Thursday, July 21, 2016

Slaves of Technology

I had suspected this would happen all along. One fine day you wake up and find that your phone doesn’t respond. There’s this offensive message, “Unfortunately, contacts has stopped.” I receive a call from my brother-in-law who is on the way for a visit, but I can’t access his telephone number. I sit and fume. Not unlike the stupid content writer who wrote this script, the phone, too, is an idiot of the exalted kind. I know because I was one.

Having worked with techies, I pride about my knowledge of technical gizmos and gadgets. So I try uploading my contacts to cloud and restoring it to the damn thing. It restores alright, but still the contacts section is inaccessible, showing the abovementioned message. It’s a virus I am sure, I say, convinced my gizmo is in the last throes of life.

I call up my techie son in the US. It’s midnight there and I can hear his sleep-deprived dreamy voice mumble something about operating systems. It seems he uses an iphone and has used that technology all his life, so he doesn’t know much about Android. Can a phone operating system be so weirdly complex? Papa, how many Applications do you have? I say I have around thirty different applications, including one on which I do sketches and doodles. That’s too many, an application can infect your phone, delete some, it will work, and he goes off right back to dreaming. I try posting my problem on the family Whatsapp group, since that application is working. A cousin’s techie son points me to a discussion group and says I can get my solution there. I go there. There are people who sound like techies with names like Star War characters. Three-pee-oh says the phone is overloaded so delete some applications. I have heard it before.

It sounds so simple. Delete some applications. So I delete a lot many applications I haven’t used lately. I switch off and re-start my phone. It still shows that pesky message, “Unfortunately, your contacts has stopped.” What’s so unfortunate about it? I know it is unfortunate, so don’t rub it in. Besides, your grammar is bad.

This is unfair. I shouldn’t have gone for a smart phone in the first place. Or, I should have bought an iphone, which, I hear, can never catch a virus, and therefore can never be infected like my phone is. Meanwhile, I can’t make any calls. Brother-in-law has to be picked up because a strike is on and rickshaws won’t be plying. There’s no way of knowing when they would reach. Wifey is away in school, so I can’t use her phone.

As one who prides in knowing a bit of technology and has used it to advantage I sit and wring my hands in frustration. I know what it means when friends say their phone memories have been wiped out along with their bank passwords. This is technology without the redeeming factor of good content writing and good programming. The nearest service station is ten kilometres away and, anyway, I won’t be able to go there because of the rickshaw strike.

And, that’s what modern life has become. We all have become slaves of technology.

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