Follow by Email

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

NaBloPoMo 2018: Day 7: Me in my Maid's Phone !

“Madam, one surprising thing happened last night. I saw you in the same saree you were wearing yesterday afternoon, in my son’s phone! How did that happen?” wondered my maid today evening.

Did you have to read that again to understand what she said? I had to get her to repeat it and break it down to realize what she meant.

She’d seen me when she came in the afternoon. Late in the evening, I had changed my WhatsApp display picture to a photograph taken a few minutes before. My maid’s son had forwarded some message to me on WhatsApp, and in passing, noticed the profile pic and shown it to her. Hence her surprise that ‘Madam had come in her son’s phone just like she was looking in the afternoon’!

Her son is quite new to a smartphone, but as a 16-year old, is quickly figuring things out. I don’t know if he is able to explain things to his mother. I tried to tell her how this ‘photo coming in the phone’ works, and she probably understood some of it.

The incriminating photo!

Thinking over this, I remembered another incident of a few months ago. I had taken my mother-in-law’s Nokia feature phone for some repair. At that time, there was an elderly customer who had come there with a similar phone, complaining that the phone used to sound an alarm every day at some odd time like 3.00 am. Probably, he had pressed some buttons, and the alarm had got set, but he didn’t know how to disable it. But I couldn’t help wondering about this customer’s life – was there no one in his house who could help him sort out the problem? Or was it his nature to not ask anyone around for help but instead go to the repair shop?

The contrast hits home even more because I’ve seen the way my 80-year old father-in-law has taken to his Android phone. He’s on WhatsApp and gets updates from his temple-and-upanyaasam-and paaraayanam-mates. He’s got a Facebook account and keeps track of events in the extended family; he uses Gmail to send complaints to investment companies who make errors, he has a mobile banking app, and uses Paytm.

I’m struck by how huge the digital divide is – we have a part of the population dabbling in artificial intelligence, and there’s one section of society to whom these things are like magic. Bridging the gap is surely going to take a lot of effort.


  1. This is infact very very true. The gap is so vast than we can imagine.
    It's there between the same generation.
    For ex-
    The way I use my phone compared to how my parents use makes me wonder sometimes.
    Some may assume computer knowledge would make one easy to use smart phone. Right? But it's not even close. My dad is so well-versed in computers from days of MsDOS, finds its very difficult to use smart phone. But my mom who never knew much of computer usage explains few operational steps in smart phone.

    My perspective of view would be the mindset of people to learn to use it. I mean a person who feels smart phone is better would use and learn quicker than the person who may not be inclined to.

    This is completely my point of view. In house experience :-)

    1. What a nice viewpoint you've shared, Shivaram. The in house experience shows :-) You're right in the conclusion - those who WANT to learn, learn faster than those who see it as alien. Thank you so much for adding to the conversation!

  2. How naive and cute is this house maid... I wish mine was like this...
    As for Ranganathan maama using the smart phone... I'd say the phones aren't smart enough to take on maama...

    1. Hahaha...thank you, Rajashree for finally getting around to comment on the blog itself. Maama is totally awesome!

  3. This is how I see......Our parents generation are great Lerner's than we are coz age matters.... Imagine a senior citizen learning the advance technology of 20th century while we struggle to catch-up with our kids who know things better than us (despite the limited access they have coz they are using their parents gadgets still).... my 3.5yr old nephew knows how to delete game apps and search his fav rhymes from YouTube..... What say....
    Now the learning capabilities of senior citizens who have access to smart phone vs kids who really have previlage to technology is for thought Han !?!

  4. Replies
    1. Very true. I think it's also a question of how much mental space and time one has to invest in learning. We, the sandwich generation, between our senior citizen parents and our smart kids, probably have less of both these resources, and that is what makes us struggle ;-) Thank you, Madhavi, for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  5. What a thoughtful blog Anusuya !
    A lot also depends on the fact as to what you or one as a person wants to do the moment he / she decides to buy a smart phone .
    It also tells you a lot about the person himself . Your uncle at that age clearly still wants to learn everyday of his life and hence the ease or smartness with which he uses his cell phone!

    1. Very true. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!


Do share your thoughts on this through the comment section. All you need to do is click on the hyperlinked word "comments" at the end of the blog and then enter your message in the box that opens up. If you so wish, you may also get in touch with me through email: