Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Me, Ma & Whatsapp :-)

"Ma, the rice is clearly overdone". I declare loudly.

It's 4:45 in the afternoon. My mother and I are watching a cookery show called 'Taste Time'. The chef has overcooked the basmati rice and while 'Prawns-Peas Fried Rice' sounded intriguing at first, we both are amused at his attempts to mask the mess with a layer of garnish that looks like a thick quilt covering a baby.

He should call it 'Prawns Peas Upma' I say.

Mom doesn’t care about the joke.
"What is this WhatsApp"? She asks me changing the topic.
"It is a message sending service".I say curtly.
"My friend said it is an app, What exactly is an app"? 
"App is a short form for application ma".
"Application for what"?
"For the function of sending messages".
"Oh okay".

I’m happy for a short while that the matter seems to be closed, but then the discussion resumes.

"How do I get it on my phone"? She asks.
"Your phone doesn’t support WhatsApp". I reply as I turn off the tv.
"Why? Is my phone Anti-Whatsapp"? 
"It’s not a smartphone. I tell her".
"Why did you buy me a ‘dumb phone’ then"?
"Because it took us a year to teach you how to use a tv remote".
"What is that supposed to mean"? Mom asks me angrily.
"Nothing". I say quietly.
"Ok Mr. Smart Phone guy, explain to me how WhatsApp works". 
"You download the app from the internet".
"What is download"?
"Ma….." I moan.
"I’m trying to learn here. If I had the same attitude when I was teaching you the alphabet you would still be babbling nonsense".
"You mean like ba ba black sheep have you any wool"? I ask her.
"Very funny, now tell me what does download mean"?
"Ma it's just some stuff you transfer into your phone over the internet".
"From which part of the internet".
"An online store".
"Where is this online store"?
"On the internet".
"Where is the internet"?
"It is all around us".
"So you just get the stuff that you want from the air"? 
"No ma. You got to a particular website and there you search for what you want and when you find it you download it. Understand"?
"What is the name of the website"?
"It's called the play store".
"Where is this play store located"?
"Jalahalli cross".
"I just told you it’s on the internet ma".
"Oh, oh yes yes".
"Did you get yours from the playstore"?
"Because I’m using an I phone".
"Then how did you get Whatsapp"? She asks emphasizing the word 'You'.
"From the apple app store".
The store sells apples too?

"Why couldn’t you take yours from the play store"?
"That’s for android phone users".
"What is android"?
"Ma I’m hungry". I say, knowing full well that mentioning my hunger would distract her.
"What is android"?
"It is a type of phone".
"You mean like Nokia, Samsung"?
"No no, it's an operating system for a smartphone".
"What is an operating system"?
"Is there a gynecoid also"?

I laugh.

"No there is no gynecoid".
"How did it come in these stores that you talk about"?
"Someone uploaded it ma".
"Now what does upload mean"?
"It is the opposite of download, you put stuff up on the internet".
"So you just put it up there"?
"And how do you take it when you need it"?
"You download it".
"From where"?
"The Internet. Ma, we’re going in circles now".
"This is very confusing man".
"I know that’s why you shouldn’t be on WhatsApp".

She looks upset so I quickly apologize.  

"I’m sorry, I’m sorry, let me show you".
"Imagine that there is a world that exists around us in addition to the one we live in".I say as I stand next to her and make hand motions as I speak to  explain things better.

"You’re so grown up and smart". My mom says looking at me lovingly.
"Ma, pay attention". I say trying hard not to blush.
"This world is called the internet".
"Which world"? She asks
"This one". I say pointing at the imaginary globe I have made with my hands.
"Why is…"
"No more questions till the end of the class". I say sternly interrupting her mid-sentence.

"In this world, there are shops of different types and sizes. Like there are shops in our world for grocery, apparel, technology etc. You with me"?
"I’m glad we’re on the same page".
"The play store,and the app store are like huge malls in the internet world that sell applications to help people do things, send messages, make calls, record music".
"Just like in the real world, when you need something, you go to the store and buy it. In this virtual internet world too, you go online…"
"What is onl…"
"Mm mm, let me finish".
"You go online and you buy it".
"Okay. I understand, somewhat".
"Phew". I sigh loudly and sit next to her".
"So how does WhatsApp work she asks me"?
I grudgingly take my phone out and open the app.
"You see all these people in my list of contacts"? I ask her.
"Yes, that girl looks very pretty by the way. Tell me about 
"I’m just asking, you never want to share anything with your mother".
"She’s a friend".
"Is she single"?
"Ok, you can tell me later. She is very cute in case you didn’t already notice".
"So, coming back to WhatsApp. All these people on the list have the app on their phone, so I can send them messages, pictures, videos and all that".
"Nice". She says.
"Tell me more about the girl".
I get up and walk out of the room shaking my head.
"Come back". She yells.
I turn around and return to my place on the sofa next to her.
"Thanks for explaining it to me so well".
"You’re welcome".

There is quiet in the room for about 5 minutes, but there is an eerie feeling inside, I know another question is on its way.

"I’ve been thinking of asking you something for a while now".
"Oh God". I exclaim. "Not about the girl again I hope".
"No no, you can tell me all about her later".
"I won't".
"We'll see about that".
"So what's the other question you wanted to ask me about"?

"Now that you have so eloquently explained to me what WhatsApp is, could you please tell me something about ‘The Facebook’"?

Until Next Time


P.S. If you are reading this ma, I love you very very much. Can't wait for us to try the prawns peas thing :-P