Monday, June 6, 2016

All in a Day's Whatsapp

“Where are you? I sent you a message at 08:19, and then called you at 08:22”. My better half sounded agitated. “Why? I am at home”, I responded. “Then why did you not check my message and missed call”, she persevered. “The internet connection has been down since last night”. Noticing her state, I inquired, “Why? What happened; anything urgent?” “No, just wondering why you had not checked my message”. Without a pause, she remonstrated,  “You are constantly on whatsapp when I am at home. Now, when I am away you have not bothered to check your whatsapp”. This was the first conversation we had as soon as the internet connection was restored at noon.

Her call at noon was a result of her remotely monitoring that I had read her message at 12:03 pm. My wife had acquired her Smartphone nearly two years before me, giving her a lead over me on the ‘smart’ usage of this ‘mother of all social networking apps’ that had revolutionised communications, worldwide. On completion of our communications, I noticed that there were over 80 messages from two of my active groups waiting for me.

Whatsapp logo. Image: Courtesy Google Images

The first group had a total of 50 messages, 30 from last night; all of these were part of an active ongoing discussion on the air ambulance crash at Delhi; all members of this group being professionals in aviation from the Indian Air Force (IAF). Messages included opinions about the Captain, the aircraft, the rules, the rule makers, the inquiry process, the civilian vs IAF professionals, the lateral entry of IAF personnel in to civil aviation and the likely cause of the accident. After some discussion, it seemed that ‘fuel starvation’ to the engines was the most likely cause of the accident.

The other 20 were sent in the morning with the first one sent at 6 am with an image of a beautiful flower and text wishing everyone a good morning and proclaiming, ‘start believing that you are happy and you will be happy forever’. So true! So simple! Yet happy faces elude us in our daily lives.
The other group had most members from Canada, who were waking up when I was getting ready to sleep. These 30 messages were celebrating Sarab’s wedding anniversary with champagne, cakes, dance, and good wishes. The celebrations were all in the digital format as no one had the time to visit and wish; so, there was digital cake/ champagne/ selfies of friends individually partaking of the two, to the accompaniment of ‘Cheers’. Whatsapp messages continued through the day thereafter.

In general, whatsapp messages overflow with philosophical gyan about life, and how to live it. The best part is that everyone has this gyan pre-recorded in the non retrievable part of the memory system. It is brought to the fore, only for a brief moment, when a recycled, round tripping message reaches you; taking refuge in the sub conscious mind once again thereafter. Keeping it in the conscious mind is taboo, because it would involve changing oneself. Changing oneself is a tough act; and also, very few of us actually dislike the way we are!

Some members specialise in jokes and images that span the ‘full’ spectrum of human activities. Also, not a day passes without at least one joke on the most sought after relationship for a man, as long he is single; the favourite one being something like, “I was happy, and then I got married”. Do we men actually mean any of it?

Usage of whatsapp has simplified worldwide communications, but with a price to pay; my better half can now track my movements, my messages, and what I am doing. Smart people suggest that the Smartphone should be locked with a password; the password of the bachelors can be a simple swipe but the password of a married man should be complex enough to be unfathomable to the inquisitive mind of the better half.