This is a rant. Ok? Please adjust.
Yesterday someone I know was considering buying a gift for his toddler. The toddler is an adorable young fella. Sharp as only toddlers can be. He knows the split second of a difference between when you are watching like a hawk and the moment that you take your eyes off to gulp down some water off a bottle. In the in-between fleeting moments, a bowl is broken. Or the chappal is chewed. Or the TV chord yanked. That kind of sharp.
His dad was considering a truly tech enabled gift: A MINI ROBOT! That small damn thing could do a pile of things ranging from open heart surgery to catching cricketers stuff a towel in their pocket for a variety of reasons. Of course, that’s an exaggeration. But then, that small robot thing could do a variety of things just a shade short. Quite obviously his dad is a well off man to be ready to pay a staggering sum that only matches what gets paid for open heart surgery or the kind of towel stuffing in the pocket, crickets do these days. Let’s leave it at that.
The technology enabled toy that my daughter at home loves, is a good old plastic teddy bear. The technology is as old as chicanery itself. Press his belly and he emits a beep! It’s a simple plain mechanical device.
That said, modern technology lords over our lives. I must confess that a mini robot as a birthday gift is a height that my imagination hasn’t scaled. Ever before. Our children get exposed to technology faster than we could spell e-x-p-o-s-e-d without the help of auto-correct. Kids and the apparent ease with which they handle technology befuddles me and brings alive all hope in the world at the same time.
That evening’s dinner at home, took the technology debate to a different platform altogether. In-between some awesome drumstick sambhar, the missus points me in the direction of news of a new diaper that could, wait a minute, sense pee in a diaper and tweet out a message that the toddler had just peed. Yes, you read that right.
First I was in denial, then, in substantive trance reading the article. The drumstick that I was swallowing refused to go beyond a surprised throat. I coughed incessantly.
A diaper that would send out a tweet that announced that your toddler had peed into the world sounds like a grotesque extension of social media! I reread the article half in surprise and the other in mildly indignant bemusement.
The missus wondered aloud what would happen if the toddler ‘did the potty’? If a pee got a tweet, perhaps higher order disgorgements would befit a status update on Facebook? This quite obviously would generate 57 likes and two comments in the first half hour. Of which at least one comment would be ‘WOW’. Comments and Likes on Facebook is a different pile I don’t want to step on. No puns intended.
Of course, we live in a connected world. Of course, technology plays such a crucial part. But device attachments to the toddler’s diaper that will sense and send a message or a tweet to the parent, well, come on!
Let’s face it, calculators ruined a generations ability to compute anything beyond 2+3. These days, children check the weather app before going on a walk and a ‘hangout’ happens to be only in front of a screen! I don’t have a problem with either.
But the realisation that the map is not the place is so quickly lost!
Don’t get me wrong. I love technology. It has transformed lives and connected people like nothing else before. The pure joy of seeing the joy in your daughter’s eyes as she sees you through a screen, sitting many miles away is just awesome and you want to find the chaps that invented such technology and give him a fat delicious burger and potato chips that they are supposed to adore.
But this technology of Tweetpee is interesting. Tweet pee is supposed to have phrases like “Time to change”, “Oops did a few drops” and “Everything Ok here” that show up on the phone as messages to parents. Or the folks that matter. That is such a surfeit of creative energy, don’t you think?
As time goes by, inventive parents could well have specific ringtones and the more studious ones will have spreadsheets to analyse the time gap between last month’s quantity and this month’s quantity, pouring over data like a scientist launching a satellite to Pluto would. (BTW, this technology enables parents in a rather compelling way ‘..look at a complete history of that data over the last few weeks’)
In case you think I am selling you bridge in Brooklyn, well, here is proof of – tweetpee.
Disclosure : I don’t have anything to do with this brand. We don’t use them for the daughter and no, I am not in the market for free diaper vouchers. Owning shares is out of question ever since the day I discovered you have buy shares with money and nobody just ‘shares’!
The next time, someone is telling me they are working on building an app, or working on big data I am not going to ask what they are working on, fearing the worst!
Later that night, the technophile that I am, I try and reason with the missus. “For arguments sake, lets see the benefit it brings. For busy parents, for parents that could be forgetful, who have a thousand other things to do, perhaps it indeed is a time saver and could save the hassle of figuring out when to change diapers”.
The missus puts her hand on her hip and quips. “What did you say? Hassle? Time saver? Changing diapers is not about the hassle. It is part of the growing up. You better learn to do it properly too”.
And in that one statement, the punch landed right on my face. An inswinger that has me bowled while I thought I was fighting the evil that is pervasive in minds that come up with such inane application of technology.
“And that time business”, she says with more emphasis, “LOVE for the child, is spelt as TIME”. In that unique corporate-wage-earning-family-moment, she delivers her message to me. Rather directly.
And that is that. I wonder why I even get started on topics like these. I should have just done the drumstick good justice and let peace have its soulful reign in the world.
This diaper topic, Damn. I have to rant on it.
The ways of the world are truly strange.
This is a rant. Ok? Please adjust.
Kavi dabbles in writing, reading, traveling, photography, long distance running amongst other things. He and Shanti have their hands full with their adorable toddler, Kayal. In-between all of this, he gives an arm, leg and everything else to earn a living. Usually accomplished by punching keys, attending meetings and trying to sound profound. He blogs at http://kavismusings.blogspot.com & tweets @kavismusings. Just in case you are intrigued enough to know more about him please head to http://about.me/kaviarasu.