This is my mother’s checklist and my father’s response every time he steps out of the house. Though my logic says she can ask only for the wallet and he can buy rest of the things using the money in his wallet, she repeats her list. Of course, he cannot buy a car every time he feels like driving one when leaves his at home. It’s good to watch them go about this daily ritual. Sometimes my father doesn’t even say “check.” He simply grunts and my mother still goes on. It is not like my father will forget any of those things if my mother doesn’t remind him. It is just the display of concoction brewed with love, care, and intimacy that sometimes appears to be cute.
My mother sometimes forgets reminding one or two of the list, but never the wallet. Theirs being the earlier generation that wasn’t dependent on the mobile phone, it was never a priority but has slowly crept in. The wallet is always reminded because it has money. Money can allow you to make calls from the nearby PCO telephone, which became extinct and my mother ignores that fact. Money can get you from one place to other thanks to public transport and my mother loves them. To my parents, the wallet is a something that can hold money from which we can pull out a few bank notes or clink few coins to pay for anything. This leaves me wondering what would happen to this intimacy when we replace our wallets with apps like Paytm. This app and likes of it are closing in on all possible kinds of services for which money can pay. I recently saw a grocery store that accepts payment through Paytm. Such apps make it easy to carry out transactions without withdrawing cash and fewer chances of a pickpocket. But the lack of physical touch gives a sense of insecurity. The apps cannot replace the different colours of bank notes, the cold mint coins, the leather or a cloth and the worn-out folds and corners of the wallets, even if they assure the safety of our money.
Technology though is trying to help bring people closer, is driving them far from each other. People talk to each other for hours together at their convenience from the comforts of their homes, but don’t know how to even say hi when they meet. I never knew meeting in person had such allergic reactions. If the advent of apps had happened long back, I guess my mother would have asked my father “Installed all necessary apps?” instead of her list. This way, it would have been more than enough if he carried a mobile phone loaded with a variety of apps and she doesn’t have to worry as they won’t uninstall themselves. The intimacy of the wallet which my father used to buy ice creams for my mother on their trip to Manali three decades ago that they still reminisce, would have never happened. She would have even helped my grandfather book a priest for the wedding through an app. The wallet would have become a Dodo.
Image source: The Brooks Review