Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Staying connected

Calling up mom every night and catching up on the days activities with her is a daily ritual. This has been a part of me ever since I moved out of their house and now has got extended to conversations between my parents and my 3 year old son. My son takes pleasure in reciting all the new learnings of the day excitedly over the phone and giggles at every appreciation. So when my parents decided to visit my brother for a couple of months in the US, I thought these conversations would get limited to once a week calls with a watch on the long distance calling card talk time. However on the contrary thanks to Skype I am talking to them daily. My close cousins from another town too have joined the bandwagon and now we are a huge family all simultaneously logging into Skype to catch up with a daily dose of gupshup. All of this is possible because we are chatting over wire. Personally talking on the phone is like using dedicated bandwidth where you cannot really keep silent for long or take long pauses in the conversation. If you do that you might as well hang up. It is as if there is nothing to talk. However with Skype I just make a call and keep the speakers loud enough to be heard as I continue with daily chores. So mummy can hear me coaxing my son to eat his breakfast as I ready him for school, hear the tadka as I cook breakfast and I on my part can hear my brother strumming away to a melodious song. Skype is one of my communication tools.

The other one I find myself getting more and more addicted to is Facebook, especially when it comes to sharing with friends. Just as the daily phone calls, logging into Facebook to check out what my friends are doing has too become a daily ritual. To think about it all it takes is a just a phone call and saying Hi to friends I knew back in school or college but I am bad at keeping in touch. I am bad at calling people who have moved far away in the present but who were a big part of me in the past with who I had fun moments. So the promises of keeping in touch when I parted with them remained just that..promises and never materialized into reality. So why is it that with FB I see this whole lot of change in me. I guess on FB there is a paradigm shift in the way we communicate. I can post what is on my mind whenever I feel like, upload photos that offer glimpses of my life, leaves messages for friends all whenever I feel like without requiring them to be available at that moment. Once I have shared a slice of my present, it automatically opens up channels of communication. So a who I was not in touch with for the past 10 years can comment on my vacation.

Then there are times when it is like the internet cloud offers a shield behind which I find my freedom where I can be myself. I can think of an analogy where a speaker with a stage fright would probably get petrified to speak in front of an audience with just a microphone in her hands feeling completely exposed as opposed to standing behind a rostrum, with a good part of the body hidden behind the rostrum. I believe the same must be true for many of us as just yesterday when I was logged on FB a close friend revealed over chat that she was seeing someone. Not once did she mention this when we met in person. She even directed me to their photo that was in her shared FB album. So there I was getting an immediate introduction with her boyfriend. Also a good friend from the past happened to invite me to his friends list on FB and soon our messages turned to cheerful banter. Then there were those whom I had lost contact and a search on FB sure enough resulted in a hit. Some skeptics may call this as the disadvantage of the internet age where we are losing touch with the personal side but to me it is a great way to stay connected.