Being young and old


Do you trawl through Facebook when you get some spare time?  Do you read avidly what is happening in the village you left couple of decades back? Do you converse with relatives and their children whom you otherwise would have met sporadically at some marriages?  Do you put flattering images of yourself in your Facebook site?

Did you ask your progeny to install “What’sapp” in your handheld (mobile phone for normal human beings) because  S in the next building loftily told you to send some number or detail on his or her “What’sapp”?

If you fit into the above  scenario, then you have spent at least five decades on this planet, are mostly overweight, struggle to understand the features of the slightly expensive handheld you bought ( or gifted by your son, daughter etc) because you can afford it and not necessarily you need it  and understand it ( A6 Dual core, 1300hz,1016mb,4G lte enabled) . You give up trying to understand some of its features and when you are desperate, you will call some one half your age and nonchalantly ask that person to fulfill your requirement.

Facebook is a particularly puzzling and interesting aspect of internet use.  I got into it by accident and neglected it for some time. Slowly , it grew on me. I could revive contacts with old friends, colleagues and relatives who in different parts of the globe. I could know the birthdays of these individuals and wish them.. ( I have a Geni site which also gives a gentle reminder of marriage anniversary and birthdays.)

One conclusion from the Facebook attachment is that there is pleasure in interacting with other human beings of your age group. This is especially true of the age group  I have mentioned above.  While there is a genuine concern and anger over privacy issues in Facebook, the pleasure of meeting individuals, even if it is “cloud” is  great.

The irony about mobile phones  is that the latest mode Apple IPhones are used by middle aged executives who use it purely as a phone and  most of its other features are either not known or lie unused.  Those who can afford it, do not have time to use the add on features for which a small fortune is paid   and those who yearn for it ( teens and young adults) can only stare at it. It is somewhat like acquiring a modern large car with lots of bells and whistles, which an underpaid driver makes use of.

Do you remember a time when mobile phones and e mail did not exist? If so, you  are old and probably like Dilip Kumar, Shivaji Ganesan, Mohammad Rafi etc and think that Mohit Chauhan is a member of  some IPL Team.

I remember being surprised at  seeing a person speaking to himself and walking on the footpath when I was in London in 1994. It took  a moment to realize that he was speaking through a mobile phone.

Would it be correct to say that the senior citizens have  not adjusted to modern communication outlets? No, that is not correct. My personal experience is that even individuals who have crossed 70th milestone have adapted well to I Pad, e mail, web based access to voluminous documents. So  age is not an issue in adapting  to modern tools. However where age plays up is in remembering passwords, log in names etc.  It is amusing to see  such senior citizens opening a small diary and reading out the log in name and passwords or calling some one to read these out  to open a web site .

One classic instance of adapting is seeing Yesudas keeping a laptop in front of his during concerts. Another good example to me is syncing your mobile phone contacts on a live basis with your gmail address. All of us would recall the challenge we face when we acquire a new phone and our contacts have to be transferred to the new phone. When I purchased a new phone around 18 months back, the  dealer had a machine through which all my contacts were transferred from my old to the new phone in three minutes.

A modern tool I tried recently is Kindle. There was a book which  was available only “on line” and not in physical form. I bought and read it on line in few days. It was not an unsettling experience, though a physical book is more preferred.  The biggest advantage is space saving and choices of reading material.

I am not touching on e mail as for those of us who are employed, it is a lifeline for survival. The pleasure in seeing your boss’s e mail approving a document or a proposal within a brief while of your sending it, is easy for all to understand. However, writing good e mail is still an art. The ease of writing through a laptop sometimes outweighs the discretion that is needed in any written communication. One classic precaution I remember reading somewhere is that you should not be embarrassed if your e mail written in a hurry or anger appears in a public forum like newspaper or in some wrong hands.

The changes in communication and access to others across the globe ( skype for e.g) that has occurred in the last two decades or so has shrunk the world. Has that made us closer to others whom we know is a moot point. From an emotional perspective, is it the same as meeting another human being on a face to face basis? For e.g., would you not like to see your progeny or grandchildren on a face to face basis, as compared to Skype or Viber? But then, I know instances of marriage alliances  being  fixed  based on the “boy” and “girl”  ( inapt description for  32 year only man and 29 year old woman) meeting on Skype.

The life as we know has changed irretrievably. Wisdom lies in adapting to it in the most suitable manner.

Do you agree? Would you share any instances that you recall?

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One Response to Being young and old

  1. V. Raghuraman. says:

    Very true and interesting. I would say the seniors (70 plus people), including me really envy at the youngsters ‘skill’ in doing such things fast.One of the best things to have happened is the widespread increase in connectivity, through phone/mobile, net or such other methods.
    V. Raghuraman.

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