Sorry for not Texting you this MessageT. SHER SINGH
Sunday, July 15, 2012
I’ve always been all thumbs with new technology. Eventually, I do succumb and embrace new gadgetry, but only after I’m left the last one standing.
Now, I note the new technology wants me to be all thumbs!
It’s this thing called texting. It requires two thumbs, and only two thumbs. And no brains.
I like to think I’m no luddite, but you ain’t gonna find me texting any time soon, I’m afraid.
They invented the telephone once. (No, I don’t remember when they invented the phone … I’m not that old!)
Wonderful thing that, no doubt about it. It changed our lives for the better . [Well, mostly.]
It took them ages, didn’t it, to make it perfect. I do remember its trials and tribulations in India.
Heard the one about the man in Delhi heard bellowing next door. As he tried to articulate words at the top of his voice, the whole neighbourhood could hear him.
“What’s the problem?” asked the lady next door.
“Oh, nothing,” said the man’s wife, “he’s only talking long-distance to Bombay.“
“Well,” said the irate neighbour, “then tell him to use the telephone!”
Phones in India were not easy things to handle for a long, long time.
Then, there was the cost of using the telephone. How do you think all the Bell companies around the world, and their counterparts, became massive corporate conglomerates? Remember your long-distance bills? I remember our budget plan when I got married and started on a career: 1/3 of your income went to rent, 1/3 to food, and 1/3 to the telephone company.
Then, there was the size. And the look. They used to be huge clunkers, remember? Bucket sized, as ugly as a Honda Element.
It took them a century and more to figure it all out.
So now we have a phone that looks sleek, you can carry it around in your pocket, you can use it anywhere, and there are no wires.
And best of all, once you pay a basic, reasonable monthly fee, you can call anyone, anywhere, and talk as long as you want to. Free!
Just when we got to the finish line, along comes someone really, really smart and tells us we can text our messages instead of talking to someone … on the same machine.
Before I go any further, let me explain how I think technology works.
It entails finding new ways of making a lot of money for a few by getting people en masse to do something they would normally never do in their right minds. Then, once you’ve got them going and they‘re dishing out a bundle - for your benefit - while doing it, your task is to prevent them from thinking for themselves. So, you tell them how lucky they are to be blessed with the latest technology, and how much time and money they save in using it.
So, back to texting.
Now, we’ve been told, instead of calling someone to say: “I’ll be there this evening,” and hang up - all of it, dialing, talking, and hanging up completed in 10 seconds - now you have the preferred and sexy option of texting the message from a miniscule keyboard, using your thumbs instead of fingers.
To make sure the exercise is an interesting one, the key-board has been miniaturized, so that you now require the dainty digits of a marmoset monkey to operate it.
Naturally, the dichotomy between the size of your thumb and that of the keys plays havoc on text.
Good. You can now invent abbreviations as you go along, think up new ones for each word, because, of course, the challenge is to avoid having a normal, straightforward conversation, isn’t it?
One of the great regrets of my life, as I lie on my death-bed one day, may be that I did not have access to texting while I was courting the fair sex. It would’ve added a whole new dimension to the romance, I’m sure. I look at couples now, snuggling together, heads bowed, thumbs poised, texting away at Mach II speed … lord, I envy them! It brings tears to my eyes.
And, you know, you no longer have to be ashamed of your grammar or spelling. You simply blame it on texting. No, wait, you can brag about your lack of language skills now … it is up to the person receiving the message to decipher it. If he can‘t, well then he’s the new geek.
Here’s the best part. If you’re really, really fast, you can finish the whole exercise of punching in and sending six words in a minute and 39 seconds. And, thank God, texting only costs 5 cents a minute.
Instead of the silly old way of a free phone call!
Yeah, I’m a bit skeptical about this latest technology.
I know, I know, this shift from talking on the telephone to texting … after having lost the art of letter-writing … is progress.
It must be, because this is how some of the 22 floors of the Ambani mansion towering over the slums of Mumbai were built … paisa by paisa, cent by cent, garnered from texting in a tech-savvy, billion-populated India!
It’s because texting is so cheap.
And it’s all for our own good.
Conversation about this article
1: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), July 15, 2012, 2:47 PM.
Those were the days when long distance calls had to be put through telephone operators. The calls were usually noisy as this one between uncle and nephew: "Oye, when are you going to return the loan of Rs 5,000.00?".Response: "I can't hear you, Chacha ji!" This went on for sometime, and the operator helpfully interjected: "Your Chacha ji wants to know when you're going to return his Rs.5,000.00." "Look," said the nephew, "I didn't hear him but if you have, you go and settle that loan." Also in those days calls at night went half rate. The little girl asked her father innocently, why Grandma always prayed at night. "Beta, the prayers at night go at half rate, that's why."
2: Yuktanand Singh (USA), July 16, 2012, 5:08 PM.
This reminds me when the cell phones were bolted to the dash. I am old enough to remember 'the way we were' before cell phones. I once dashed out, in pouring rain, to a pay phone on a busy highway to answer my page. This lady realized that she was out of the cream that I had prescribed the previous year for her rash. Needless to say, I was furious. My true colors showed! But let me quickly add, that was 25 years ago. Now we are seeing various forms of textitis: digital, carpal, cervical, even capital and marital. Here is one: husband and wife are sitting for breakfast, both reading newspapers. The wife says, your secretary texted me that you are growing a moustache?