Monday, May 16, 2016

On Modern Techology

I often complain about people who are constantly checking their smart phones as if it is actually glued to their hand. People hardly say "hello" anymore on the street and most people don't even give any eye contact. It is frustrating when you go out in public and you get rammed into by a smart phone zombie who physically bumps into another person because they are so engrossed in their apps. There's so much that you can do on the go that you can easily get consumed by it all. In the evenings, and especially when we're on vacation, I like to completely unplug from the world of smart phones, and especially the internet - to avoid overstimulation and to just take a breather and enjoy my family.

However, as much as I like to complain about modern technology (see above), it is basically the only thing that unites our family across the globe. Now that my in-laws are moving here, I am thinking about all the extended family that we are leaving behind. Most of husband-ji's aunts & uncles are still in India, whereas most of his cousin-brothers/sisters have moved abroad and are scattered around the globe. For Maya to see her cousins, we have to plan special trips which takes a lot of advance coordination. This is something completely new for both our families, as I grew up with my extended family & cousins here in Vancouver; and husband-ji grew up with all of his in Hyderabad. I went for weekly family dinners on Sundays at my grandparent's ranch house; and husband-ji went for weekly visits to play with his cousins in Sitafalmandi.

Luckily, thanks to modern technology like skype, google hang-outs, and WhatsApp, we can keep in touch with our extended family every day which makes us feel like we're not so far away. It also makes us feel like we're not missing any big life milestones, despite the distance.


A few months ago, Maya's little cousin-sister Avantika celebrated her 4th birthday at home, in the U.S. She wanted all of her family to be there when she blew out the candles, so we all came online for a google plus hang-out and all the children helped her blow out the candles on her cake. Afterwards, the children danced around their respective living rooms in their fairy wings and it was like they were all together in person. It was a beautiful moment, and it made me feel like the children were still growing up together, despite them not all living in the same city. Other times, we have even done google plus hang-outs for random pooja's and Vishnu Saharanamam, or to just catch up and see everyone.

Husband-ji was in India this month for his cousin-brother's wedding, while we chose to stay back due to a plethora of reasons (not wanting to take Maya out of school, flights too expensive, my parents' moving, the extreme heat in Hyderabad/Tirupati, can't close the store) which I instantly regretted and was feeling bad about. All of said reasons made it difficult for me to handle everything here all by myself - taking care of Maya, school pick-up/drop-off, cooking meals, packing my parents' house, working in the shop - I really had my hands full. And with Maya being older now, it was very difficult for her to be away from her dad for 3 weeks and many days she burst into tears because she missed him. It is in those moments that I thank God for modern technology. Instantly, I can call husband-ji on Skype and he can talk with his daughter, have dinner with us, and play with us. He can also discipline her from afar, telling her to play with others nicely and share her toys.

And, not only that, but we didn't miss cousin-brother's wedding either. On the day of Uncle K's wedding I was feeling so bad and so left out because we were one of the few who didn't go. During the ceremony, husband-ji skyped us and we watched it live and congratulated them. Husband-ji was sweating so badly that I could see the water on his forehead, even through the very pixelated screen. Everyone was sweating in their silk outfits for the 16 hour long wedding, while we were at home in the A/C and I was sitting with comfortably in my nightgown with no makeup on. We still got to see the wedding and be there, but we just didn't have to suffer from the inhumane heat. Then, I didn't feel so bad anymore!

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What about you, dear readers?
Do you love or hate modern technology?
Do you feel more connected to family members who live afar via modern technology?
What ways do you keep in touch or for what occasions?
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2 comments

  1. I neither love or hate technology because it is just a tool. We invented it and it is up to us to be aware on how it plays on our weak spots and utilize in the best way. Yes, I do unplug quite a fair bit (more than other people) because information overload overwhelms me more than others.

    I find the always looking into the phone habit even when your friend is sitting across the table annoying. Other than that, I cannot deny it has its uses. Just how we utilize it and let it dictate our lives.

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  2. I'm in a long distance relationship - Los Angeles to Munich. We manage to meet up about twice a year for several weeks, but most of the time we're far apart and therefor dependent on technology. I have absolutely no idea what I would do without whatsapp or FaceTime. With 24 years, I'm definitely part of the smartphone zombie generation, and I'm catching myself spending way too much time on the phone. Being constantly connected gives you the feeling of being a part of each other's life, even though we're living on two different continents. But it also makes you miss out a lot of your "real life". We're trying to reduce our communication to a minimum if we're out with people, and set date times where we just spend time with each other without getting disturbed by anything or anyone. It works quite well.

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