Do I need to read books by psychoanalysts to know what a teenager thinks like? No, not at all, because all I need to do to get into a teenage mind is to just stand on a kerbside in the market and listen to the conversations they have. I stumbled upon this wonderfully invasive idea as I waited for Specky in CP as she hurried up the stairs to FabIndia to get the package that we had left there to be collected later.
I stood there in the corridor wondering when the PWD would finally give a finishing touch to their renovations that began three years back when I heard a voice say, ‘ROFL, ROFL How many times do I tell you that ROFL is not something that you go on and do in CP.’
I half-turned and saw a teenaged girl staring hard at her mobile. She was so focused on her staring match with a mere screen that I could not help but smile and think, ‘Is this a new-age characteristic?’ But I negated the thought as even I was quite fond of talking to the walls when I was taking a bath. That time was my personal muse-time and it still is… I do get my best blogging ideas when I am alone and talking to walls! But wait, we’re talking about this teenager talking to her mobile.
Yes, she was actually talking to her mobile and not to her friend on the phone as I could not really hear any one answering. She also was not wearing that absolutely ridiculous device called a Bluetooth. I inched towards her to listen in to what she was saying…
‘Get lost man. This is not what I’m asking you. OK, wait… hmmm… Give me some great ideas for fun.’ She was silent for a couple of seconds and then cocked her head to the left and said, ‘You are so dumb. Just like my teachers. Even they keep telling me go and search the web for answers. I’m quite fed up of searching the web. Ok?’
The girl took a deep breath and then said, ‘Ok, if you cannot suggest me ideas for fun, at least say something funny now!’
I was a bit alarmed at hearing all this because her conversation was not making any sense to me… but then she suddenly said, ‘Aha! Now you’re talking. Tickle, tickle does make you sharper, doesn’t it? Chalo, at least you admit that you cannot say something funny because you always forget the punch-lines!’
The teenager then swivelled on her heels and in a fraction of a second was facing me again. ‘These youngsters are so like I was just a few years back,’ I thought, ‘even I was never still and people called me ‘perpetual motion’ and even I loved swivelling on my heels to have a 360 degree view of my world.’ Even as I was going back and forth into my own past, this teenager was busy with her conversation with her mobile, or that is what it appeared to me to be happening.
I heard her say, ‘How fast can you find me a friend?’ And then after a pause she went on, ‘You cannot suggest me how to have fun, you cannot find me a friend, you cannot tell a joke… I think you are unintelligent!’
This was when she burst into laughter and said, ‘So you feel I am entitled to that opinion? Good for you. Now you go on and talk to whoever you want to, I am leaving you to your solitude.’ She looked up, and announced to no-one in particular, ‘I’m now off to meet my other love.’
‘So this is it!’ I thought, ‘one friend ridiculed on the phone and then unceremoniously ditched and other waiting.’ I thought I would stop her before she disappears and ask her how she is managing multiple dates. This is one art that this one seemed to be quite comfortable with. Before I could move towards her, she had already started walking, still looking at her mobile and tapping the screen furiously. In her inattentive state she did not notice the open manhole in her way and would have had a nasty fall had I not jumped forward into action and caught her as she tumbled.
‘Thanks,’ she mumbled, shaken. She didn’t know I was about to stir her now, because I asked, ‘You were talking to one boy-friend and you’re going to meet another, it appears. You should be indeed be careful about where you’re going.’
The teenager stood for a while trying to understand what I had just said and then smiled. ‘Oh! I was not talking to any person. I was talking to my phone here.’
‘Talking to your phone?’
‘Yes, my Galaxy phone has this app where I can ask questions and it even replies. This voice software doesn’t understand everything but there are some general voice commands that it does,’ she explained. I nodded as she turned and walked off.
I took out my smartphone and searched for what she had just said, but couldn’t. ‘What are you looking for?’ said Specky, as she looked at me frantically searching for something on my phone.
‘Voice commands,’ I said.
‘That’s simple,’ she said, ‘in your phone you need to long-press the start button to wake up Siri.’
She showed me how to do that and here is a part of my inane conversation with my phone… which proves that there is a teenager within each of us!
30 August 2013
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