Recently, I called my mother, who lives in Punjab, after several failed attempts at sharing a video from my son’s school with her. I was very eager to share the video with her and called her to be able to help her. Mothers can often come up with bemusing responses when it comes to technology, but this one left me particularly nonplussed.
These were her precise words, “Beta send the video on Dinesh (the domestic help’s phone). I retorted assuming that that’s her escape from wanting to learn something which may be appearing intimidating. But her explanation bewildered me further. I was told that the household help has a phone a lot fancier than both her as well as Dad’s. And he had a better plan, a 4 G apparently, which was faster and way better than what they had opted for. No class bias this! But I was both shocked as well as jealous, since at that point of time, I was still contemplating whether to go in for a data package supporting 4 G or not. I learnt (being at the receiving end of major bragging) from Dinesh bhaiya later that he had two such fancy phones. Why? Because the family loves streaming movies, and they have SKYPE sessions with the family back in the village etc.
My mom further enlightens me that earlier there was TV time and now there’s phone time too. From being someone who knew nothing about the internet and calling Wi-Fi ‘weefee,’ he has come a long way to use YouTube and the Gaana.com app proficiently. It has not caused my parents any inconvenience and they think it is a great way to empower people. And they have a vested interest, too. so I think! Of watching videos of grandkids sent by their offsprings. So all’s ok. But “Grapes are sour” for me, and I’m not denying it.
Falling smartphone prices, less expensive data packages, and the availability of more mobile-friendly content are all driving this growth. The numbers are even higher for young age groups, new internet users, and lower-income segments. Among rural users, a mobile phone is the primary online device: 87% of connected rural consumers use only their phones to access the internet.
Hair’s The Story That Made Me J of My Maid in India
My domestic help here in Gurgaon, a 30 something hard working woman is always lamenting about how the single mother in her has to fend for herself and her daughter. Not just that being a dutiful daughter whose parents also have an equally ‘un-dutiful’, irresponsible son, she has to send some money across to her folks back in the village too. Recently, in the horrid Delhi summer, wherein I couldn’t even be bothered if there was hair on my head or not (the latter preferred given the weather!), she started coming to work with her long hair left loose. Out of nothing but concern for her, and getting prickly heat at the very sight of her, I asked her to tie her hair. She gave me a matter of fact reply, “Didi, I got my hair straightened, hamesha (permanent) wala. I bought some special bahar wala (imported) shampoo too”. Though I admire her honestly and didn’t have the heart to ask her as to why she’d spend such a whopping amount on this, given her compulsions and liabilities, but believe me, I still am trying to wrap my head around this one. Yes, I felt jealous of her, especially after seeing the pathetic state my hair was in. Et tu, Brutus!!! I know there are many like me.