artificial intelligence, humor, Life, parenting

SMART Lives 2030

5 May 2030

Akshay and his wife Shweta were really worried a few days ago, but now with a recommendation from Akshay’s best pal Vikas and also from some of the other close friends, they found some relief. They even went through the testimonials updated on their website, all of them appeared to have been able to get solution to their concerns. Cardinal care centre (CCC) was a rehab centre and was looking to be the right choice for their son.

Akshay’s son Kiyaan, aged-9, was diagnosed to be suffering from SMCS (Severe Mobile Craving Syndrome). Initially Shweta and Akshay assumed it to be normal as other kids but after watching “SMART Lives 2030”, a top-rated series on Airflix, they starting observing Kiyaan’s behaviour closely and eventually realised that he is critically addicted to his mobile and just can’t breathe without internet.

6 May 2030

As per the appointment they reached the clinic at 5:30pm, right on time. Akshay’s mobile buzzed while they were sitting in the waiting area, he took out his phone to see a message from the clinic that read,

“Your wait time is 13 mins. Dr. Seth will be seeing you soon. Apologies for the delay. CCC”.

Exactly at 5:45pm Kiyaan’s name got displayed at the electronic ticker board right outside the doctor’s cabin and they knew it is their turn now to meet the doctor. Before entering Doctor’s room, a charming girl in her early twenties, dressed in bright yellow linen kurta appeared from no-where and told them to submit their mobile phone and other gadgets, to which all of them complied.

While they were about to move-on after depositing four smart phones, one tab, three smart watches, two smart necklaces and two smart-belts, the girl in yellow pointed towards Akshay’s “smart” eye-wear, to which he replied that he suffers from myopia and just can’t do without glasses.

That’s alright. You may continue wearing them, but keep its internet connection in “Off” mode”, suggested the girl in yellow.

After giving up all the “gadgets” they finally entered the cabin and it felt as if they have landed in the Himalayas. The entire room, rather the hall (keeping its size in mind 😊), was engineered with some 3D technique and it really looked like they have reached one of the snow-covered Himalayan peaks. Dr. Seth was sitting on a cane chair dressed up in khadi kurta-pyjama. Both Akshay and Shweta gave each other a bewildered look. On Dr. Seth’s right-hand side, two purple-coloured yoga mats were lying parallel to each other. The room had perfect lighting, neither too bright nor too dim, just perfect. Light instrumental music was being played, but they couldn’t locate its source. Dr. Seth, with his right hand pointed towards the mats and the family quickly got settled on the mat and the Doctor also sat on the other mat opposite to them.

He interacted with all three of them for about 15 minutes and then suggested Kiyaan to go to the other room, as he wanted to speak to the parents separately. Their discussion went on for about half an hour and then he handed over some papers to the couple to sign-off. They looked really baffled but they both decided to go ahead with it. It was a residential camp of 30-days aiming towards digital-detox, starting 7-May-2030 i.e. tomorrow. Both of them wanted their son to be cured of SMCS at the earliest however, their only concern was about the web-meeting they were having with the neighbourhood families next week. Since the camp was starting the very next day, Kiyaan wouldn’t be able to attend it. Anyway, with a heavy heart they took the call and made the decision to enroll Kiyaan in this batch only that starts from 7-May.

6-Jun-2030

Akshay and Shweta were eagerly waiting to meet their son after 30 days of absolute zero-contact. They had lots of thoughts regarding Kiyaan’s state of mind, as he had never been alone and that too without any of the gadgets. They had reached 30 minutes earlier than the scheduled time as they wanted to meet him as early as possible. Right at 6pm, exactly as per the scheduled time, they saw the children coming out. They were about 40 in number. Within a moment, Kiyaan appeared from behind the group and he quickly ran towards his parents. He hugged both of his parents. Shweta looked at Kiyaan for a while, making sure if her son is doing fine.

Shweta asked Kiyaan, what would he prefer to have for dinner.

Nothing specific mom, just home-made stuff” replied Kiyaan.

Astonished to hear, Akshay told him it’s ok if he wants to have his favourite pizza or maybe noodles, to which Kiyaan asserted, “No, I have learnt in last 30 days that Home-made food is the best food

Akshay and Shweta exchanged looks, nonetheless upon hearing this statement of Kiyaan, without any further discussion they headed home to have “home-made food”.

Their house was at a 2-hour drive from the camp location, so by the time they reached home it was already 8:30pm and all three of them were really starving. Shweta and Kiyaan took a quick shower and waited for Akshay as he took time to freshen-up. Finally, Akshay appeared after changing into comfortable clothes, he picked up TV remote while approaching the dining table. Kiyaan noticed it and objected almost instantly to it.

8-Jun-2030

Vikas – What happened Akshay? You didn’t sound fine yesterday.

Akshay – I don’t know man

Vikas – You can tell me. We are best buddies after all. Is it with Shweta? Don’t tell me, you guys have been fighting again?

Akshay – Nothing of the sort my friend. Its Kiyaan again, who’s got me restless.

Vikas – Oh! Did the camp at CCC not help? I have heard all good things about them.

Akshay – I am uhhhh…..

Vikas – I, in fact have heard that they completely transform people. Come on buddy, tell me. You need not worry.

Akshay – That’s what my reason of worry is…. He is absolutely “Transformed”

Vikas – What??? I don’t understand.

Akshay – Yes Vikas, he so much transformed that it is becoming difficult to adjust with him now. I now even regret the decision of sending him to the camp.

He tells me not to watch TV while having food, not to use tab rather make notes on paper, have in-person meetings with neighbours rather than digital parties, ditch devices like smart coffee maker, smart lights, smart shirt and what not…

Vikas – How will you survive man? We just can’t do without these devices.

Suddenly Akshay’s Smart watch lights up, “You haven’t watered your plants for 2 days now. Keep watering them to have greener surroundings.”

Vikas – What was that sound? Is somebody at the door?

Akshay – No, it was my Smart watch. Time to water my plants. Bye I’ll speak to you later.

….. and he disconnects the video call.

humor, Life

Funny Language

Usually on Sundays, I make sure that I spend some of my free time playing along with my daughter, which fully charges me for the coming week. Apart from recharging myself and creating memories to cherish forever, it sometimes rather mostly keeps me busy for the coming days as well 😊😊. During this “we-time,” we play all sort of games like enacting a scene at the airport or at some holiday resort, playing with dolls (her favourite 😊) and many more, where we go into some kind of a fantasy world, off-course completely scripted by her.  

It was one of the lazy Sunday afternoons and as usual I was playing with my daughter. After a while, she asked me to read a book to her. She loves reading and generally this book reading session happens just before she goes to sleep, however, this time it suddenly came during the daytime. I quickly picked up my Kindle and opened a book called “Grandma’s Bag of Stories” by Sudha Murthy, which I had downloaded for her couple of days ago. We both were enjoying simple yet interesting stories from her about princesses, when suddenly my 7-year-old (now 9) asked me a simple but a very tricky question, 

Why do we pronounce Cycle as Cycle?” 

I was like, “what kind of question is that?”  

Then she explained her question,  

The word “Cycle” has two “Cs” and both are pronounced differently. Why?” 

I got really perplexed by the question and by looking at the expressions on my face, she assumed I have not understood her question yet, so she tried to explain herself again. 

She said,  

The word “Cycle” has two “Cs” one of them has a sound of “S” and the other one has a sound of “K.” Why?” 

Since I did not have the answer to her question, I simply and very honestly told her, 

Usually the alphabet “C” has a sound of “K” however in certain words it is pronounced as “S” also nonetheless I will try to find out more regarding this, as to when and why does its pronunciation change.” 

By admitting that I didn’t know the answer, I bought myself some time. I started asking all my colleagues and friends the same question. I checked with lot of people, however, did not get any success cracking it. With days passing and not being able to find out the answer, I felt like getting closer to my annual review without being prepared for a question like, “What were your achievements in the last year?” 😊 😊

After exhausting all the resources within my circle, I sought shelter in internet. I tried lot of websites but to no avail. Finally, after checking on all the sites that I could, I came across “BBC Learning English” where I got the perfect answer to my question. Thanks to BBC people!!! God bless you!!! They gave out a clear rule about it. 

Whenever a “C” is followed by “i,” “e” or “y” it is pronounced with a sound of “S” rest always it is pronounced with a sound “K.”  

I was really relieved to eventually get the answer and very confidently shared the same with my daughter. To confirm whether this rule is correct, she checked it with a couple of words and to my respite it worked out fine.  

It didn’t end there and like I had assumed this was only the beginning. Even before I could enjoy my victory over decoding the mystery behind different sounds of “C,” another question regarding different sounds of “G” was waiting for me and that too the very next day. 

I utterly agree with the statement that “English is a funny language” as it keeps surprising me every other day and off-course keeps me on my toes. 

***

humor, Life

Lockdown Diaries

Last 4-5 months of this pandemic has taught us quite a few new terms, like “Quarantine”, “Social distancing”, “Sanitise”, etc. Another phrase which has been trending is “New Normal”, whatever we want to do or apply in the wake of current situation is a “New Normal” and of-course business meetings can’t conclude without applying this new phrase. Interestingly the word “Positive”, which used to be very frequently utilised to encourage people, be it in formal meetings or informal discussions, has suddenly become the most “feared” word lately 😊, for all the obvious reasons. 

The scenario not only has enhanced our vocabulary but it has amusingly impacted our family conversations also. Earlier we would discuss things like –  

new movie to watchnext family holiday,  

new washing machineschool syllabus,  

trafficpollution, etc  

and now the topics have transitioned into –  

how to sanitise vegetables? after how long is it safe to touch the courier?  

whether to use N-95 mask or a regular one?   

which fruits boost the immunity most? and so on… 

Besides these topics there is another big subject, which is a considerable matter of discussion and that is “house cleaning”. Now since I am operating from home and not getting “tired” because of not commuting to office (my only saviour has gone 😉), I need to actively participate into it. But a task can’t be given to you, just because you are available to do it.

After a lot of deliberation, I was assigned “dusting” job, which precedes brooming. As dusting is a part of “cleaning”, it has to be done in the morning only and therefore I have to schedule my morning activities in a way that I am able to complete this task before I login for my office work. After a few initial days of skipping it, because of mostly my reluctance and blaming it on early morning “Zoom calls” or getting up late, it eventually became a part of my daily routine. 

I had thought of “dusting” as a very small and trivial activity and hence assumed it would not take much of time. I thought it will be just about the centre-table, dining-set, TV cabinet and a bit of here and there. Who knew, that “here and there” would prove to be the most time-consuming portion. Anyway, I had to start so I began with what I had “presumed” to be my centre of activity. However, as I got into this, I unexpectedly found it to grow in size and I must say the growth was quite rapid and unusual. To my surprise, every nook and corner had a lot of dust, but that’s not what startled me. What came as a revelation was, I would clean the dust every single day and the next day it’d come back in the same quantity and sometimes even more. I felt like I was fighting an enemy and my opponent was fully enjoying it and coming back with full force every day. 

Every morning I would take more time than the previous day, each time discovering new “dust hubs” like above the almirah, behind the bed, on the top of the doors, behind the sofa, on the ceiling fans and whoa! the list went on and on. Maybe I was taking my job too seriously 😉.  

I assumed that the onset of monsoon would bring some relief, as rains usually settle the dust by making the sand moist and hence making my job easier. I started praying for an early monsoon like a farmer waiting for the rains to come and irrigate the crops. Finally, after what seemed like a very long wait, rain-gods showed up, however situation on the “dust front” didn’t improve 🙁.  

Now, even the monsoon is almost over and I haven’t found the solution yet. I am still wondering where does all the dust come from? I am afraid when “Mumbai Monsoons” can’t solve this problem who can…? 

****