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Mum’s not the word

Which one is more endearing - a tech-unsavvy parent or a tech–savvy one?

india Updated: Aug 31, 2010 14:48 IST
Lalita Iyer
Lalita Iyer
Hindustan Times

It’s hard to say which one is more endearing - a tech-unsavvy parent or a tech–savvy one. For the longest time, my mother was the techno-virgin of the family, having trouble even with something as innocuous as a remote control. Till she went on her big, fat, American holiday to visit the brother, an undisputed tech-whiz - and life wasn’t the same again.

Before I did a little jig in celebration of the new few months of quietude, she was on the phone. I was flabbergasted. Isn’t there something called a time difference across the Pacific? What about jet lag? But there she was, chirpy as ever.

“So, did the maid come today?”

“Mother, you are in California. Is that all you can think about?”

“I just thought I’ll check on you and see how you are doing. Anyway, I have you on speed dial and can call you anytime!”

New found tech wizardry
I am not a phone person. My attention span is lower than that of my 14 month-old. I can barely conduct a civil conversation beyond two minutes. If it’s official, I make some excuse of having sensitive nerve endings around the ears and hang up.

Which is why, whenever I travelled on work, and the boyfriend/husband said, “Call me”, I used to think it was a great ordeal. Call and say what? That I miss him? What the view is like from my room? What I had for breakfast? Where we went for dinner last night?

So it turns out that the mother’s calls to me have become daily instead of once in two days when she was here. Added to which are emails which she sends from her newly created gmail account, the size of the emails having progressively grown from two lines to two paragraphs to more or less essays by now. And each email has at least five questions to be answered.

My fear is, will I soon start receiving e-cards and wall messages instead of the cute notes she writes me for every birthday and anniversary? And who knows - soon, she may want to start using Skype and doing all those weird things people do in long distance relationships.

Finally, I had to tell her that I didn’t have exciting things to report every day, so could she call, say, twice a week?

A weekend went by. Come Monday, and there she was: “So....? What’s been happening? What news?”

Last week, for once I thought I had some ‘news’ to give her as a cousin’s wife had delivered a baby girl. She turned the tables on me by giving me a gory account of all that happened prior to the birth complications, course of action and the status as of that hour. Apparently, in the time it took me to reply to the cousin’s message, she had tracked down his wife’s mother’s number, spoken to the new mom and given her blessings.

I give up. She’s now threatening to arrive with a laptop and accessories and I fear that my life is going to be altered in a strange way. Fingers crossed.

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First Published: Aug 31, 2010 13:07 IST