When I left for college and settled into a new city alone, I understood how I had inevitably left a part of my life behind- my family, my friends, the streets that I walked on, the school that I went to, the stores that I visited, the parks that I played in, the places where I celebrated festivals. Everything was gone in the blink of an eye and it was never going to come back again. However, technology has kept me connected with most people and I know that I can’t feel my mother’s touch or laugh along with my friends, but at least I can talk to them, hear their voice, and see their faces. Unlike the medieval times where the only means of keeping in touch with people was ‘telegram’, technology over the years has made life easy to an unimaginable extent for distant relationships. I also know that how we are overly-dependent on technology is a debatable topic, but no matter how much people criticize it, technology has actually made our life simpler and us, happier.
Below is a list of how technology has helped me and many other people in keeping our long distance relationships intact.
- Of texts, images and sounds- On the first day of my college, almost everyone asked me this question, “Are you on WhatsApp?” and honestly, I wasn’t. Umpteen times I was asked the same question and I felt like this application was seriously the need of the hour. So (believe me or not), I pestered my mom for buying me a smartphone and finally, I had WhatsApp. I know there are many other messengers available, but WhatsApp has always appealed to me. You don’t need to add or delete people. It automatically syncs your phone contacts. You don’t need to invest a lot of money. All you need is an internet pack. Now, even when I go shopping, I need WhatsApp. I try on a new dress, click a picture and WhatsApp it to my family or friends and according to their approval, I buy it. Everything ranging from college assignments, to images of what I’m eating, places I’m going to, and stuff that I’m buying is all WhatsApp-ed to my family and friends. There are some things that I just cannot type out and most of the times I don’t have balance to call up my friends, so I end up recording a voice message and WhatsApp-ing it. I know distance separates me from all those people, but I still get to practically show them everything that I’m doing right?
- Of smiles and laughter- I remember when I had a video call with my mother for the first time, she cried. And she also displayed a lot of disbelief thinking how technology had made it possible for her to see me laughing and talking at the same time. And the entire call consisted of her emotional talks and praises for technology’s advancement. Yes, video calling is actually a great idea. You can rely on Skype and Google Hangout for video calling. Both are equally good. I know because of internet speed problems, the call quality can be pretty bad sometimes, but at least it’s better than nothing. Video call is slightly addictive and you can actually go on and on rambling about what’s happening in your life with your loved ones and yet, neither of the sides gets tired.
- Of making them feel special- Okay, I know I keep bringing memories with my mom again and again, but I guess this one would be a good example. It was my mom’s birthday and I and my sister (who lives in a different city too), couldn’t visit her. So we decided to do something interesting. We had a photo of all three of us together. We Google-searched and found a company that sends customized cards to people. We customized a birthday card using that photo, paid for the card and sent it to her. I then found the official website of one of the bakeries in my hometown and ordered a cake. Both of the things reached on time and my mom couldn’t believe it. So you can see for yourself right? Technology made things so intimate between me and my family members. Book a table for two in advance in a restaurant and surprise your parents on their anniversary, make a collage of images consisting of you and your friends by using Picasa and other photo editing software and upload it online. You can also order books and gadgets online. The company will gift-wrap the item and send it to your loved one.
- Of overseas relationships- I happen to be a die-hard Manchester United friend and I have made many a friends outside India because of it. Some are from UK and some from other parts of Asia including 3 people from Pakistan. Yes, that too. Now we all know how expensive it is to call them up and sometimes they might not want to attend a video call in spite of my insistence. So I directly call them up on Viber. If your net connection is alright, Viber is actually a great application- the call quality is good and the call doesn’t cost even a single rupee either. One of my friends also sent me some customized stuff which was again achieved by technology alone.
- Many people have the opinion that technology has left us crippled and without it, we tend to be less efficient and less productive. But I will always say that my life is totally dependent on technology. The people I grew up with are the only people who I can talk about on realistic topics and if it was not for technological advancement, I would have never been able to survive my first semester. Thank you technology!