Friday, July 01, 2011

I need a change ....

The Dell fellows want me to write on how my gadgets reflect my personality.

For this , I have to go back to the days when I started developing, what could be called a personality.

Those were almost gadgetless days.

Black rotary telephone happened when I was in 8th class, and was soon followed by a single ceiling fan, which was considered the height of splurging and luxury. I started wearing my mother's hand-me-down ladies watch when she thought it would help me finish exams on time. Of course , bicycles (if you consider them gadgets at all) were really the most common thing we students depended on, and naturally none of them had any fancy gears and stuff, because it was considered useful to make efforts and trudge up slopes and stuff, as a favour to your quadriceps.

And so, tens of decades (50 years to be precise) later, when my life is suddenly subject to what I call an electronic tsunami, my choice of gadgets, and their adjustments, always reflects, what my daughter calls "boring old style".

As someone who took to cell phones long after they became the norm, I always hankered after the simpler ones. Ability to make calls was enough. I didn't think messaging was a necessity. The thing that thrilled me the most was that it had a flashlight. My one luxury was a caller tune. I suddenly found that you could have absolutely any thing as a caller tune, and to this day, I have one of the oldest songs in Marathi, which says stuff like , "My body is the safe box, and my worship/bhakti is the deposit inside, Oh God, open the door and come in !".....if this has you doing what they call ROTFL, see the actual song below.

Of course, these days , watches have also become full of variety. Just in case you lost track of day and date , not to mention tides and phases of the moon, watches today come with all these things. While I admire those that can depend on such things, I try and use one head gadget that I was born with to remember the day and date. My watch is actually a nice analogue one, with a dithering second hand, and has my children's photo on the dial.

Of course, cycles have given way to motorized fancy two wheelers, and 4 wheelers now have power-and -automatic everything. We still have a bicycle in use in the house. And when we recently replaced our 38 year old Fiat with a more recent car, skeptical-me ensured that all the doors and windows did not have automatic locks. Nothing like locking with turning keys and rolling windows by hand. Beeping locks that sound like someone throwing up may be fashionable, but wait till you get stuck unlocking things, on a crowded main road, in the monsoons in Mumbai.

The one gadget that I have actually taken to is the digital camera. It has a lot to do with my disgust at loading actual films in dark enclosures, and then clicking an entire roll, only to find out that the entire roll is blank, and nothing moved when I thought 36 exposures were happening. It also has a lot to do with the fact, that there isn't too much of setting and adjusting to do here.

And so , I have gravitated to technology that is simple and quick. Having worked in my youth, with computers that looked like almirahs , and a keyboard interface that looked like a power station control room, I took to PC's with alacrity when they appeared on the scene. They certainly made life simpler, by doing away with things like punched cards. I have been a late entrant into the color monitor stakes, and it took a bright flash of something at the back of my old monitor and everything going dark, for me to start using a color one. Same happened when the LCD monitors appeared on the scene.

I must say, I have taken to laptops, like, say, a thirsty person takes to water. Akin to how one regards child prodigies, I look on in wonder , at the speed with which things work on laptops, the sleek DVD drives embedded into the body, the mountains of gigabytes that are piled up in the hard disk inside, and the unobtrusive USB ports, that offer themselves to innumerable contraptions, from cameras, to chargers, to microphones, to web cams, coffee-warmers, reading lights and possibly many other things I don't know. A boring grey-black has given way to cool blues and perfect pinks, though I think it is the height of stupidity to have actresses in laptop commercials , change their clothes to match the laptop colors, and walk around holding it as if it was a scarf.

I like the fact that it gives mobility to my work. I can carry something done by me to show someone. Of course, the latest gadgets, the wireless net-connect contraptions, are very useful things, though one tends to raise an eyebrow at folks sitting at airports, bus stops, school classes, under trees , and other places, and playing multi player games on them.

And so my gadgets reflect a personality, that says, you control the technology, let it not control you. Just because cell phones now come with cameras, video-shooting capabilities, maps, GPS, radios. TV, alarms, recorders, clocks, games, stopwatches, and Internet, it doesn't mean you stop using your head. You don't need to watch TV on your phone standing cheek-by-jowl in a bus , you don't need to constantly play games with cats and balls, when you should be studying something serious, and telling someone a joke and having a wonderful laugh over something, is a hundred times better than messaging the joke to 100 people with a click.

I like wallpapers on my screen, and most of the time they are family photos, animals or landscapes of seascapes. I do not enjoy half clad singers, ga -ga types or go-go types, fancy dressed actors, or anything outlandish.

Come to think of it, it seems these Dell Inspiron laptops have customizable covers. It would be nice if my laptop could somehow show me on the cover, so folks would know, who, the laptop sitting to one side on the table, belonged to.

Sometimes, all this technological innovation stuff even inspires old fogeys like me to dream of something unique. Like having some face-recognition, face-capturing stuff which would reflect the latest me on the laptop cover, and use that as an additional security check before anyone can power the laptop on.

I guess sometimes personalities define gadgets, and sometimes gadgets end up nudging personas of people.

I hope the Dell types are listening.

They wanted to know how gadgets reflect my personality. I am here to say, that life is all about lots of take, and a bit of give, and sometimes, just sometimes, a personality learns something from the gadget too.....

Vive la Change !


This post is written for the "Change is easy - how your gadgets reflect your personality" contest sposored by Indiblogger and Dell Inspiron


  1. All the best with the contest.. I need a camera dont know which one I just cant make up my mind ahhhhhhhhhhhhh ...

    gadgets they become a necessity now ...


  2. my first visit here, aunty and i just loved this post. esp the 'flashlight' quote. U rock, aunty. All the best!

  3. Sometimes we change according to the gadgets .. but gadgets don't change according to our personality. I hope to find gadgets that would change according to me!!

  4. Who knows, your idea of the cover capturing the latest you, may just happen soon. It's strange to think that so much that seemed unthinkable is now real. So why not this?

  5. oh it is my favourite song too! :) :)
    love and stand by this line - "you control the technology, let it not control you"!
    great post as always. i do hope from the bottom of my heart that the 'Dell types' are reading this and make your wish come true ;)

  6. While gadgets are around to improve our lives, there are many that have become prisoners. Love the clarity with which you have been able to say 'yes' to a few and 'no' to many others !

    Like Brokaw said at Stanford...'Even as we wire the world, are we short circuiting our souls' !

  7. I agree with your sentiments about mobile phones and technology. I started using a mobile phone when I was doing my MBA(and that was ten years back), so you could say going by my age and background, I should be a techno-phile (God, is that even a word?! But you get what I'm saying, right?), but I am not.
    I love the internet, yes, but I don't like being on the radar all the time.

  8. Am I in my sixties?

    It seems some what like that, after knowing your choices, likes and dislikes ...

    and top of that I am smiling. :)

  9. That was a long read. Iam also smone who is nt too keen on gadgets. And I think thats kinda rare for my generation.. But am always the last one to know when sme new technology or gadget hit the town.

  10. I do agree that we can be prisoners of Gadgets. The art to distance is what i liked in your post

  11. Gadgets are driving me crazy. I just learn how to use one and it becomes obsolete.

    Side Issue: I just viewed the movie "The Namesake" on DVD. It illustrates the different cultures and customs from one part of the world to another.

    Since it is about a young married couple moving from India to the U. S. I thought of you as you have your feet in both worlds.

  12. I'm happy with stuff that is functional, but since the kids didn't approve of my basic cell phone, they gave me a good phone. I find myself enjoying taking photographs with it.
    With you on not liking film rolls- had too many disasters with them to appreciate them!