How a ritual made me realize that I love technology.

So, I recently moved into a bigger rented house. And with an important new beginning we need some rituals to herald auspiciousness, right? I called up my family priest to conduct a pooja and he quoted 20k for it, involving 3 brahmins. I thought, hey, no harm in getting a second opinion. So, I turn to the Internet. Because that’s what we all do when we’re stuck right? And the quest took me to wheresmypandit.com. Froze a deal at 6k, 2 brahmins arrived on the day, right on time, and did a fantastic job. I would know, I’ve been a part of a lot of these things given that my father is super pious.

Not being the religious kind, I was thinking about life as the pandit was setting 1 square foot of my house on fire. No, it was just a deliberately assigned aluminum trapezoid (also called a homkund). As the flames crinkled on and the house was filled with smoke, I thought of the most exciting thing in my life today. Of course, the wife, the business, the love of family etc. But I realized, what I truly love at this age (I’m 33) is technology.

How beautifully it has entrapped and enslaved me. And I love being a victim. I hate watching TV and have replaced my set top box with Chromecast and a Netflix account. Did I mention I have a 50 MBPS internet connection (Hathway 60 GB pm FUP Plan) with an additional amplifier (Dlink DIR505 repeater) that gives me full spectrum even when I’m across the road from my ground floor house? I had recently upgraded from a 5MBPS connection, and I’m paying just a couple of hundred bucks more per month. That’s how much I pay Uber additionally for one ride, when too many people are using their app simultaneously. Unfair practice? More on that later. Did you know that the Yoride app allows me to check if Uber is cheaper or Ola? So that I don’t have to!

By the way, you should know that with a 50 MBPS internet connection, nothing buffers. Ever. I can’t tell you what a joy it is to watch porn and switch from one video to another like browsing TV. Women, every man out there watches porn. You do too, so let’s not be kids about this anymore.

So, the ghee was being poured into the trapezoid, and bells were tinkling, white pellets were being set on fire on brass plates. And I realized, using Uber has got me hooked to PayTM and their cashbacks. So if I’m bored of browsing the Flipkart or Amazon app, I just PayTM karo it. Fun fact, you can’t watch TV for 15 minutes without seeing the PayTM logo at least once. Thanks to Naresh Gupta for this memorable piece of trivia (even though it’s unverified but it sounds damn believable), which I’ll use for the next year or so. Or till PayTM continues to burn money like my Pandit was burning twigs and barks of trees. Also thanks to Jay Mavani for subliminally introducing me to Medium.

Moving on quickly from the pleasantries, I also don’t subscribe to a newspaper, even though the wife is an amazing food & lifestyle writer with Hindustan Times. I get my news through twitter, ndtv, flipboard or inshorts. Just so you know, the wife too lives on the apex of technology. The iPhone6Plus may not be outdated just yet right? And a few thousand Insta followers organically makes the cut for an influencer right? (Pro tip: Her simplest homemade idli & sambar pics with a short recipe get her the most traction)

But this article is not about the wife, it’s about technology. Haan so then as the pooja ambled along, I thought of all the apps that I can’t live without. And that every app consumes so many packets of data. And I’ve configured my phone to behave the same way, whether on wifi or on mobile data. Except to update apps of course, you’d be stupid to do that on mobile data when you have the luxury of high speed wireless internet in office and at home.

So my list of most used apps went somewhat like this. Of course, I can’t live without whatsapp. Nobody can. And then facebook. It’s replaced the games time (on the pot) coz there’s no better refresher than a quick dose of other people’s lives. My milk comes from prideofcows.com. Vegetables are delivered by thefarmer.com. Other groceries from bigbasket.com. Exotic namkeens from placeoforigin.in. If I need a doctor, I have the Practo app handy. Any other queries are sorted by the Justdial app. In case I want to watch a movie, I first look it up on the IMDB app. If it’s above 7.5, I book it through bookmyshow. Which obviously has my card details saved for quicker checkout. Coz time is currency you know. I sometimes get an extra ticket free using the Visa Blockbuster Weekend Offer.

At work, I use Canva for designing stuff when I need to do it myself. My runnerboy is hired through Russh. Handymen and wife’s beauty rituals are home delivered through Urbanclap. Furniture comes from gozefo.com. I return my obsolete gadgets to atterobay.com. I can hire employees through aasaanjobs.com and outsource my CFO duties to yourcfo.co.in. I don’t get flustered when I leave my wallet at home, but I can’t imagine a day without my phone. This need to be connected is seen most clearly when a flight lands. Everyone gets promptly back to data and voice. So maybe it’s not just me who is addicted. Maybe I’m just acknowledging it today.

When I’m hungry, I just pick a food app — Zomato, Swiggy or Scootsy (obviously bucketed into one folder called food on my phone) and order away.

I don’t store songs on my phone coz I have so many moods. To sort that scene, I have the Saavn app. And since I’m mostly on wifi and Saavn doesn’t really have the most exhaustive library in the world, I listen to my favourite pep-up tunes on YouTube (listen to melancholic ecstasy by Indian Ocean — it’s an absolute mood lifter). Also, when I leave for work from home or vice versa, I make it a point to check the shortest route on Maps. These are pinned as my frequent destinations so it takes barely a second to do a cursory check. Better-forewarned right?

Moving on, my bank details are stored on Evernote and encrypted. I use Boomerang to manage mails. Most of my multiple passwords are now replaced by my fingerprint (True Key is the app). I own a Google Cardboard to marvel at VR when I feel like. Truecaller helps me avoid spam calls that are definite time wasters. I can use Tor browser to explore the dark web if I want to, but I don’t. Yet.

Did I tell you that my elder sis lives abroad (Lagos for now)? It used to cost us a bomb to connect with each other barely 10 years ago. But now, I can speak to her for hours — free of cost on any of my 6 chosen apps — viber, tango, facetime, whatsapp, facebook, skype. I’m not into Hike or Line or those other bullshit apps that bloatware-filled Samsung phones come preinstalled with.

So, speaking of calling (see the automatic joke there?), I pick up calls as soon as they ring so I get done quicker, so yeah my phone is an extension of my arm. I love my OnePlus3, which I upgraded to from my iPhone 5s. I’m never going back to Apple again. Yes, the jet black does look sexy. But wouldn’t you change your phone every 2 years and truly live on the cutting edge of technology instead? You can’t ask that question on Quora, unfortunately; you’ll have to ask it to yourself.

Back to the pooja. Actually no, let’s stay at technology. Because I’m writing this and I want to. By the way, there’s a great writer within you too — beyond just work mails. So when are you picking up the pen and just letting loose like I am right now? I’m typing this on a Macbook Air btw. Yes, no other laptop experience even comes close. Except maybe the sexy Lenovo Yoga. Where I can scroll the touchscreen with my fingers. But to me that’s a novelty like the Nintendo Wii was. Don’t see a great need there.

By the way, everything that I’ve mentioned in the article (the facilities I enjoy and make life simpler for me) above comes totally free of cost to me. Except bandwidth of course, which I’m happily paying for. Two connections in office (a mifi in case the local one faces downtime).

Also, if you’re technologically inclined, while reading along, you might have noticed that all the tech names (platforms/products) mentioned have excellent UI/UX and best-in-class coding and development. If anywhere, India may lag behind on this part. Being value seekers and all. But take this free piece of advice from me, which will save you tons of marketing monies. Don’t create an app for your business unless you think it will really solve your customers’ pain points. There isn’t enough storage on anyone’s phone these days to keep apps that they don’t use at least once a month. (See how I hid that nugget towards the end of the piece? It’s a reward for staying with me this long) You were reading it on a mobile device, weren’t you? And that’s a lot of your time I just ate into. But the nugget made it worth it right?

My advertising genes (12 amazing years) make me want to end the article with: Toh aap kab karwa rahe ho apna digital pooja? But I won’t. Coz I’m nice like that.

Enough about my life and my opinions and my dry sarcasm though. Tell me about how you’re embracing (or coming to terms with) the digital age in the comments section below. Else send me a voice note on Whatsapp. Easier right?

The writer is Founder of www.reverseadvertising.in and can be reached at gr@reverseadvertising.in or 9930148228.