I don't think I can ever become comfortable with a desktop, laptop, Netbook, iPad, Akash, iPhone.
I am an octogenarian enjoying my daily issue of The Hindu. Yes, I am one of those whom your writers accuse of being in their “dotage” and not even familiar with Facebook.
I have several confessions to make. The first is that as my grandchildren inform me, I am not at all tech-savvy. The email ID you see was set up by them to enable my wife to communicate with our kin abroad.
I have not bothered to find out what Google can do for me though my daughter has told me that she has “googled” me and been impressed with the results. ‘Yahoo!' to me is a ‘Junglee' scream let out by Shammi Kapoor; and, last but not least is that I read the “print” copy of my favourite newspaper.
I'm told I should refer to it as hard copy. Be that as it may, I enjoy turning the pages; I enjoy the familiarity of a place for everything and everything in its place. And, I certainly enjoy not having to point or click to find something!
I don't think I can ever become comfortable with a desktop, laptop, Netbook, iPad, Akash, iPhone, at least not enough to start surfing or replacing my newspaper. I think back and conclude that I have lived a very productive life without the help of any of these accoutrements. I feel these products will only complicate my life.
This brings me to Professor Ganapathy's article, “The Doctor in your Pocket.”(Open Page, The Hindu, January 1, 2012.) I don't own a mobile phone — smart or dumb — so I presume I'm not a candidate for mHealth. However, I have been a diabetic for 35 years and I do have a doctor in my pocket. This is the visiting card of my trusted physician. Frankly, I do not know whether he has a computer record of my file, or if he can interpret the notes in my ‘book' in a jiffy, or, as I like to think, knows me and my case so well that the moment he sees me he is able to assess my condition. We chat briefly about various things and I leave the room feeling much improved! Try duplicating that with mHealth, Dr. Ganapathy!!
Speaking of mHealth and mobile phones, I agree with the UK Post Office study mentioned in the Open Page article “Gutenberg to Zuckerberg,” (January 1, 2012) about the condition referred to as ‘nomophobia.' I see my grandchildren exhibiting this phenomenon almost continuously. Their cellphone seems to be an appendage and mere extension of their persona. Their concentration is non-existent unless they are texting their friends. (I learned recently that texting has nothing to do with text-books.) I am appalled that they see nothing wrong in interrupting anything they're doing to attend to their phones.
Having said all this, I must admit that it is very same grandchildren who make all arrangements for us to travel either online or by using their cellphones. They have managed to smuggle a mobile phone into our household by educating their ‘tech-savvy' grandmother on its basic uses. This enables them and their parents to keep us informed of anything we need to know at all times and spares us a lot of anxiety.
Indeed, there has been a quantum leap from Gutenberg to Zuckerberg but fortunately for us Gutenbergians in India we are able to lead life on our own terms – at least for now.
(The writer's email ID is: achal.ranganathan@gmail. com)