“Can you play the tanpura before you go?”, Amma (my mother) asks. I have just settled her in bed for the night and have switched on the night-light when she makes this request.
“Of course,” I say, reaching for the Tablet kept on the nightstand. I switch on the Tanpura App and within seconds a soft, sonorous drone fills the room. Amma smiles with pleasure and within minutes she’s fast asleep. I wait for a little while before leaving the room, reducing the volume a bit.
“Paati’s (Tamil word for grandmother) asleep?” asks AA, my niece, as I pass her on the way to the kitchen.
“Yes. Let the tanpura play for another 10 minutes or so and then you can use the Tablet if you want to,” I tell her.
“Okayyyyyy, ” AA drawls out her thanks.
“And after you finish, AA, I’d like to use it for a while. I want to catch up with the news,” calls out her mother and my sister-in-law, SV.
“Okayyyyyy. I won’t take more than 10 minutes; just want to check my FB and mail,” AA replies.
When I look in to say goodnight to SV and AA about half-an-hour later, I find that they are sharing earphones and watching something on the Tablet intently. I smile and head for bed thinking how quickly a device that everyone in my family had not shown any interest in, had suddenly become the most convenient and coveted thing in the household.
That device was a 8″ x 5″, book-sized, Dell Venue Tablet sent to me last month as part of the Dell blogger review programme.
When the PR firm that handles the Dell account contacted me for the review programme, I immediately said yes as it sounded like an exciting product to review. When I shared this excitement with the rest of my family, the responses ranged from “what’s a tablet?’ (Amma) to an ultra polite “niiiice” (a brother) to a “no comments” (Apple brand loyalist brother) to a “I-don’t-like-tablets” (AA) to … You get the picture? Families, I tell you !
Anyways, I didn’t have the chance to sulk at my family’s reaction (or rather lack of) to the Dell Tablet. In the few days between my agreeing to review the Tablet and Dell sending a brand new piece to me, we found out that Amma needed a hip replacement surgery at the earliest. In fact, I received the Tablet just a couple of days before Amma’s surgery. I was too preoccupied with the upcoming surgery to do anything beyond registering the Tablet and having a cursory look at its functions. I offered it to my brother (the one who said “niiiice”) for use while he was on hospital duty. But he said that he preferred a book for company !
Amma was in hospital for 14 days and by the third day she wanted to go home. When I came to the hospital in the evenings to relieve my brother, Amma would be cranky and tired from all the physiotherapy sessions and enforced rest. Knowing that music would be the best way to calm her down and make her feel better, I copied some of her favourite music to the Tablet and started playing it to her. It worked and evenings in the hospital were spent listening to music till she fell asleep.
Initially, Amma was resistant to the idea of using the Tablet. But once she got over her fear of dropping or damaging it, she got pretty comfortable using the touch screen to access and play “her” music list. Somewhere along the way, I found and installed the Tanpura App that I mentioned earlier on in this post. That became Amma’s ‘music to fall asleep to”. 🙂
Once Amma came home from the hospital, AA and SV came down from Pune to help out in taking care of her. To my complete surprise, AA ignored the Tablet but my sister-in-law, who is normally a technophobe, took one look at it and immediately wanted to know how to use it. And within a day she was using it like a pro. AA’s disinterest lasted for a couple of days, before she too succumbed to the charm and convenience of the Tablet.
Over the next two weeks, the household settled into what I called the “Tablet Routine”. SV is an early riser and after her morning yoga, would sit down with the Tablet to listen or read the latest message from her spiritual guru. Then it would go to Amma, who would listen to some Carnatic classical music. When AA, a late riser, woke up the Tablet would go to her where over her morning cuppa or rather “mugga”, she would check her mail or Facebook.
And so it would continue through the day, with the Tablet changing hands now and then. Each time the Tablet went to a new user, the previous user would wipe the screen and the Tablet carefully before handing it over. I can’t tell you how amused I was to see this “passing-the-Tablet” process at home. I would call home from work on the pretext of checking on Amma, but it was actually to find out who was using the Tablet ! 😉
In case you were wondering, if I got the chance to use the Tablet at all, to be honest, not much. But with AA and SV returning to Pune about 10 days back, I finally got to use it and am slowly getting familiar with the device and am busy downloading interesting apps.
But my familiarisation process is going to be interrupted for my brother (the one who said “niiiice”) arrived from Pune earlier today. The first thing he asked when he came home was, “Is the Dell Tablet charged? Can I use it?” Apparently, brother dear wants to use the Tablet after hearing about it from SV and AA ! And use it he did today. The “passing-the-Tablet” process is back on track at home !
Sharing a tablet sure is an interesting experience, especially when there is a Tablet in the house ! 😀