Disclaimer: There is no old horse in this story.And there aren’t any tricks involved either. I chose the title simply because it was the ‘catchiest’ phrase I could think of!
Scouting around for potential converts, to the world of web, I zeroed on my mom-in- law (MIL).Every visit she made to Bahrain was peppered with my haranguing her to take a shot at the computer. Each attempt to lure her into the ‘dotcom duniya’ was met with a nervous laugh from her and I could not make any headway. Later on, I roped in my daughter to convince her granny but no amount of wonderous tales about the net could lure the ‘old horse’.
Then we (mom and daughter) decided to lay a trap for MIL by magically drawing out any and every recipe that MIL has ever desired. There was some success. Being a committed foodie who lives in the world of food 24×7 (if she is not cooking food then she is buying food, reading about food, discussing food) this seemed the most obvious bait to use………..
We challenged her to think of the vaguest dish she could think of and we would google the recipe and have it ready for her in seconds. The fish nibbled at the bait and for a few days she sat with us and made us google stuff. She, how ever, refused to touch the PC, switch it on or press any key. A few days later she totally stumped us with a query. She wanted to know if I could get out as many recipes out of my laptop as I had been getting from the bigger desktop !!! I understood then how alien the world of the internet was to the thought processes of a generation that had grown up and reached senior citizen status without ever using a computer. My spirits flagged and so did her interest and our first attempts at hooking a convert died a premature death.
Years passed with us cajoling her and she resisting the lure of the magic box.She stuck to reading and the idiot box as her sources of ‘time pass’.
Then this year I happened to meet a dear blogger friend. This blogger, a charming lady much younger than my MIL, happens to have beautiful white hair.I am so glad that she has not succumbed to the lures of the hair dye bottle!! When we met at a dinner party we chatted almost exclusively to each other.I monopolised every minute of her time and during that conversation I mentioned to her how unresponsive MIL was to the idea of learning some degree of computer usage. She very sweetly (bless her) offered to talk to MIL if and when she were to meet her.
As it so hapened we were to meet for dinner again soon and my blogger friend got a chance to sell the ‘computer spiel’ to MIL. I have no idea what she said as I was busy serving food to the dinner guests! The evening ended with my MIL chatting animatedly with ‘the computer savy lady with white hair.’
The blogger friend was right. The white hair broke the ‘age barrier’. MIL probably felt a ‘peer bond’ with her because the very next day she ventured towards the desk on which I had placed a laptop many weeks ago.
It had sat there for weeks…..its slick and compact, grey body unable to get more than a passing glance from MIL. This morning though she went to the desk and tentatively lifted the lid. Then she looked at me with a glance that seemed to say,”come on,what are you waiting for? Let us get started.”
What has followed since has been nothing short of a miracle. In 20 odd days that she had left of her trip she has gone from learning to switch on the laptop to surfing the net, sending emails (with attachments, mind you), cutting, pasting and saving the stuff she likes during her web surfs and even having her own blog
. It has been nothing short of miraculous considering that she is from a generation when a ‘mouse’ was still a rodent, a ‘cursor’ was someone who cursed others, ‘attachments’ were the bonds that you formed with your loved ones and ‘windows’ were those things in the wall that you surreptiously opened to spy on your neighbours.
I told the other DIL( dotter-in -law) how I had finally managed to divert MIL from thinking (24×7) about cooking and discussing food by giving her a whole new world to explore.But before she and I could celebrate our possible freedom from being harangued about food all the time MIL threw a googly at us by carpet bombing us with new recipes, information on world cuisines and all sort of food related mumbo jumbo……….via email.
The next time I took her out shopping she quickly noted the spellings of some Lebanese food ingredient in the grocery section and on reaching home googled ‘mughrabia’ to find out what it is used for, how it is cooked and a recipe to follow.
No one in the family is safe anymore. No longer is she the diminutive, old lady who nodded to any high sounding fundas people threw at her. To my BIL ( bro in law) who had once questioned the wisdom of eating tomatoes went an email containing detailed information about the nutritional benefits of same. To his wife went a missive detailing the benefits of eating the humble ‘baingan'(eggplant).I was sent many recipes for making tomato ketchup in an effort to get me to use the huge amounts of tomatoes coming from my vegetable patch……..the grandchildren were luckier though……the football fanatic got a ‘cut and paste’ picture of Rooney and the other one a picture of flowers. MIL’s friends got links to sites related to their respective hobbies.
I am afraid I might have unleashed a monster ‘ tech granny’ on to the unsuspecting world and all will now have to run for cover!!
There is my student with her diary and all.