Being smart, or dumb?

Sameer Sharma

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” The statement by John F Kennedy makes sense but those who don’t change become an object of ridicule. I bought a costly mobile seven years ago when smart phones were a dream for many. I would flaunt it at parties and among my colleagues. With time, obsolescence followed. Smarter, thinner, bigger-screen phones arrived offering quick internet access, affordable chatting, online shopping, bill payments, banking etc.

Now it was my friends’ turn to boast of their swanky Apple and Samsung sets, forcing me to hide my old set. My wife too yielded to my kids’ pressure and exchanged her phone with a smart one despite my resistance. She even wanted me to move with the times. For me, a phone is essentially meant to make or attend to calls and mine was doing it well. The new 5-inch smart phone grabbed the attention of all in my house with the kids playing games and the better-half busy on WhatsApp or Facebook. I was happy because they were happy.

My office colleagues would gather near me to share the goings-on in the WhatsApp group. Every session of gossip ended with a barb about my ancient handset. When all their efforts failed to persuade me to change my handset, they started using adjectives such as old-timer, orthodox etc for me. The situation was no different at home except that the criticism was strident. I was served a deadline to buy a new phone the day my daughter witnessed a smart phone in the hands of a man who applied mehndi on ladies’ hands in the local market.

One day, an air of unusual happiness descended on my house after days of cold war. The occasion was my marriage anniversary. The mystery unfolded in the afternoon when a courier man delivered a packet containing a smart phone at my house and willy-nilly I accepted the gift. Breaking the comfort zone of an easily operated phone was an onerous task. Around 10 pm I was trying to master its functioning when, by mistake, my finger touched a name in the contacts and the call went out to the mother of my son’s friend, a doctor. I struggled to cancel the call but in vain. Soon a “hello” from the other side greeted me. I was nonplussed. Apologising for making a call at the odd hour could have left a wrong impression on her. So I preferred to engage her in talk. An idea struck me on the spur of the moment. Since she was a doctor, I sought a remedy for irritation in my eyes. She prescribed an eye-drop as a makeshift arrangement followed by advice to visit a doctor tomorrow. Thank God, the crisis was over.

In office, my acquisition of a smart phone was the breaking news of the day. The first WhatsApp message read: Congrats sir, aap bhi tech-savvy ho gaye.

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