Just a call away

STRONG CONNECTIONS

Just a call away

Youngsters staying in foreign countries are in touch with their parents on Internet.

Not long ago, going abroad meant a lot to a person and his or her family. With no other options left except for writing letters and making ISD calls, people struggled to keep in touch with their families. The situation was worse for lovers and newly-wedded couples when they had to move away from each other. But now with the advancement of technology, bidding adieu is not painful at all. The concept of global village holds true in this case and one can talk to a person abroad as one does with his or her neighbour.

Thanks to social networking sites and photo sharing applications, people settled abroad can also post their pictures and updates on the web. And their friends across the world can see these pictures immediately and leave comments. By simply downloading softwares like Skype and MediaRing, they can also make free Internet calls with video-chatting facility.

Karthik Kalappa, a techie with Infosys, has been in the US for the last three years. Computer-mediated communication systems have not only made his life bearable in a foreign country but have also kept him abreast of his friend’s activities. “I can make calls to India for one cent and can also obtain unlimited free talk time for a fixed monthly charge. Whenever I visit new places here, I send photos to my parents. Thanks to social networking sites and applications like MediaRing and Skype, keeping in touch with friends is not a problem at all. But the scenario was not the same 20 years back, when telephone call rates were really pricy and getting connection was also difficult,” he says.  
Aditya, who lived in England around fifteen years ago, agrees.

“With no options left, I used to write letters after letters to my loved ones. The joy of receiving letters, greetings was beyond explanation. Now, who cares about writing?” he asks.

On the other hand, there are people who cannot taste the fruits of technology due to lack of knowledge. “Computer-mediated technology is cost-effective but if parents don’t have an access to Internet, it won’t help. And parents also need to be tech-savvy to use them. There are parents who consider writing letters an easier option than learning computers,” says Karthik Bhat, an engineer.

It is sad but true that in country like India, many parents cannot utilise this gift of technology due to poor level of Internet accessibility. However, parents are really happy about this transformation and they are slowly opening themselves to the new applications. “Earlier, if our dear ones were abroad, we had to wait till they came back to get a complete picture of their experience. Today, people start sending pictures soon as they land. I was thrilled when I saw my America-based niece’s newborn child live on computer. And during the marriage of one of my relatives’, the brother of the bride who unfortunately could not make it, watched the marriage through some video-calling applications,” says Radha.

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