Her TV watching rarely went beyond local news and TV soaps. Mine rarely included these. Cricket was perhaps the only TV program in which our interests intersected.
When I flipped the channel to a CNN or BBC while she was fully absorbed in another of those endless climaxes in a popular Tamil TV serial, 110 she unsurprisingly got immensely annoyed.
Predictably, as it happens in most homes, chaos erupted many times. But sometimes, either to needle me or possibly make gentle fun of me, she would ask whether I really understood anything of what I was watching, as they were in English. I liked those brief episodes of humor and playfulness.
At times, I’d tell her about what I was watching, even if it was about some scientific or business subject. I doubt if she understood much or was interested, but I’m sure she was happy that I took the time to explain.
It was the same with the use of a smartphone or my iPad. She never got used to using these, even though she would playfully try out some of their features. Interestingly, she was never at home with the touchscreen, something I thought was the most intuitive of interfaces. 111
I tried guiding her on how to use electronic gizmos, with limited success, either because of her lack of interest or because I was a poor teacher – more likely the latter.
But once again, I’m convinced that every small guidance from me gave her the satisfaction that she mattered to me.
And that’s all that mattered to me too.
110. Language spoken in Tamil Nadu, the state I live in.
111. A review shows that the touchscreens are not as intuitive as one thinks for many old people. In fact, my review suggested that many seniors worldwide had one problem that amma also had – not able to figure out how hard or soft her touch has to be on the screen.
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