Thursday, March 27, 2014

Do families get connected and smarter..with smart phones?–Part 2

 

I’m sure all of you have unique ways, clever ways, to get the best of the gizmo of the century, your smart phone.  Did you meddle with the ringtones ever, on your smart phone?! Hubby dear loves talking on his phone.

Remember those banners at some holiday shops that mention…

“Shirts and Shoes a must”.

Well, if Hubby dear was to write that..he would write a 3S’s rule.

Shirts, Shoes and Smart phones.

His phone is almost like his work place. So, he makes a lot of calls and gets a lot of them too. Even I call him sometimes!!  So, he chose a tune to tell himself, that, it’s the WIFE. Maybe to ignore the call..while, he tells me..

“I don’t want to miss your call, dear!” Smile

Whatever his reason..it must be irresistable. 5 of us, all girls, waiting to call him, wanting to talk to him. 

And he chose an apt ringtone. You know, that infamous 

“Why this,  why this,  Kolaveri di!”

I guess..when this ringtone plays, on a man’s phone…it’s a no brainer to any Indian, that, it must be the BOSS!

But, why let the world know that you are being such a tortured soul?

Which brings to mind, another TDH study. It mentioned that married men live longer compared to unmarried.

( Ok! all you self deserving woman, you would agree with me..when I say, there is no point trying to find,  if this opinion is right or wrong. Its an opinion! An opinion made after conducting a well rehearsed study…Oops! I mean a well researched study.  I did find this opinion on the internet… )

The line clearly mentioned

“Married men live longer compared to unmarried man!”

There was no reference to any race/ethnicity. It was a statement about all men.

So, one evening when we all sat for dinner..and some topic came up to poke me, in the eye…I blurted out…to Hubby dear..

“ No wonder married men live longer…You don’t marry women, you marry punching bags, so that you can de-stress yourselves and live longer”

I was in cloud nine when my children seconded me as Papa tried to argue back. They told him..

“ Daddy, Don’t you know the 3 rules of marriage?! You told it yourself!”

Rule 1. The wife is the boss.

Rule 2: The boss is always right.

Rule 3: And if the boss is wrong, go back to rule 1.

(Who ever wrote these set of rules..must have been a brilliant programmer, right?!  They wanted to make the men folk suffer.  I have this weird imagination. I am imagining “The Man”, repeatedly trying to go back to rule #1 in the hope of getting that break!  )

These clich├ęd, over hammered rules, as flat as it sounds came back to save me once again and bite Papa dear, for so graciously sharing his loka gyana with his girls.

But Papa dear, who is known for his quick wit…got the last word.  He ended the conversation..saying

“And this punching bag hits!!”

Of course, I remember I was going to say something about ringtones.  We had watched this episode on TV, where, the mother gets a call from the daughter, and, her phone rings as

“Mom…pick up the phone!”

So, as we drove during the weekend, a few weeks ago…Tunnnnnnggg!!! an idea struck me. 

“Why don’t we record our children’s songs as the ringtones for our phones?”, I suggested to Hubby dear.

“Great Idea!”,  Hubby dear was delighted.

So, we went about using these smart devices to record their songs and set them as the respective ringtones, N’s song as the ringtone, for when she calls me,  P’s song as the ringtone and K’s song as the ringtone, for when they call me…on my phone.

Only problem being,  I never pick calls on my mobile…well mostly!

Then Hubby dear came up with this idea. He recorded this as the ringtone…for when he would call me.

“ OSAI PELLAAMA!! PHONE ETTHU! “, and his tone got exclamatory as the no: of repetitions increased.

Translation: A rustic way of calling your wife..asking her to pick up the call.

After that, it became impossible for me, to miss Hubby dear’s calls. Most of the calls were picked the instant I heard his voice. I didn’t realize what an embarrassment I was headed for.

The worst time was, when the phone rang, while I was in the shower at the gym…after I had finished my swim. 

Can you imagine a Man’s voice coming from a shower in the Women’s Locker Room?!!!

Even the fact that I would wrap the bag up in 4-5 towels didn’t help curbing the voice down. Well…it does take time to wipe your hands dry and then reach for the phone, doesn’t it?!

I consistently forgot to change back the ringtone..after I was out of the situation.

Recently, Hubby dear said..that his OLD phone wasn’t receiving the calls as well as MY new Samsung S4.  Well… smart phones are only as smart as the user, right?! Smile

He made a strong case for why I should be using his KHATARA. As giving as I am..I agreed. One fine day the exchange happened and the numbers were switched.

Today, his phone rings in this tune for every phone call…

“oh tora saajan … aa-yo tore desh”, the song from, I hate love stories.

I have no clue how that setting happened. Hubby dear insists, that, it was the ringtone on my phone before we exchanged. With everything reset, both of us haven’t had a chance or the mind to go about changing our ringtones.

I’m just happy that I don’t have a man shouting from my bathroom, while I shower at the gym, after my swim, asking me to pick up the call.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Do families get connected and smarter..with smart phones?!–Part 1

 

We’re a home full of smartphone owners. A family that is,  “totally connected” .. as my children would put it. The only problem is, only one of them picks up the phone, to stay connected and I haven’t gotten smarter in spite of, mine! 

Getting their cellphones for their 11 birthday was the biggest event last year, for my girls, not to mention the resulting HOLE it made in Papa’s pockets.

The girls have strict instructions not to answer calls other than their parent’s and not to share their phone numbers with anybody other than their immediate family and some friends. They’ve been quite abiding by it and hopefully they will continue to do so.

At school, they aren’t allowed phones in their classrooms. So, their phones were safely tucked away, in their lockers, while, I had tried to reach them that day..when I couldn’t find my voice recorder and was in this determined mood to learn Raag Hamsadhawani…that my music teacher had recorded the previous day. 

Well…wasn’t that the only reason I had given my permission, to get them the phones?! So that, I could reach them anytime, when I’m not able to find something I was looking for!!!

WELL,  that intent turned out to be a bummer. If there is a home that would win an equivalent of a Razzie award, for misplaced stuff, no need to look further..It’ll be mine. 

Let me make myself clear.

“ I’m never able to find anything that I share with my children.” 

I’m never able to find anything related to our music classes, notes, recordings, and now even the stuff in my kitchen disappears. Last year, in the name of Mom, the girls, got another pair of UGGs and do I ever find it when I want to wear it?! 

Nope! 

I’m totally scared now,..that they are reaching to be my size. I will not be able to find my dresses as well. Well…I guess, I’m safe to some extent. I mostly wear Indian clothes and my children don’t wear Indian to School, unless there is a change in the fashion sense.

What is this about girls being so obsessed with their parent’s clothes?!  Anybody has any logical reason to give me? I remember myself trying out my Mom’s sarees when she used to be away at work and had mentally reserved so many for myself. 

My youngest child, R, is already reserving all my dupattas for herself. When I told her that they are too big for her. She remarks…

“Mama they are perfect as a sari for me…on my lehenga!”

So, there goes my well collected hand crafted unique dupattas that I haven’t gotten a chance to show off..since, I became a MOM!

I had bought most of my Indian dresses for the sake of those gorgeous dupattas, and imagine handling that… when you have to deal with babies..toddlers..kids. Almost choked myself a number of times as I juggled with my children.

I know this post was about being connected,…especially about smart phones. How people are getting smarter, using smart phones!  Well..my next point is precisely that.

With smart phones..we’ve entered of new realm of multi-tasking.  Haven’t we?! And we’er just starting. Shopping, banking, business deals, catching up…a click away.

Wouldn’t it be wow..if you could juggle so many tasks and end up completing each of them successfully and do a good job of it, too?!  How about texting while you drive?! How about crossing the road while you are texting?! Yeah..dangerous situations. We’er not just dealing drunk driving, now.

Scares me .. how I should even discipline my children so, they are safe and keep others safe.

Well..this post was not about tackling these serious situations that we’ve become exposed to, with the introduction of smart phones but, on a lighter note..it’s about poking fun at myself.

Does focus and efficiency go hand in hand with Multi-Tasking?

Do smart phones aid us in that effort?

I came across this recent opinion/study about smart phones, that said, that smart phones making people become super multi-taskers, is a Myth.

See, It lets you browse things while you wait on something else, lets you play games while you wait for your program to compile, lets you whatsapp while you wait for your child at the activity center or whatever the case…

According to some TDH study …its making people less efficient. 

(TDH =Tall Dark and Handsome?!…ugg no! I’m way passed the M&B days now. Ain’t I? How about Tom Dick and Harry"? Do you have a better suggestion?! Do let me know.)

That study says…our bodies, our minds are not meant to multi task..

OK..a game to prove it.

Try saying the alpahbets,  A through Z and then count 1-26 as fast as you can. Note down the time taken. Then do this..

A, 1, 2, B, 3, C…..and so on and take the time down.  Don’t you see that you do the first task faster?!

Yeah..well, that’s the argument. But, I can’t imagine not keeping the Rice to cook, while I make the daal, or wash the dishes, or put a load of laundry in between cooking.  If I had done like they suggested..I would taken 2 hours instead of one to finish my tasks, won’t I?

Well…maybe that study was pointing to the multi tasking we do at work, on our computers,  on our smart phones?!

( Did I mention,  how hard it was for me, to ignore that Facebook notification, and, all those outlook emails that flashed,  as I was typing this blog!  Imagine being bombared with such messages while you cook up an algorithm.)

As I drove today, I was mentally listing down all the things I was going to finish during the day…I almost forgot where I was driving to!! I even had the music down. So, I wasn’t even listening, while I thought and drove.

So much for my argument. I guess, some people are not meant to multi task.

Well…for all the problems that smart phones may have and maybe causing our society, as we speak..It has made life easier for most of us in many ways.

My children now..text us from their activity class

“Daddy come and sign us out, we’er done.”

It gives us the scope to run an errand while they are engaged. It gives us the scope to not be running back..if the class is going to be delayed.

We’ve been able to message our kids, if we’d be missing when their school bus arrives..

“Hey kids..just a few minutes away.”

They’ve been able to socialize with their neighbor friends through out this winter…making plans for any activity they would like to get together about. The phones have gotten into photography…and wonder…why their images don’t look like the one that Mom takes with her camera…AH!!  isn’t that, the first step towards the quest for perfection? The realization. Next, they’ll want to know the reason.

A few weeks ago, I was surprised to find this message from Papa on our whatsapp group.

“GO TO SLEEP …. NOW!!”

and there was a reply too!!

“Ok!”

Can you imagine pulling your feet out of the blanket, to walk over to their room..after you’ve tucked yourself in bed..with the winter we were facing. Who could blame him?! Smile with tongue out

Friday, March 7, 2014

Winter, this time…

 

Here’s a look at a normal winter morning this year...in my part of the world.  If you've read/watched Hunger games...There is a word that's given a lot of importance. I'm referring to the word "HOPE"!  Its powerful, its said and indeed it is!

Yes...its with that hope that the kids here, went ... to school every morning without any shivers..be it a normal opening or a delayed opening. Its with the same hope that they would look out the window, every morning, to see if it's going to be 7feet of snow, so they’ll have a day off! Ok..maybe 7inches!  Well, the song had mentioned 7 feet of snow Smile

They went out everyday, donning all the 101 paraphernalia that MOM's rules didn't make any compromises on...without any complaints. They coughed through the other days..without troubling mom with the knowledge of the pain their throats were suffering except for that one time..when P came to tell me...
"I think, I felt something rip inside my throat" 
And all those trips to urgent cares..through falling snow or already snowed in roads, trying to keep the vehicle from sliding onto the on-coming traffic on a dark street! Those endless…snow shoveling..that Hubby dear endured, every morning..to keep the walkways ready for the kids to walk to their bus.

All of this..with the Hope that Winter is not here to stay.

They went to school today,..with the Hope that ... Spring is around the corner.

Hope is indeed very powerful.

Even as there's more snow around…to melt, the kids were ecstatic that today's high's will be in the 40s F. Well, after days of sub zero arctic temperatures..anybody is going to be happy with a 0C, right?!

Hubby dear proclaimed that he broke a sweat in his coat and had to unzip it!! :-) 

Atleast the day light is going to be around for some more after this weekend.

Daylight savings this weekend…you see!

The email from school announced that the first day of spring, March 20th, will be celebrated with no homeworks and assignments or projects…

Kudos to all the kids and the hope that next week is going to be warmer than this week. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Priceless moments.

 

My youngest daughter, R, recently turned 7. She loves talking. And, she loves talking to me! An honor, I plan to lap up every bit of. Her questions and remarks are so entertaining. It’s a treat for my ears.  She will curl up in my lap, her legs still hanging out and tell me..

“Look…I’m still your little baby”

and in the next few moments…

“I’m going to marry an Indian when I grow up…it most probably is going to be a Patel or a Shah”, she says unabashedly.

That took me by surprise.  I mean, if you get to check the yellow pages of New Jersey. You’ll find pages and pages of phone numbers, with the last name, Patel and Shah. So, if we were to go by Statistics and the fact that she’ll be marrying an Indian, Probability states that it most probably will be a Patel or a Shah!!  When did she get into the world of Statistics?!

One moment she will want to sip milk of the Sippy cup,  and talk with a lisp  trying to sound like a toddler!!!  This innate feeling in her that she is growing up too fast, that, she’ll soon be loosing that cozy spot of being the little one at home… and the next moment … she’s worried that she’ll have to go through child birth when she grows up and she’s too scared to deal with it.

I’ve even tried pointing her to the fact that college and career choices will be much more difficult things that she’ll be dealing with even before she can think of child birth. But, she seems enthralled by the fact that we humans create another inside of us and that she’ll be getting that opportunity too, when she grows up.

She has even decided her age when she will be doing all this.  Numbers seems to be her strong point and she keeps track of people’s ages and years during which year, who did what. So,  going with common Statistics again..she has decided the age when she’ll be married and have children. Luckily..the order of this seems good enough for me!! Smile

 

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As surprising as these moments are..it is these priceless little nothings that are worth preserving, so that you can recall these tidbits about her at a later date. It would be so much fun, pulling her leg..

I had recently come across a saying…”The way to measure if you are rich is, if you have managed to have something that money can’t buy”.

Its moments like these that make us, Moms, the richest in the world , Don’t they?!

As I drive her to a birthday party, one day, I take a few sips of Water from a bottle, while I was waiting at a traffic light.  She reminds me just in time that this is going to get me arrested.

“Mama…you know Justin Bieber got arrested because he was drinking while driving.  You are not supposed to drink and drive!”, she reminds me.

Recently, when I was supposed to go to a party…she refused to go the party because she wanted to be home alone with me.

“I don’t want to go to the party.  I want to be with Mama at home.”, she said without a second thought.

Even as her sisters left..she was happy to be home with me.  While I washed the dishes..she kept yapping away, giving me lots of URBAN gyan.

She asked me..

“Mommy… you know what gtgttb is?”

Got to go…and something else…I said.

“Got to go to the bathroom!”, she said.

Then , she asked me..

“Do you know…what YRW is?”

No! , I said.

“It means , You are weird, Not that I’m ever going to use that!”, she completes in the same breath.

As she continued giving me some more of her Urban Gyan..all in bits and pieces, very obvious that she’d been picking up from her elder Triplet sisters, I was reminded of the words that Claire said in one of the episodes of Modern Family.

“Raising a kid is like sending a rocket ship to the moon. You spend the early years in constant contact and then one day around the teenage years they go around the dark side and then they are gone”.

Hopefully, It won’t be like that. In the meantime, let me enjoy these priceless moments with R, as she explains me the difference between Butterfly Fairies and Crystal Fairies.