Tech-savvy? Oh, no!

Tech-savvy? Oh, no!


I used to watch in amazement as people used stylish and sophisticated systems which would soon be outdated in next to no time. I am afraid I don’t belong to this elite group. It isn’t my cup of tea. To me, it is just a necessary evil these days, without which life does not seem to go on.

Despite this idealogy, I eventually bowed down to the inevitable and learnt the basic skills. The trouble was that I had no respect for it. I likened it closely to the idiot box, especially when it came to challenging the intellect. As for coming to grips with the DVD player, when I needed to pause, I would invariably press the stop button, and instead of rewinding, I would fast forward or vice versa.

In order to survive, I had to get familiar with the wayward, whimsical computer which could throw tantrums that would put the biggest spoilt brat to shame. I am ham-handed and the audacious system does what it pleases, ignoring my commands. Very often, I would bungle, hitting the wrong key and sending an incomplete mail or mail without the attachment. But then, that was to be expected from a lumpen like me. It had no regard for the user who was yet to learn the three Rs. The three Rs (there were more than three in this case) were ‘access and send mail’, ‘copy and paste’, ‘google for information’, ‘upload and download text’, and ‘type a word document’. That wasn’t exactly running the gamut of IT skills, but for a beginner, it was just as much.

I resisted the mobile for a long time. One day, I was stuck in a traffic jam for a couple of hours. The person I was going to visit panicked, because I am, by and large, a punctual person. She could make allowances for a 15 to 20 minute delay, but two hours was a bit too much. She wondered whether I had forgotten the meeting or if something else had cropped up. In the latter event, I should have had the common courtesy to let her know.

She decided to find out. She called home and was informed of the fact that I had left home to visit her, almost two hours ago. So, instead of worrying my friend alone, I managed to get the folks at home worked up as well. When I reached my friend’s house, she went limp with relief. She ordered me to call home. Without even waiting to hear my side of the story, my relatives blew a fuse. The result of this drama was that I would be saddled with a mobile to help me stay connected. If I was held up anywhere, I could give people my whereabouts and prevent family or friends from reporting or going to the police station or organising a search party for me. However, there have been times when I have left the wretched thing behind, or failed to charge it, leading to a breakdown in communication.
But such instances, I am proud to say, are far and few in-between. Being disadvantaged, I watched, fascinated, as people’s nimble fingers flew over the keys to send messages, emails, faxes, take photographs, etc.

I was quite content with my basic model. Trouble started when the antiquated equipment went kaput. I was loath to part with it as I had mastered the technique of using it. But, what use was a dysfunctional mobile? I had no option but to go in for a new one.

There was a milling throng at the mobile store. I glanced around and approached a salesperson. “What brand would you like?” he asked. “Nokia,” I said and added, “a basic model should be fine.” He was a little disappointed, because I had wanted something simple and easy to operate, when everyone else was clamouring for the latest model with umpteen features. Helpfully, I showed him my old mobile. “I’m sorry, madam. Nokia doesn’t make this model anymore,” he replied, trying hard to suppress a smile. Mustering all the confidence I could, I said, “Then give me the simplest model available.” Today, even that has too many features and functions for my liking. In trading my relic for something more contemporary, I was jerked out of my comfort zone. I am still grappling with the problems that the new sleek one presents.