“If you have never been hated by your child, you have never been a parent.”Bette Davis
My first mobile phone was in 2002; a Nokia 3315, which was purchased from my internship stipend savings and from the monthly allowance that my parents used to send me. The purchase was born out of the need to stay connected. My dad worked in a remote area in Himachal and I was in a hostel in Maharashtra at that time. The phones lines were not that great, and reaching out to them meant trying endlessly. I would call them once a week. Sometimes, there would be no connection between them and me for days altogether. I remember sitting at the STD booth after the off peak rates would apply and, trying to connect for hours, before the hostel curfew time. I used that mobile phone for a few years, as long as the battery allowed me. I had a different Nokia when i became a mom, and i remember my son would chew it up once he started teething! One day, he threw it in a bucket of water while we were busy mopping the floors. But those were the sturdy devices! I opened it up and exposed it to the strong tropical sunlight of Delhi, and Voila, it worked again. It was an old handset, chewed by my little monkey, all the bite marks visible, exposed to all sorts of abuse.
One morning, while withdrawing cash from an ATM, I accidentally left it at the CP metro station ATM. 1 hr. later, my husband called me up, asking me to go to the control centre of Delhi Metro CP station and collect my mobile. A hilarious part of that episode was when the control team security asked me about the appearance of the mobile, and i told them about the lumps and the bumps. Ofcourse, no one stole it and sinply deposited it with the security team.
I did not have a smartphone till 2012. I never felt the need to be drawn into the world of MMS and Facebook. I did finally get sucked into the world of iPhone, but today i am at peace with the android i have and consider it just a necessary evil. Fast forward to the world of my little monkey, who is now an irritating teenager. Today’s technology does not start or end with a smartphone, as he says each device has its ecosystem, aka the smartwatch, earbuds and a laptop cum tablet. In the world of a worldly teenager, more is less.
A few months back, the demand was for the latest iPad generation, an apple pencil and a keyboard. It does not help that a new generation gets launched each year, and an iPad 7th generation purchased two years back is now useless and ultra-slow as described by him. The middle-class values which keep me grounded make me feel it is a waste and spoiling the kid. Instant gratification and over -privilege helps none. While that demand is still under negotiation by both parties! The current protests are for a smartphone and a laptop cum tablet. I couldn’t stop laughing after today’s argument that he was the poorest kid in the class who did not have fancy devices.
I am still an old school, and I tell him to earn the device rather than beg for it. Today’s negotiations ended at not more than one device an year ! and that too, it has to be earned either by good performance academic or extra-curricular along with chores to be done at house! The materialistic kid, who still has a long way to reach our level of contentment, we are the nasty parents! Waiting for the next round of arguments and counter-arguments! Till then, let me keep my inner peace ! Meditate !!!!