There was a time when postmen were eagerly awaited and letters by post used to be the main medium of communication. Unlike today, when there is instant connectivity, in my growing up days mobiles were unheard of and even fixed line telephones were rare. Away from home I would be residing in the hostel, for days together my parents had no idea about my wellbeing till the time they received a letter by post. That was the time when ‘no news’ was considered to be ‘good news’.
How the times have changed! Today, not only are the children crazy about mobiles, but we, as parents are equally keen to equip our children with the cell phone so as to be in constant touch with our young ones. But hasn’t the instant connectivity added to our anxiety quotient, turning many of us into paranoid parents? If due to some reason there is no reply, alarm bells ring immediately and anxiety takes over. I can not forget the panic that gripped us when my son, away on a college trip, did not attend our calls as he went off to sleep, keeping his mobile on silent mode.
Parents, especially the mothers, tend to keep minute-to-minute account on mobile without realizing how much the youngsters resent the constant monitoring. They hate our prying calls. I can imagine how irritated my son must have been with my frequent calls, since he, during his college days, had stored my number under the name ‘Hey Ram’ in his mobile.
Mobiles may come handy to the parents to keep a tab on the whereabouts of their children but the youngsters are quite capable of hoodwinking them. Once I had gone to a multiplex to watch a movie. During the intermission, I happened to overhear a girl talking on her mobile. “I am busy, mom…in the college. Call you later.” I was shocked at the way in which the girl blatantly lied to her mother, without an iota of guilt. Needless to say, she was having a gala time with her (boy) friend.
This reminds me of a joke that did the rounds after September 11 terrorist attack. On hearing about the attack, a woman, whose husband worked in the World Trade Centre, made frantic calls to her husband to enquire about his wellbeing. Despite repeated calls, there was no reply. After a couple of hours, when the husband switched on his mobile, he took his wife’s call. Oblivious of the catastrophe, in a matter -of -fact manner, he said, “Darling, I am in the office…will be back soon”. Obviously the husband was caught. He was not in his office but enjoying the company of his girl friend. That was the time when mobiles were not fortified with GPS (Global positioning system). Beware! Now mobiles with GPS compatibility are capable of tracking the location.
(Published in Hindustan Times on May 11, 2012)