"You gotta press the button to come out amma!"
"Oh! I didn't know there was a button. "
"Whats wrong?why haven't you drawn any cash?"
"Ayyo! That screen is not going away at all. I tried all sorts of things!"
"Did you swipe the card in?"
"Umm....no! I felt the screen should be changed first!"
"Sigh! You felt the screen should be changed first!! What is the PIN code?"
"But is says invalid PIN code when I key it in! Maaaaaaaaaa! You have bought the wrong card!"
Well, this was just a small instance. I could list some hundreds more. Thousands more in fact, where my parents have refused to get in tune with 'technology'. Take for instance, a mobile phone. I got my dad once a couple of years back. Even till today he hasn't sent a single SMS from it; presses the wrong button and puts the call on hold rather than receive it! And he refuses to learn it right and refuses to acknowledge that he isnt getting it right! And this inability to operate such 'mindblowingly complicated devices' turns into an inexorable hate for any sort of technology! "Mobile phone are going to ruin everything! Students, girls, office life! Look at the number of accidents that happen because of mobiles. The doom is inevitable!". Well there goes a free prophecy of mass destruction along with every mobile that is seen. Its like the new package deal from Vodafone!
Its not that they are dumb! My mom has a PhD! My dad is an engineer working on the most intricate electrical designs for the past thirty years. Yet, they refuse to learn anything that is new, that has technology involved. ATMs, computers, internet, DVD players, MP3 players, mobiles, radio... the list is endless. The urge to take advantage of its multiple uses are there, but a flat refusal to learn the 'Know-hows'. I have given up trying to explain how it works, how easy life could get, how tough it would get in the future to live without knowing how to use it! And I get irritated every time I see that 'God, this thing is going to bite me if I touch' kinda look on their faces! And even worse is when they heap praise on uncles and aunts who can handle 'it'! "AvaLige e-mail yella kaLsakke barattante kaNo!" (roughly translating to I heard she knows how to send an email and stuff!!"
Robert Pirig in his book 'Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance" ponders why his friends are so averse to repairing their own bikes. Why they refuse to mend a broken faucet at home! And then it dawns upon him and everything falls into place!
"Why suppress anger at a dripping faucet? I wondered.
Then that patched in with the motorcycle maintenance and one of those light bulbs went on over my head and I thought, Ahhhhhhhh! It’s not the motorcycle maintenance, not the faucet. It’s all of technology they can’t take. And then all sorts of things started tumbling into place and I knew that was it. Sylvia’s irritation at a friend who thought computer programming was "creative." All their drawings and paintings and photographs without a technological thing in them. Of course she’s not going to get mad at that faucet, I thought. You always suppress momentary anger at something you deeply and permanently hate. Of course John signs off every time the subject of cycle repair comes up, even when it is obvious he is suffering for it. That’s technology. And sure, of course, obviously. It’s so simple when you see it. To get away from technology out into the country in the fresh air and sunshine is why they are on the motorcycle in the first place. For me to bring it back to them just at the point and place where they think they have finally escaped it just frosts both of them, tremendously. That’s why the conversation always breaks and freezes when the subject comes up.
Other things fit in too. They talk once in a while in as few pained words as possible about "it" or "it all" as in the sentence, "There is just no escape from it." And if I asked, "From what?" the answer might be "The whole thing," or "The whole organized bit," or even "The system." Sylvia once said defensively, "Well, you know how to cope with it," which puffed me up so much at the time I was embarrassed to ask what "it" was and so remained somewhat puzzled. I thought it was something more mysterious than technology. But now I see that the "it" was mainly, if not entirely, technology. But, that doesn’t sound right either. The "it" is a kind of force that gives rise to technology, something undefined, but inhuman, mechanical, lifeless, a blind monster, a death force. Something hideous they are running from but know they can never escape. I’m putting it way too heavily here but in a less emphatic and less defined way this is what it is. Somewhere there are people who understand it and run it but those are technologists, and they speak an inhuman language when describing what they do. It’s all parts and relationships of unheard-of things that never make any sense no matter how often you hear about them. And their things, their monster keeps eating up land and polluting their air and lakes, and there is no way to strike back at it, and hardly any way to escape it. "
Well when every other statement they say begins with "You know in our times...", you know some things will never change!