Sunday, 14 September 2014

Oldies Online and a Silly Switch



Mickey Mouse in his modern Clubhouse has a Silly Switch, which is essentially a multi-coloured lever with an ‘up’ and a ‘down’, the handle pilots use to fly planes faster in the storm when snakes, aliens or terrorists hijack them. Now, when this silly switch is switched on in this Clubhouse, silly things start happening all around. Think of H. E. Wilkinson’s poem ‘Topsy Turvy Land’ and multiply it by 10. That silly! Loony hell breaks loose. Tea pots start dancing, pairs of shoes elope and gadgets develop a mind of their own. The only thing that helps is finally pulling the lever down and stopping the silliness. 

While someone from Mickey’s brigade manages to do that sooner than later, it seems the young blood of today wonders if a Goofy has pulled the Silly Switch lever full way up in the world of chubsy-tubsy Oldies and their newly found retirement plan - the Internet. I will explain, but first some background. 

If we were to calculate the number of old people socially networking and those in queue waiting for the password to come to their minds from two hours ago, I am sure we will arrive at a mind-boggling figure. Those lovely pastimes of yore like gardening, knitting, sewing, walking and staring into infinity on park benches are gradually making way for a new found love lovingly called ‘doing the Internet’. Of course, there is a time for everything so surfing the web will probably mean post-medicines and after Philips Top 10 re-runs, but can be adjusted before cleaning the dentures, because teeth we don’t need in the www. So progressive, futuristic and so very cute! 

That is exactly why the youth of today are not amused.

With children either settled abroad or as far away as is needed to keep nostalgia alive but trips back home expensive, parents running free and wild online are becoming embarrassing, time consuming, reputation-downing and even heart-breaking for the sons and daughters of the said hexa-hepta-octa-genarians. While the old men and women were unavailable for comment (it must be www time), I spoke to some youngsters on why they seem so disturbed with their parents opening Gmail accounts and ‘coming on’ FB, for instance.

Says a 28-year-old woman (name withheld) working in the private sector – ‘My mother started using the internet a few months back. I was home for a holiday and for the first time ever she was more interested in ‘learning the net’ than rolling besan ladoos for me.  I opened her accounts, made the necessary flow charts, painted the CPU button red so she could locate it and came back to my working life without home-made achaar, ghee and nighties. My train was yet to reach when a Facebook notification said she had posted on my timeline. My moment full of pride turned dreary when I read ‘You have left two bras and one matching panty hanging on the clothes line. Please buy new ones. Only cotton, okay? Make sure you check the elastic. Bye Chunchun.’ At that moment, my phone lost signal. Needless to say, going back to office was a feat worthy of a bravery award. Clearly, she had not understood the concept of a private message. Still hasn’t. I catch her publicly having a private gossip conversation about a third party on the third party’s wall. How silly is that! No, I am not going home for Diwali this time. She can anyway email me spam forwards on how to keep my skin glowing, how to be a grateful daughter and how to find the right match. That is, if she is not posting them on my timeline.’

Zach (name forged) a 19-year-old college student shares his experience with utmost honesty, spiky hair and a hole in his jeans. ‘My dad is becoming an internet addict, man. It’s beyond me why he doesn’t want to read the newspaper any more, or, or talk to his other chums or something about cricket or whatever. It’s like every time I see him he’s sitting in front of the computer, with his nose touching the screen. Gosh, what could he be up to? I saw him on Twitter the other day. A ‘RampModelGal’ was talking about types of balls and he was discussing cricket with her. To think that my coach from school follows him. Shucks. Help me, man. I worry for him. He even sent a ‘namastey ji, have a blast ji’ to Savita Bhabhi thinking she’s his office senior’s wife celebrating her 50th birthday. He even accepted the invitation and RT-ed it when she said ‘my place, tonight ji.’ I am so screwed. To top it all, he will reason it out with me why this is the same Savita who I rode when I was a baby by poring over her picture. WTH, dude! He just doesn’t get it. Get him off!’

The Silly Switch is fully up, indeed.

Horrifically silly tales of oldies on the web can be heard from all corners of the world. A hypochondriac woman had a mild anxiety attack when her son screamed at her for getting a virus into the system. In the US of A, a man confused Google Plus with his insulin injection’s name and forgot he was yet to take it. He had spent 4 hours joining well-being communities there. A woman who won a spam lottery got so over-excited that her coronary arteries made her faint, come to, faint, come to and finally faint in the neighbour’s driveway. She could inform her friend only after gaining consciousness.  

This is not all. Oldie BPs are rising sky high looking at how impolite the youth of today are (even error messages are better mannered) refusing to troubleshoot ageing parents’ www-problems in the dusk of their lives. ‘Sorry, I’m busy’ is what the children have to say in answer to simple questions like ‘where is the key to the keyboard?’ and ‘Shared your diaper pics on your timeline. How do I tag my kitty friends now?’

Youngsters are not amused. Why else will they even refuse to respond to their parents’ calls beginning with a merrily innocent ‘Whatsapp, puttar!’ with no net-strings attached? Last I checked, such abused children were looking to form an underground organization for finding Mickey The Mouse. Why? To turn the Silly Switch down, of course. 

Disclaimer – Age is just a number. Do not take offence. I speak from the horse’s mouth.



[Written for WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts. The prompt for today was - Sorry, I’m busy - Tell us about a time when you should have helped someone… but didn’t.] 

33 comments:

  1. I have had my friends narrate more or less similar stories of hilarious parental encounters of the online kind. Howlarious post Saks!!!

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    1. I like what you call them. Could be a best-seller's title. Genre - thriller, of course. ;)
      Thanks, Jai. :D

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  2. And imagine what happens when one's ma-in-law goes online!

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    1. Not imagining, Beloo. This was supposed to be a funny post. :D
      Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. Real life stories from most of us, very well depicted, you are right Age is just a Number :)

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    1. SO good to see you here, Amit. Thank you, Twitter! :D
      Glad you liked the post.

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  4. I face the brunt from both ends. My mother continues to comment, I Like It, despite telling her that Like is a button. And then my son is amused by the fact that his mother spends more time on Facebook than he does. Whatsapp puttar and Check the elastic had me in splits. Enjoyed reading this one.

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    1. My father-in-law does the same. He even omits the 'it' from the 'I Like it'. It's quite endearing, all this. :)
      So glad you enjoyed reading this one, Alka.

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    2. It is endearing, yes. And as technology changes life comes full circle.

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  5. Very hilarious, thank god my mom is quite worried about the privacy settings but yes silly goof ups have happened! Well said.

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    1. What a sensible mom you have, Inderpreet. :D
      Thank you so much for reading.

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  6. Bwahaha! Phew! Thank God my mum doesnt use it. Though I have a few relatives who have been successfully blocked ;)

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    1. I have blocked many relatives. Esp the ones who are directly posting on my timeline asking me when the second kid is coming. :P Phew!

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  7. This is the reason why Facebook has a Restricted List!! :D
    Great post, Sakshi!!

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    1. Hey, thanks, Roshni. Good to see you here. Glad you liked it. :)

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  8. Interesting post and quite an observation!

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  9. Hah, funny one! But one great fallout of the oldies making it to Facebook is that there will now be way fewer orange sweaters with the spindle pattern to go around in this universe.

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    1. ... or the X-massy snowflake pattern, got by sons and daughters living abroad and worn Diwali onwards. :D I don't think hand-knits are going out of fashion in this universe any time soon. It's all in this new generation's head that they have. :P

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  10. hahaha :D oh teri. Thank God my mom doesn't use FB but she makes it up by ranting on WhatsApp :D

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    1. Oh I love that oh teri! I use it so often. :D I don't even know what it means. :P
      He he. Ranting on Whatsapp. Still sounds better than those sappy forwards you get there!
      Thanks, Jas. :D

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    2. Even I don't understand what it means Sakshi but I use it at every given opportunity. It sounds fun :D

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  11. Hilarious post!

    The Disclaimer was the crowning glory!!

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    1. Thanks, Pro. Heard you laugh out loud in the middle of my writing a book review so came running. :D
      You see, the disclaimer had to be there. These days there are societies for the protection of you-name-it, some of them quite powerful. Did leave it double-edged. For who knows what I mean by the 'horse'. :P Oh, I know, of course.
      Thanks for reading!

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  12. hahaha ROFL.. My dad's already on FB, liking and commenting on each of my photo and status. I dread the day he would post a pic of me with two ponytails.
    //You have left two bras and one matching panty hanging on the clothes line.// ROFL this is epic :P
    Love reading your post .

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    1. My mom too. I sometimes feel they think it their 'farz' to leave no post of ours "un-commented-upon". :D Your dread and my dread match. :D
      Thanks, Rajlakshmi.

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  13. Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant!! I tell you these parents can drive you mad. Every time my father sent me a fwd, he called to check if I received it and if yes then why haven't I replied yet. And my mom she sends me nasty fwds with double meaning and I have no clue what to say, the same woman who taught me not to talk this and that now thinks I am old enough to crack cheap jokes with her.

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    1. Ha ha ha. Your dad sounds so cute. Your mom too. :D
      I think you are in a happy space, Neha. ;)
      Also, thank you visiting my space today.

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  14. This is totally relatable now that my father has started to use whatsapp, fb, hike!! My mother has not yet entered the zone! Thankfully :D
    Ps- i have blocked half my family on fb! I cant rish another- "shaadi kab kar rahi ho?" On my wall !!
    Phewww

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    1. Yes, with both of them there it would be double-dhamaka. Thankfully, my mother alone takes care of my father's and her own account. :D
      That shaadi-question risk is best avoided, no matter how daredevil you may be. :D
      Good to see you here!

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  15. Haha! The net is becoming a dangerous place and seem the online world is become too small a place to run away from them...Good Living has shifted to net:)

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    1. With my family on FB, 'dangerous' is indeed the word. :D
      Thanks for reading, Vishal.

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