Mom has been with us since 2009 as dad passed away in Dec 2008. We spent almost two years convincing my mother to use a cellphone. She had the most wonderful excuses to offer – “I can’t hear anything on the cellphone” or “its too much money for a call” or “Health is affected because of cellphone usage” or “I get a headache everytime I take a call” or her most favourite of all “I forgot that I have a cellphone” :):). Finally after much convincing, cajoling and threats she finally started keeping the cellphone with her when she went out for her walks. When I quit full time work in 2015 she tried to convince me that she no longer needed the cellphone because I don’t need to call her from office. Again another round of convincing and fights happened and the cellphone stayed. She would not use any cellphone that cost more than 1500/-. So we kept getting her a basic Nokia phone and each of them worked for almost 3 to 4 years before giving up.
Phase 2 was when Krishnan, Nisha, Raju and many other people taught her how to send SMS and while it was new knowledge she sent a lot of messages and then just stopped. She has very little patience and typing a message out is painful so she just would call and suddenly she could hear everything :).
Phase 3 of Amma’s relationship with the cellphone came last year. Her brothers and my cousins all shifted to Jio and she was still on Vodafone. She kept pestering me about how cool Jio was and how inexpensive it was. Krishnan and I were also not particularly thrilled with Vodafone and wanted to try Jio. We bought our first Jio SIM before our Kumbh Mela trip in Feb 2019. We were blown away with the ease and speed of the process and also the amazing connectivity. We immediately ported Amma’s number to Jio and that’s when the challenge of changing her phone came up.
The Jio 4G SIM wouldn’t work on the Rs. 1500/- Nokia phone and we had to either get a Rs. 1500/- Jio phone or a smart phone. We decided to get the Rs. 1500/- Jio phone as it came loaded with WhatsApp. Got my mother to learn WhatsApp and got her added to her family WhatsApp group ! After sending a few single letter messages on WhatsApp she is a pro now. Its not that she doesn’t understand how to use WhatsApp, its just her impatience with the whole process. She will just press any key randomly and expect the right word will come up :):). She hates to think through the steps and hopes that the phone will understand on its own. But now that she has got the hang of the process, she is hooked.
She wakes up in the morning and looks at her WhatsApp messages and sometimes sends a message. Today she wished Krishnan and me a Happy new year over WhatsApp… the added bonus of learning to WhatsApp is her dormant knowledge of English is getting refreshed. She does spell correctly and sometimes spells the word phonetically and she gets the grammar right most of the time.
Happy New Year to Everybody – my Mom’s WhatsApp message on the family WhatsApp group.