My Digitized Family

My parents have always been pretty close to their sides of families. As a result, I’ve a long list of grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins from both sides of the family. At times, it feels great to be with your own clan. But most of the time, it is overwhelming. Wishing everyone in the family on festivals, birthdays, and anniversaries is not easy. There are high chances of error (you might forget the dates, or forget saving phone numbers, or forget calling or messaging them altogether!). Once in a while, my big family catches up over long hours of hearty meals and animated conversations. It is fun to be a part of those conversations but the fun can easily turn to fear if one emerges as the topic of the conversations.

After I had started working in a different city, I was kind of pulled away from my ‘loving-yet-eccentric’ family. Not for long! Smartphones, Facebook, and WhatsApp came into the picture; connecting me with my family scattered across different time zones. Though now I really admire the enthusiasm my family (especially the older lot) showed while embracing technology to remain connected, I was actually against the very idea at first.

My Parents’ Struggles with Smartphones

My mother was pretty excited about using her new smartphone. She caught hold of one of my younger cousins to give her knowledge training on how to operate it. Her enthusiasm was infectious and soon my father bought a smartphone too. After a few hiccups (struggling to get familiarized with touchscreen, fiddling with WiFi and phone settings, understanding the difference between front and rear cameras, identifying the icons of the apps), they got a hang of it. And so did their siblings and cousins.

Socializing with Family on Social Media

Slowly, my Facebook profile started flooding with requests from my family. It is one thing to be connected to your cousins on social media and share funny memes. But it is altogether a different ballgame when you dread that one day your family might recognize the drunk girl from a Facebook video (standing atop a bar counter and shouting “Bitch, I’ll kill you!” at the top of her lungs), as one of their own! It is one of my worst nightmares.

Welcome to WhatsApp

I have two family groups on WhatsApp; my paternal side’s group has 27 participants and the one for my maternal side has 18 participants (shall I add only?). The group members share photographs, videos, forwarded jokes, religious messages, road safety messages, mathematical problems, good morning messages, and even play word games and general knowledge quizzes too. Now you can imagine how many WhatsApp notifications I get, on an average day.

So, rather than typing about all this, why haven’t I exited from the WhatsApp groups or blocked my family members on Facebook yet?

(A) I can’t give up on my big, loving, and mad family, even in the digital world.

(B) I don’t have the guts to hog the limelight at family dinners!

I can’t sign off this post without slightly tweaking the following lines from one of my current favorite songs, Anthony Gonzalez’s Proud Corazón from the movie Coco:

“Our love for each other will live on forever, in every beep of my smartphone!”

Coco Movie Poster

Image credit: IMDb