July 30, 2010

My Mom... and the Internet

We all know that our mothers play a very influential role in our lives. It really doesn’t matter whether you accept it or not. That is the truth. No one knows you better than your own mother.
About my mom? Well, I wouldn’t know where to begin. There are sooo many things about her that I could say…I could possibly write a whole book on her. For me she’s the “jitna bhi kaha jaaye, utna kam hai” person! And then I thought, why not blog? So I decided I’ll have a ‘My Mom’ series where I can write interesting things about her.
(In fact, anything about her is interesting!).
My mom is a fast learner and, more importantly, determined. That’s how 11 years ago (at the age of 43) my mother decided she had to learn to drive. And she did. To date, she’s the only one who drives in my family. (My dad does not drive any vehicle. We’ve got a DL alright, but haven’t driven since… that’s a story for other times). So when she told us about learning to use a PC and surfing the WWW, we agreed. After all, the PC and internet connection at home can be utilized; she can access the vast wealth of information available online; plus we can keep in touch as well (this was a little before we moved to Mysore for our PGDM). Us teaching her how to use a PC can, at best, be compared to her trying to impart culinary skills to us – the one who knows getting miffed at the one who’s trying to learn!

First it started out with simple tasks – like switching ON the PC and shutting it down. Then she wanted to know how to play songs. Make no mistake, it’s not movie songs. Devotional songs is what this is about. ;-) (For the record, she likes movie songs too). So, we showed her how she could play songs on Winamp. (We used RealPlayer for our music, so the two were well-separated and no confusion arose, thank you). Then it slowly graduated to surfing the webpages. It was during those days that I was reminded of how intimidating all this “technology” was to me, back in those days when I myself was trying to master the art of maneuvering a PC. And I could imagine how complex it could be for her. But, for all my “understanding”, I’d lose my cool many a time. But she didn’t let all of that dissuade her. She marched ahead, one step at a time. We did create an email id for her (in Hotmail). But then she didn’t really carry on much after that. It was only when we moved to Mysore that she did start exploring the internet in a more serious manner.

Now I’m happy to let you know that she checks her mail (Gmail account that we later made for her), surfs the web a little, can check out the matrimonial sites (for us, silly… spending a looot of time going through prospective groom profiles…uff!) and chats with us on Gmail and makes calls on Skype (to us and her sister and family in Dubai). 

She has her way of doing things, though.

She’s most at ease with Internet Explorer, maybe because that’s what she learned to use first. It doesn’t matter that I later installed Google Chrome and demonstrated the benefits of using a ‘tab’ and all that. (Now something’s wrong with the PC and Chrome doesn’t work. So yea… Good thing she’s happy with IE!)

She won’t maximize a page – she views the page in whatever size it opens in… and scrolls up and down, left and right. Isn’t it better to maximize a page and view it in full size, rather than scroll? No, apparently. After telling her a few times, and even standing behind her to click on ‘Maximize’ while she was surfing, I gave up!

She reads everything very carefully. Can’t blame her though. Most people who are new to using the PC or surfing the internet will take any message that pops up very seriously. They don’t want to ruin anything, because they did not pay heed to the message. So even if it’s the “security warning” that pops up when you try accessing Gmail, or all the ads and messages on the sites she happens to be visiting, she reads all of that, just to be safe, you know. And let’s face it, there are sooo many ads and other messages on any given site! Those who’ve been using the internet for a long while know which text/messages are part of the site and which are ‘just there’, trying to distract or allure you. But she knows her way around now, I guess.

She’s a fan of Susan Miller! “Susan who?”, you ask? Well… Mom and us are quite into astrology and zodiac and all the occult stuff. So she was Googling, and got to know about this lady and her astrology website. She subscribes to her Daily Horoscopes. Most of the things predicted by her is true, my mom tells me. And well, yea, I tend to agree. She reads the predictions for the month quite seriously.

Is she stuck with something? She simply calls either of us. I did that and then this happened… I can’t seem to open something… etc. etc. Cute, na?

The things she’s getting to know - The other day I was chatting with her in Gmail and she saw my status message. It had the link for my blog in it. “What is that?”, she asked me. I said that it was a link to my blog, where I wrote stuff and said she could read it if she wanted to. “Ok”, she said. That’s another thing I realised my mom may not be very familiar with. Figuring out that something is a ‘link’, that can be clicked. She’s familiar with the concept of taglines, though…what with two daughters who made the most of that space in Skype! (I doubt she read the blog, though. The last time I got my story and poem published in my college magazine, I had to make her sit in a chair, hand it to her (with the relevant page open) and say “read it!” :-D)

Then she asked me another question. “Why does it become orange sometimes?” The “it” being the chat window in Gmail. “It blinks and turns orange because it’s an indication for you that there’s a message that hasn’t been read. You can set a sound for it too.”… Enlightenment? These are things we take for granted – a chat window blinks and makes a sound when someone sends a message. You can set it on/off. Everything can be personalized. Well, doesn’t really affect her, does it?

Actually, I'm proud of her because she’s getting at ease with all this (though I may not have admitted it to her directly). After all, she’s not working and has no real need to learn how to use a PC. But she did. That’s my mom! Woohoo!!


Vineeth said...

Very interesting way of writing... By the way, did your mother set you off??

Vijitha said...

Thanks! :-)

Acai Cleanse Detox said...

its good you are patient to teach your mother and she is also willing to learn.
My mother does not even bother about these things.

Vijitha said...