Friday, September 14, 2007

cellephony and the 'maa ka dil'

The 'maa ka dil' used to be an important part of many Hindi films for a very long time. The mother's heart would know, instinctively, when her offspring was unhappy/in trouble.
(The said offspring in these fillums was usually male, so we will use the male gender here for convenience).
It was a bond which appealed to many, including the poet Nida Fazli:
' Main roya pardes mein, bheega maa ka pyaar
Dukh ne dukh se baat ki, bin chitthi, bin taar.'

Loosely translated,
'I cried in a foreign land, and my mother's eyes were full of tears
Grief spoke to grief, with neither letter nor telegram intervening'.

(The mother was also held solely responsible for the misdeeds of her offspring. Her tender- heartedness as a mother led to all kinds of iniquities being perpetrated by her offspring, and, oddly enough, both for his moral fibre and the lack of it. This seems to be a universal truth- the mother is to blame for everything. Enough digression- back to the point).

Here we are dealing with the maa-ka-dil in its avataar as worrier-about-offspring.
When cell phones came into common use, the mother thought she had found a major ally, one who would reduce the worry-about-offspring's-wellbeing quota of her life. At any given time, she could speak to the offspring and assure her tender heart that all was well.
(Since my girls had grown up before cell phones invaded the world, I will remain with the male offspring of the species).
The offspring could no longer say that he couldn't find a pay phone, didn't have change for a pay phone, had forgotten that he had a home with a mother in it, had told her when he'd left home that morning that he'd be late and she had conveniently forgotten because she needed to worry for no reason, or any other convenient/specious excuse to the plaintive/aggressive maternal statement:
'You should have called/ why didn't you call?'

With a cell phone equipped offspring, the anxious mother's life acquired new optimism.
Whether her offspring was of the resident or non-resident variety, he could be reached when required. That's what the poor deluded woman thought, until reality kicked in.

Cell phones need money: if they are pre-paid, and the card runs out of cash, you cannot reach the offspring.
If they are post-paid, and bills are not paid on time, you cannot reach your offspring.
The cell phone battery also requires periodic charging, and may run out just when you wish to talk to the offspring.
If the moronic offspring has put the cell phone on the 'silent' mode to attend his classes and forgotten to switch up the volume again, you cannot reach the offspring.
If he is travelling in a bus he will neither hear his phone ring nor feel it vibrate, because the bus makes more noise than the phone does, and vibrates much more.
If he is enjoying a few beers with friends he can't hear his cell phone anyway- the pub is too noisy/the music is on too loud.
If he is with his girlfriend he might hear your call and say "I'll call you back" even before you are able to tell him why you need to speak to him.
If he is my particularly brilliant elder son, his cell phone will land up in the toilet, and you most certainly cannot talk to him!

This list is by no means exhaustive. Being a parent means you have to worry about your offspring. It doesn't matter how old the said offspring is. You produced him, so now you can jolly well worry about him. It is part of the parenthood deal.
You may delude yourself into thinking that technology will rescue you from your worries.
It cannot, beyond a point. I personally think it makes things worse, because you worry even more when you're not able to reach your child when you ought to be able to. It is time mothers stop expecting too much from technology, and get on with what they are genetically programmed to do- worry about their children.

(I claim to be an exception to this rule- all my maternal life I have been known as the tough cookie who refuses to have a maa-ka-dil).


Anonymous said...

You are scaring me now, I thought may be on my son's next birthday i will get him a mobile phone so that I can worry less about him once he goes to intermediate in Feb2009, he is only 10 right now, but this post is making me think if it would really make any difference or increase my worries !

enjoyed the post though :-)

dipali said...

No no, 2b's mommy, my words are only to be taken with a large pinch of salt. Cell phones are definitely very useful, but like all technology, definitely not foolproof:)

Anonymous said...

lol! this could've been my mother writing... down to the pathhar dil and all...

Monica said...

you are a particularly brilliant blogger!

dipali said...

OJ: I guess all mothers are alike:)
Monica:Thank you (bows modestly)

Choxbox said...


Anonymous said...

You have me in splits each and every time!!! :)))

You sound sooooo mcuh like mom!!!! lolz!!!

Savani said...

first time visitor!!! I enjoyed your post! you really write well :)

dipali said...

Thanks, dotmom. (Visited, loved your recent posts)

Choxbox said...


(Dont beat me up!)