents and older siblings are inept users ; they use it unwisely and with utter incredulity spending hours in darkness and in winters of despair - they have everything before them yet they have nothing before them. My generation employs a half-way house approach between that of the parents and the children.
It goes without saying that the political turmoil facing our homeland has resulted in untold misery. The economic migration during the last two decades has torn asunder members of thousands of families who have sought refuge across the globe. But a filial desire of connectivity through modern communication methods remains that much intense. To that effect, one can understand the necessity and desire of parents to remain connected with children and other relatives , however clumsy the wielding of instruments of connectivity.
My local and international professional obligation calls for an intense close internet connectivity, yet I have resisted to own iPhone, iPad , Samsung Galaxies or Blackberries. For the fact that I want to maintain my sanity, I use an ordinary mobile phone and a traditional lap-top. I have made it clear to my employers that they should not intrude into my privacy during certain hours. I might as well reveal that I am the youngest out of a handsome brood of seven. All my older siblings have retired. My oldest sister Dr.Shamshad Bashir is rising 75 years and my youngest sister Razia Saif is rising 63. This youngest sister of mine exerted some influence over her older sisters and all of them own an iPad and they Skype incessantly. For good reasons of connectivity , I qualify. One of my sisters, Professor Khalida Saif has retired as principal of a degree college and holds a Master’s degree in English literature. Once I was in grade three she made me write an essay about our camping expedition to Kangan. While reviewing the essay, I received a tight slap from her, the clangours of which are still reverberating. My fault was mere childish and understandable so far as comprehension and grammar is concerned – I used a phrase ‘leaved for Kangan ‘ as against ‘left for Kangan’. Thank you sister for that tight slap as that helped me in my improvement of grammar. I might as well identify that once she puts her pen on paper, her writings are flawless. Nevertheless, once I receive her mail, she is hardly case sensitive. Letters appear in lower and upper case at will and with no regard to punctuation and grammar. My mother is rising 92 and has to endure dialysis three times a week. Even though she uses quad canes to the wheel chair , one can unfailingly notice a mobile phone hanging from her wrist , a device that I have to attend to whenever there is an ordinary glitch. Of course, it shall require a voluminous book to explain how comical their approach has been in wielding gadgets of connectivity, but it is understandable that their use of communication devices has stemmed out of dire necessity to maintain contact and not for fanciful reasons.
But from all the above, you must have developed some curiosity as to why I have been so forthright, what if plaintive and so very lamentable.
Indeed, I nurse a grouse and a fresh one for that matter.
It was last night once my nephew desired a Skype call. Quite unexpectedly my poor laptop developed a glitch and communication was not possible. I asked my spouse whether I could use her iPad and she obliged. I had a hearty exchange with my nephew and we bid good night.
Once I woke up this morning, my spouse complained that she was unable to establish connectivity on Skype. From here on, please allow me to express that as a dialogue in my native language for reasons of essence. Of course, I have attempted translation for the ones not initiated to our mother tongue.
Spouse: Ye chunu gatsan connect (It does not connect)
Me: Ath kar sa Username te Password feed , ye gatse connect. (Feed the Username and Password and you shall establish contact.)
Spouse: Su chae tse patah ( Only you know that)
Me: Mae kapaer gaye patah (How am I supposed to know that)
Spouse: Ye onuth na tsae te tsae aase patah.( For the fact that you purchased that for me, it is you who would know it)
Me: Chon Skype account chu shureow create kormuth, temin aase pateh. Karuk phone.( Your Skype account has been created by children, call them )
Spouse: Na, tsate chae patah.( Even you know it)
Me: Dopmae nasa , mae chane patah, me gow daftar tsaer, oore yeth wichow.( I said I do not know . I am late for office – can we settle that once I return)Spouse: Khabar kya korthass , toothe aases be beninn seeth kath baath karaan. ( I guess you fiddled with that – at least I would talk to my sisters)
I left for office with loads of acrimony, thinking about this connectivity business. And once I returned, she broached the subject once again. For the fact that sun had risen in the UK , I sent a short message to my children inquiring about the attributes . I got a prompt reply but connectivity still eluded me. A wrong username and password was provided , erroneously, I qualify.
Spouse: Khabar kya korthas, be chasae dapaan. (You have done something terrible, I caution you)
I have a disqualification that
I am not too patient. I had a flashy thought of banging her iPad to smithereens but I took a few deep breaths and tried many combinations. I called up my children and fervently requested them to try as many combinations as possible. I had an eventual satisfaction that her Skype account is through once more and she stands connected.
I am not sure whether I shall commission a sculptor to carve an epitaph on my tombstone but I shall make it a point to commission one to cast her Skype Username and Password on a piece of stone and duly frame that - so as to be hung in our bedroom.
Lest you believe that was some sort of disparaging on my spouse, kindly note that she is my best friend and an excellent unselfish individual.
I have taken that as a current household example of our homeland to let you know that we live in the best of times and we live in the worst of times.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Apr 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 24 Apr 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 25 Apr 2013 00:00:00 IST
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