March 13, 2012

Familybook

My parents aren’t exactly the most tech-savvy, you know. I guess that goes with most people from their generation. We grew up with computers. They grew up with typewriters. We grew up with email. They grew up with snail-mail. We grew up with landlines and cellphones. They grew up with trunk calls and “kambli pothappu!

My mom grew up and studied in Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata (Calcutta then), etc., but still, she has absolutely no interest in technology. Or rather, she never used to. My sister and I have tried our level best to teach her how to use the computer, but other than we losing our patience, there was no real progress. It’s not exactly rocket science, no? All she had to do was put in some time and effort. But how will she learn when five minutes after we’ve made her sit down in from of the system, she’ll run to the kitchen because she had forgotten she’d kept milk on the stove? One time, I had forgotten to switch the system off in the morning before going to college, and mom called me to tell me that there is ‘some light coming from the screen’ (yes, that’s how she described it). So I tried telling her how to switch it off. In two minutes, my entire class had come to know that I had left the computer on before coming to college. I think she finally called the girl living next door to come and switch it off. She couldn’t operate the TV remote to save her life. She would keep pressing some buttons, hoping to change the channel, but by the time she figured it out and found the correct channel, the programme would’ve ended. She could never figure out how to use a cellphone, it was just too complicated. That she uses a Blackberry now is an entirely different matter and story. My dad got it from his office. He didn’t like the QWERTY keypad, so he gave it to Amma. When I asked her if I can take her Blackberry and give her my old phone, she said that she’s ‘so used to Blackberry, she doesn’t feel like using any other phone’. :/ This, coming from the woman who used to send ten blank messages before finally getting one right. She’s damn cute, I tell you.

My dad grew up in a tiny little village in North Kerala, studied in a Malayalam medium school, saw a city for the first time only when he joined teaching college in Mysore, and for 20-25 of his 38 years of career, did all the paper work and filing manually. But he was a lot more open to learning about technology than my mom was. He created an email account, started learning how to type, he learnt how to listen to songs on Youtube. Now he books all his tickets online, sends me mile-long mails sometimes (when there are burning issues, you see. Both me and dad, not big on talking). Since he was a telecom employee anyway, learning how to use a cellphone was not a big deal for him.

But you know, our generation is a very kutthi cheez. We make fun of the older generation for not knowing how to use technology, but soon as they learn it, we realize they were better off not knowing it. Oh you know what I’m talking about. We’ve all been through it. We don’t want them to know how to use cellphones so that they won’t check the messages in our inbox. We have gotten away with so many stories like “That was not a call, that was my alarm” when the phone rang in the dead of the night (no prizes for guessing who would call at that time). We don’t want to give our passwords to them in case they want to check something important, because the passwords would invariably be the name of a current crush. I remember when we were groom-hunting for my sis, her account in keralamatrimony was registered under my email id. And I used to regularly monitor it. Acha and I would sit together at night and go through the profiles. It was all going smoothly till Acha called me from office one day and asked me for my Yahoo password. Why? Because he wanted to check the email of some prospective groom immediately, that had been sent to my id. Now how can I say a no when my own dad asks me for the password? If I say no, that’ll mean that I’m hiding something. If I say yes, well, he’ll see my inbox, and even though my password was no one’s name and there was nothing suspicious in my inbox, I was just not comfortable with it. I used to get a lot of forwarded emails, some of which contained adult jokes, and I obviously wouldn’t want my dad to see them, right?!! So I tried to stall it, saying that I’ll check the mail and tell him what the contents were. But he insisted, so I gave him the password. Then I quickly switched on the computer, logged in to my account, and changed the password. So when my dad tried to log in, he couldn’t. He called me to ask what was wrong and why he wasn’t able to log in. I pretended to be confused. “What, you can’t log in? But I’m able to. Don’t know what’s wrong. Anyway, here’s the mail you were talking about. Take down the number…”. And then I quickly changed the password again. Ya I know, sneaky little liar.

But we got over all that with time. I was happy and proud that Amma had finally managed to learn how to send SMSes and that Acha didn’t have to wait in long queues to book tickets.

Until one fine day, dad asked me about my blog. He knew I wrote in a blog, so he asked me to send him the link. I said I will, but I never did. Because I don’t want him to read it. I don’t think he’ll be able to handle the fact that his darling little daughter drinks vodka and has been in relationships. Nope, no sir! So when I go home, I open my blog, show him and Amma a few posts, so that they’ll know that I do write, and quickly close it down before they can spot anything scandalous.

Then he asked me about Facebook. I very excitedly told him that it’s this supercool thing where you can keep in touch with people. He asked me to create an account for him the last time I went home. I ahemed and aahed and changed the subject. I definitely do not want him on my Facebook list. No no no no no no no no no.

And then, yesterday, I open my FB, and see a new friend request from one Mr. Ramachandran Nambiar. For a second I wasn’t sure who it was, because that’s not how my dad writes his name usually. He writes it with his initials and not with the ‘Nambiar’ surname. There was no pic either. So I figured it must be someone else, and, hoping against hope, opened the profile to check out the details.

Sure enough:- Worked at: BSNL. Studied in: Nirmalagiri College. One mutual friend (a family friend, who probably helped him create the account).

The request is still pending.

56 comments:

  1. haha......Your mom is so cute!! And dads are all like this. This is the same story at my side!! Hell, they don't even know that I have started blogging! Yes, they do find it weird that how can we always be on laptops and phones ALL THE TIME!!
    hahahahah........about the yahoo password thingy! You were lucky in this case. Once I saved the password and left and dad had some work. Not sure whether he checked my ac but I was very scared.
    This is HILARIOUS!

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  2. We certainly get into a sticky situation when it comes to our parents using technology - damned if they know their way around a (our) fb page, blogs, email accounts and damned if they don't.

    If my mind had a voice, it would probably speak out the content of this post with extra stress on my mother being technologically challenged as well.

    Cheers :)

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    1. Oh my mom has become quite hep now. SHe's a Blackberry-toting mom now. :)

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  3. Your amma is a cutie.Mine is laptop-phobic.She stands a mile away from it ro check the photos,hands folded in reverence.No,she doesn't want to get any closer to the laptop.

    My dad is already there on FB and is friends with me.Thankfully he doesn't check FB regularly. :D

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    1. Even I'm hoping Acha'll forget that he created an account. :/

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  4. Awwww this was such a cute post.

    Getting my parents to start using their phones was a BIG task. They finally get it right now. And I have lost count of how many times my mom has called me at work saying that a light is coming out of the laptop! :P

    Parents I yell you, but yes they are way too adorable. And haan, our generation sure is a kutti cheez. Kameeni cheez too if I may.

    90% of my uncles and aunts are on FB and inspite of the stringent block lists I put them on, I freak out while posting a pic or something about my guy. The fact that he's a part of the family doesn't make it any simpler either!!

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    1. This "light coming from screen/laptop" seems to be a standard of most moms no! :D

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  5. Till date my mom cant set an alarm in her mobile...messages are a complete no-no

    Weird...I had the password scenario with my Dad too...I managed to wriggle out of it by reaching home real fast and opening the email in front of it..

    Aah...Facebook...no chance of accepting the invite but keeping the profile content visibility in check?

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    1. I'm hoping he'll just forget that he created an account at all. :/

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  6. You are damn right.. :) most of the time it was a close shave and I used to pray, its good they don't know how to use it..

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  7. You are damn right.. many close shaves.. :) ya content visibility is one option though I would also keep it pending...

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    1. But I'm feeling bad keeping it pending. :(

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  8. Omg that was one heck of an experience.. My dad still can't operate the computer, but then he has no inclination anymore. I remember teaching him once. And it took me 2 hours to explain how to switch it on and off.. To use word was a big torture coz he would press into the keys so firmly that u know the letters would be never-ending. Now finally he still doesn't use it. Says he doesn't need it.

    Moms a fast learner. Gets things fast, learns faster. She's totally tech savvy. But thank god she's never asked for a password or wanted to join FB .. Such pesky little kids we are :D

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    1. Oh yes! My mom used to do that too! Press on one key so hard that it appears multiple times. :D

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  9. I salute your sense of humour!! From where do you come up with such whacky posts?? Absolute reading pleasure :D

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  10. Me? Parents aren't the problem. GRANDparents are.

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  11. XD Hahaha!! :D Have fun with dad on facebook :P

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  12. Kambli pothappu! LOL :D Even today when I go home to Kerala, I see those! *nostalgia* :(
    As for my amma, she is a bit too tech savvy I think. She's on my fb friend list (in fact she was my first 'friend') and all my friends are surprised to see her on fb.
    Hahaa, the description of your mom and the blackberry is so cute :) I can kind of relate, cos I've actually taught my amma how to use smileys and now it's rare to see a message from her without a smiley! :P

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    1. Whenever I think of long-distance phone calls, that's the first scene that comes to my mind. :D

      Ya, I've seen your mom commenting on your blog too. :)

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  13. Hahahahaha been there done that! =P
    It all started out with "Ruhani, mainu vi Faecbook sikha?" [Ruhani, teach me how to use Facebook?} and then went on to her playing Farmville on Facebook. =P I had to block her, ofcourse. Now I'm thinking of making an alternae account, just for family. ALL of them are on Facebook now :O
    And haha great work with the password! xD

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    1. :D It's an irony, isn't it? It's the one place we go to get away from our family, to show a different side of us, and the family lands up there too!

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  14. That Yahoo! password flipping was hilarious... Ya are a simply a master mind. I salute!
    My parents are not at all interested in anything remotely related to technology. Be it cell phones or computers. I actually don't know if I am ok with this or I want them to learn..:))

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  15. Ioooooooooooooooo.....Hhahahaha...your mother is adorable. She and my mother are both on the same boat :D Even my Dad cant handle QUERTY!
    and I regret teaching my mom about facebook. She is there and pestered me till I had to block her. She has no idea that I have :P.
    My father things fb and blogging is for people with lots of time to waste. So my family doesnt know tht I blog :P

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    1. I couldn't keep my big mouth shut no. I had to boast that I have a blog. :/ So they know.

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  16. Hilarious post! I can totally relate to your post. There was a time where my dad totally ignored the presence of computers. Even when mum (She occasionally play games on computers) insists him on learning them, he refused to do so, claiming that it wouldn't help him in any way. But NOW, he owns an Ipad 2 and a HP laptop. Heck he checks his mails daily even though its only forwarded mails from my uncle. LOL! How time changes people! =)

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  17. Hehe.For me it's the other way - Mom's picked up the computer, despite being a homemaker; and dad just refuses to touch it!
    And yeah, it's funny when they are getting their heads around the concept of 'Facebook' - even Qs like, 'What's that book?' (I know, seriously. I don't have an answer for why that name!) And it's best not to add them there, in a way (heck no, in a lot of ways). There's some things they better not know ;)

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    1. Exactly! It's better for us and them if some things are left unknown. :/

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  18. This made a lovely read. My father is super interested in facebook and imagine my surprise to have got his request with all his initials expanded. I was however, SUPER proud to have him on my list (weird?) and kept posting on his wall. I felt lucky to have a cool papa who fb-ed and all ! He he. Ma learnt the mobile ops and we had teh time of our life teaching her - my bro and I. Thanks for revoking such great memories :)

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    1. Not at all weird. :) You're one of the rare ones, I guess.

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  19. aaaah..this be perfect medicine for me stupid fever i say..i tell you...my amma cant ever learn to operate the
    PC..despite me trying to brake my head over it..pffttt..
    thankfully they can use the cell phone which i forcefully gifted them on appa's bday..but still he is averse to carrying it with him..i tell him keep it in showcase no then..gaaahhhh

    nice post dei..
    cheers!!

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  20. Haha! This is one awesome post! My mom made her facebook account soon after I did,so I was on guard. :D Apparently, her colleagues at office asked her why she spied on her daughters so much :P But the best part of all was last summer when my grandmother asked my brother (whose account is fraught with non-grandparents/parents-friendly material) to make her a facebook account for her to see pictures of all her grandchildren regularly. xD

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    1. :D Your grandma seems to be a fun sort! :P

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  21. Awwww....what a cute-ly awesome post. yep , its a pain you know where to get parents to know a thing or two about technology ( and later on we are the ones to regret ) :p
    Seriously , i had to literally convince my mom by saying stuff like " come on , mummy , aunty X / Y / Z knows all this , they have got FB acc. , message chat with each other ....and etc , do you wanna be left behind and made fun of " ....phew - one hell of a job !! --- Now she manages to feed numbers and occasional messages too!
    ----- Nice write up . fun to read. me likes :)

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    1. Thanks Miss.Komal. :) And welcome to my space! :)

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  22. and , you have now got your 235th follower . yay . :-)

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  23. I know, right. My Dad also finds inexplicable pleasure in shoulder reading on my Facebook Updates.

    - R.R

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    1. Oh I remember how I used to type a quick SOS whenever my mom peeped into my chat window. :P

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  24. Hahahaha.. I can soo relate o u. I was big on dad joining orkut a long while back n now I "had" to accept his friend request on fb n whenever I cum up with a adult oriented status message, immediately comes a call frm home sayin that we "cultured people" don't talk that way n asks me to delete it immediately or else I will never get a bride :D.. then I feign that my comp has hung up n will do so asap... till the next adult oriented status update..

    My blog name has also been a constant source of conversation - popular recommendations of a name change from dad for my blog r "love-love" n "conjugal-love".. :D

    Don't u just love 'em fr it? :)

    Great post as usual, Spiff!! :)

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    1. Your dad seems so cute! :P Tell him I said this, ok. :)

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  25. Truth!
    My mom still doesn't know how to use a cell phone. So we have put all important numbers on speed dial for her!

    Could relate very well to it. :)

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  26. Ah, reminds me of the time I helped my father create his own FB page..

    And my mom? She still prefers to stay away from the computer. Using the cell phone is the closest she's gotten with technology. And I still get the call she made to me 'by mistake'.

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    1. Aww! That's so cute, called by mistake. :D

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  27. When my dad sent me a request on fb, I couldn't believe it was him. Then he inbox-ed saying "all the best,beta,for your results!" And I was like "hawwww"... It can't be him! Then I deactivated my account.
    And now, my mom dad are on facebook, while I do guest appearances! Wow only!
    My dad still uses a nokia classic and mom got android, with which she just makes calls!
    But still, its sweet when they ask me to type a message and send it or forward festival greetings! :)

    And the post was cuteness! "light coming", happens in every home!
    Makes up one hell of a post! :)

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    1. I still use a beaten up Nokia C3, and my mom flaunts a BB. :/ And she uses it only to make calls and occasionally to msg. She still won't give it to me. :/

      Kahaan gaayab thi itne din?? :)

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    2. I was trying to study. Rather, acting in front of my pyaara parivaar. But ab, bas hua! :D

      Aur naya phone le bhi lo! Kab tak chalega nokia? Jaan leni hai kya uski? :P

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  28. Ha ha...I know what you mean. I really enjoyed reading this post, kalli penne :D.

    (Couldn't help calling you that. I hope u don't mind)

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  29. Jst think that parents are trying to create a safety perimeter for our own safety...too much is always too bad..tech savvy ways or non tech parents are parents and they will peep into u now and then. so that you don't have too much of vodka or too many relationships..:P..any ways nice post.....

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