If you have been a regular reader, you would know that I am not exactly tech-savvy. I mean I’m not one of those geeky early adopters. Ok, ok I admit (as I did in the past) I am the last on the bandwagon. Fine, I’m one of those who dashes and just manages to latch onto the overcrowded tech bus, hanging out on a tiny toe and half a hand, just as it leaves the stop.
So, uptil now I was largely impervious as, one by one, like bowling pins, my friends and family succumbled to the latest thingamajig in town. People on the street were suddenly lost in themselves, bent over like drones, only an occasional smile escaping every now and then. In the elevator they no longer met my eye. In trains they were lost in intimate exchanges as I looked around, companionless. I hadn’t felt this left-out since secondary school.
Finally three months back, I took my first baby step into the ‘smart’ world with a I-pod mini. Still resisting, still very much a digital immigrant, it’s use was restricted to the gym. ‘App’ still meant job application to me. Then I finally cracked and bought the I Phone. For days it stay stuck in its box at one corner of my cupboard. I behaved like a narcotic addict around it. Or rather a person terrified of turning into a narcotic addict with the first puff.
Good sense and some ragging from the hubby got it finally out of its box. And it was as I had feared.
It took me all of six days to turn into a hardcore addict.
I was now lost in my I-Phone in the trains, checking out weather and traffic for my journey (as if it ever changes in damp Singapore). I was one of those bent over in the streets, feverishly following the GPS map, even though my destination is right in front of me. The phone could find my friends anywhere in the world, whether they wanted to be found or not. It could teach phonics to my 4-year-old, it could entertain my daughter, it could consolidate and organise all my work, it could show folks back in India what Orchard Road looked like pre-Christmas. But most importantly it could order my favourite pizza anywhere in the world.
It made me marvel, (like the pre-web 90s,) how the hell did I survive without it? Just six days back.
And then the phone amazed me with Siri. For those who don’t know (I surely didn’t two days back) Siri is Iphone 4S’s new, intelligent voice recognition software. Of course, most of the time Siri gets confused, he doesn’t understand what u say unless you are speaking in absolute quiet (good luck with that in Mumbai) and in a Brit/American accent, so its really of no use. But Siri is more fun when it doesn’t understand you. It doesnt give monotonic answers like ‘Sorry, I didn’t get that.’ It talks back like a real human being.
Like I was demonstrating to hubby the other night. For the nth time Siri didnt understand me when I said ‘Call Ashish’
‘I sheesh? Is that so?’ Siri asked
‘No,’ I replied.
‘I thought so,’ Siri commented wisely.
And then it got even funnier. Fed up with my I-phone obsession at 11:30 p.m. on a weeknight, Hubby ragged me to shut it and sleep and forget stupid Siri. He didn’t know that I had kept the mic on.
‘We were talking about you and not me,’ Siri announced calmly as I dissolved in helpless giggles.
It really happened. Honest.
And so I was blissfully lost in my new smart tech world until I took the Mini to the gymthe other day (after it had been properly synched with the Iphone this time). Now since Mini is essentially my Gym walkman, most of the songs on my playlist are upbeat, racy numbers you can exercise to.
I was in a foul mood that day, having gotten up on the wrong side of the bed-it was just one of those days. Gruffly, I switched Mini on and tapped ‘shuffle’ to play songs in random order from my playlist
Mini began by playing Arvil Lavagne’s ‘What the Hell!’ Very in tune with my grim mood, I began working out vigourously. Five minutes later it switched to ‘That dont impress me much’ and then ‘arrogant worms’. By the time the soulful rendition of ‘mera kuch samaan’ began , I was Spooked. I had all of five sad numbers in my plalist and Mini had never never uptil now chosen these five. It was as if Mini was reading my mood.
Help! My smart phone is too smart for me! And I am not smart enough to stop!