All publications of Venkatesh Balasubramanian . Delhi , India
"The Zoom shares are skyrocketing, no doubt!" remarked my 73-year-old father-in-law (FIL) to my mother-in-law (MIL). She spends most of her time these days on the zoom app taking music classes or video conferencing with her younger daughter (my wife), who stays two blocks away, and the elder one in London. The one person who has benefitted the most out of this lock down has been my MIL. A retired teacher from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and an established Carnatic vocalist, handling gadgets has never been her cup of tea. The smart phone that she possesses now was bought 5 years ago after going through a vehement pestering from her younger grandson as he wanted one to play PUBG. It was with great difficulty and perseverance, that her two grandsons taught her to use Whatsapp. She had to be told not to use the same force on a smart phone as she was using on her feature phone while pressing the number keys or typing a text. Once, she wanted to Whatsapp my FIL asking him to bring milk and some groceries. However, instead of sending the message to my FIL, she inadvertently sent it to her music teacher. The music teacher promptly called up my MIL asking her if that was all or any thing else was required.
With my MIL under lockdown, she had to discontinue with her Carnatic music classes for her students. So now, she has decided to go online and use the zoom app for taking music classes for her students. Learning to use zoom was a herculean task for my MIL and another massive uphill task for me and my wife. As we were practicing social distancing strictly, none of us had visited my in-laws since the lockdown was enforced. So helping my MIL to download the app in her laptop was only possible remotely using Whatsapp video call. With great difficulty she was able to download the zoom app and register herself. A step by step procedure was written and forwarded to my MIL to open the zoom app and host and join a meeting. Hoping that she had understood the steps, my wife and I were very happy with our pedagogical skills. However, to our dismay, we received a call from my MIL within the next 5 minutes asking as to where the Google Chrome icon was. This was the first step of our instruction, "Double click on the Google Chrome icon". This was just the beginning of the terrifying ordeal we were in for. Having found the Google Chrome icon on her desktop, she promptly double clicked it but not in the quickest of successions. The mouse went "click"................."click". This went on for a few seconds and then came the next obstacle. "Google Chrome is not opening", complained my MIL. I said the clicks have to be in quick succession and not after eternity. "But this is as quick as I can get", prompted my MIL. "Well, then we will have to decipher another way of opening the Google Chrome", I suggested. "There is another button on right of the mouse. Take the cursor on to the Chrome icon and click the right mouse button. Then press Open." I said. "Ok....now it has opened". I and my wife jumped from our seats in joy and gave each other a hi-five. This was the next happiest news after the Chandrayan was successfully launched by ISRO. In the enthusiasm my MIL had opened too many Chrome windows and was confused as to which one was she originally working in. So my wife asked her to close all the windows by clicking on "X" sign on the top right corner of the screen. The only word my MIL heard was "CLOSE" and she shut down the computer without any hesitation. Then when she was asked to open Chrome again, the voice on the other side of the phone said, " Wait... the computer is starting again." We were literally in tears. At each of the stages while we were guiding her through the steps to open the zoom app, assisting her to host a meeting by sending the link to the desired email and making her sit in front of the camera in a way that she was visible, we were at tenterhooks. Every successful event was a cause for celebration. By the end of this exhausting but amazing experience for me and my wife, and for my MIL of course, she learnt the tricks of the trade and successfully conducted a Carnatic music class for her students that evening.