Once in a while, friendship transcends generations and brings two people close, sealing the generation gap. In my case, it’s me and my grandmother, thick as thieves. She doesn’t cease to amaze me with her penchant for learning and love for life. It’s a common misconception that seniors are averse to technology. My octogenarian grandmother loves her iPhone and has embraced the functional approach of various apps like fish to water.
Earlier, she was heard swapping recipes over the phone with her friends, now we hear her sharing the apps she has downloaded. In the initial days of her iPhone, WhatsApp messenger was her favourite. She marvelled at the ease of sharing text, photos, videos and audio files, all for free. Of late, it has slid a few ranks lower. “Everyone forwards all kinds of garbage to their contacts, because it costs nothing.”
Her face lights up when she ‘FaceTimes’ her grandkids scattered all over the globe. She also keeps in touch with her near and dear through Gmail and Facebook. Prior to the iPhone, the cumbersome torchlight was either very dim or the batteries were dead when needed the most. Now, she appreciates the convenience of the iLights app. The Calculator, Compass, Alarm clock and Magnifier in her phone did not go unappreciated either. She has recorded all her medicines and health-related stuff in the Notes. Reminders app keeps track of her periodic health check-up.
She has made all her friends download the pedometer app and derives great pleasure in comparing the number of steps, distance and calories of their walk on each of their gadgets. The music app ‘Gaana’ brings her indescribable joy of listening to her favourite old melodies. The Uber and Ola app have made it easier to visit her siblings and cousins at her convenience. She has become an expert navigator of Google Maps.
Grandma is an avid reader and always claims that literacy is a lifelong quest. Her nephew downloaded the Libby app on her phone and gifted her a library card from the New York Public Library (NYPL) for her birthday. Now, she borrows books from NYPL online sitting in Bengaluru. She claims this is the greatest gift she has ever received.
Her dictionary has gone for a toss and replaced by Google and Chrome apps. With the Kannada and Tamil scriptwriter, she joyfully composes funny notes to her near and dear ones in vernacular. Though not a hardcore gamer, Solitaire, Sudoku and Scrabble have found their ways into her phone.
This one incident illustrates how much she is in awe of her ‘iWorld’ and its maker. During her recent trip to San Francisco, my brother, her grandson, asked her if she wished to go to a temple. “Can you take me to Waverley street in Palo Alto?” she asked him. “What’s on Waverley?” he wondered.
Our grandma enlightened him. “That’s where Steve Jobs used to live and his family still lives in the same house, you know. He literally brought the world into our fists”.