Dec 31, 2015
Hi, I’m Xiaomi Mi4i, an Android who was born in China, and migrated to India, where I now live with babulous, a part-time writer.
India is a country that’s buzzing with possibility, and I feel that I am really beginning to live up to my potential. So I decided to write about a day in my life, starting from the moment I wake babulous up…
5.45 am: Sleepologist
The alarm in my ‘Mi Fit’ app is connected via bluetooth to a Mi band on babulous’ wrist. The band silently vibrates on the dot waking him up, while his wife sleeps on, undisturbed.
babulous checks the app’s sleep analysis, and wonders if 2 hours of deep sleep is enough. He then toggles on the mobile data. These days, he switches it off when he goes to bed. He believes my electromagnetic radiations are affecting his body’s DNA. But he thinks we can have a healthy relationship with a few precautions. Shades of AIDS?
Just then the security guard next door decides to wash his clothes by banging them noisily on a large granite block. babulous yells at him to stop the racket. Yes, another day in India has indeed begun.
6.30 am: Earthman
babulous usually wakes up with a bit of a stiff back, probably because he is at a desk all day. He asks me to turn on his Sworkit Pro app. I use it to guide him through a 10 minute yoga exercise.
Imagine... An Indian being coached by a foreigner on an ancient Indian science. John Lennon’s ‘no countries’ seems to be coming true. But humans need to work on the ‘Nothing to kill or die for’ and ‘all the people living life in peace.’
6.45 am: Future Seer
I alert babulous to a Whatsapp message from his tennis coach. The courts are ready to play on, after two weeks of torrential rains. He wonders if it’ll rain today as the state capital was flooded with the heaviest rains in a century. He presses and holds down my middle button. The Google app opens. He asks if it will rain today and a female voice replies in a typical Indian accent, “Yes, the forecast for today is 28C with scattered showers.” babulous doublechecks on his accuweather app. It confirms and adds a thunderstorm to the mix. Looks like it’s either play today, or forget about tennis for the next couple of days.
7.00 am: Bloodhound
babulous stops at the jogging track for a warm-up run on the way to the tennis court, and plugs in his Mi in-earphones. I. start up his music app, and put it in shuffle mode. I then fire up Runtastic Pro. He starts jogging, and I turn on my GPS to track his run. He seems a bit lethargic and barely chugging along.
7.15 am: Deejay
I skip to the next track, Mapei’s uplifting ‘Don’t wait’ (downloaded during the good old days of iTunes’ free ‘single of the week’). babulous perks up, and finishes with a decent time. He does a few stretches to cool down, unplugs the headset, and heads off for the tennis court.
7.30 am: Survivor
The rains have given most players a welcome excuse to sleep in. With the courts free, babulous gets to play till 9 am. Midway thru the game, an insect starts buzzing near his wrist and he tries to brush it off only to realise it’s the Mi Band vibrating. It’s an incoming call from his daughter who is in a panic over her lunch biscuits which have mysteriously disappeared. A game lost for a biscuit!
Worse follows. The distraction causes babulous to miss his pocket as he puts me back in. I go straight into the red ground like a knife cutting into butter. Fortunately it’s a soft mud court, and I survive without a scratch.
It helps that babulous has outfitted me with an aluminium bumper case, and a tempered glass screen. Keeps me protected without hiding my sleek looks.
After the game, I import his step count from the Mi Band, and pass it to the Mi Fit app who in turn passes it on to the Google Fit app. babulous smiles happily as he’s gone past his target of 8000 steps.
I check Runtastic and inform babulous that he has run 2300 km since the beginning of history. Which in this case is the last three years. Nothing like a bit of stats to motivate a human to get out of bed in the morning.
9.00 am: Loophologist
We stop on the way home to pick up some fruits. My notes app pops up with his shopping list. At the checkout counter, he pulls out his credit card. The cashier punches in the numbers and pushes over the terminal for babulous to enter his password. The machine rejects it. Time for me to step in. I open 1Password, get the correct password, and the payment goes through.
I let babulous know the 1Password app trial is over. He can’t add new logins or edit existing ones. So he checks the cost of buying the app. It’s Rs 650 ($10). That’s humungous by Indian standards, where apps go for as little as Rs 10 (15 cents).
babulous doesn’t look too concerned, and I know why. He’s got the pro version of 1Password on his iOS devices, and he can add new logins there, sync it with Dropbox, and then sync my app with Dropbox.
India is all about loopholes and workarounds!
9.30 am: Newshound
After his bath, babulous has breakfast, while reading the news on the News360 app. It’s taken over as his favorite news app (when it works) ever since the plug was pulled on Zite.
His wife notices me and reminds him not to read while he eats. She hints darkly of possible bankruptcy as prophesied by ancient Indian superstitions. It’s more likely some ancient Mom’s desire to ensure her child focused on chewing his food!
babulous turns off my screen to help contribute to world peace. He recalls that his idol Djokovic doesn’t read while he eats. Probably out of respect for his gluten-free diet’s role in his incredible success.
10 am: Watchdog
I get a break as babulous turns on his iMac to check out things on the work front. He plugs me in following the latest trend of charging lithium batteries whenever possible, instead of waiting till they go down to zero.
A website is due for renewal and babulous uses the iCloud Keychain to fill in his credit card details. I beep to warn of an incoming. babulous checks the message. It's the OTP to complete the transaction.
The one time password (OTP) is one reason why stealing a credit card won’t do a thief much good in India. Most purchases require an OTP to be sent to the card holder’s cellphone. So the credit card is basically crippled without the cellphone.
Maybe it was this financial discipline by the regulators that helped India avoid the financial meltdown that hit the West. Like you can’t get massive home loans without proving that your ability to repay it. In some ways, India is far ahead of the West.
11 am: Dictator
My google calendar reminds babulous that his internet bill is due. He logs on to MyBSNL, his ISP’s app and clears the bill. Except that the payment fails.
The money has gone from his bank account though. Not to worry. It’s happened before and the money usually gets refunded in a couple of days.
For now, babulous does the transaction again but from the Mac this time, as it’s more reliable. That’s one of the few holdouts against the inevitable arrival of the post PC era.
Meanwhile a text message arrives stating that an odd sum of money has been deposited into his bank account. babulous says ‘Ok Google’ and ask it to convert the Indian rupee figure into UAE dirhams, and sure enough he gets a nice round number. It’s a payment for a job he did in UAE.
Impressed by the google’s efficiency in interpreting Indian English, babulous calls up an email and dictates a thank you note for the payment. Not a single correction… the days of typing are indeed numbered.
11.30 am: Money saver
Another reminder pops up. An online gift card is expiring today. babulous logs on to the Amazon app and checks his wishlist. One of cables in the wishlist, has dropped its price by 50%. He adds a couple of ebooks and encashes the gift card.
12.30 pm: Wiretapping
A business partner calls up. babulous plugs in his Mi in-ear headset as he knows it will be a long call, and painful on his ear. Midway through the conversation, his partner starts rattling of a bunch of numbers. Luckily, my phone app has a built-in function to record phone calls.
3.30 pm: Travel Agent
As babulous wraps up his work, the exertion of the morning game catches up with him, and he begins to nod off.
My whatsapp goes ting and jolts him awake. A meeting is confirmed in another city and he needs to book his railway ticket to the place.
Indian Railways allow customers to directly book tickets online after 12 noon. But the official app, ICRTC, is a bit complicated. babulous’ go-to travel app is Cleartrip. It allows him to see all trains, check ticket availability for the different classes at the touch of a button, and has his data stored for quick booking. A sleeper is available for the night train, and he books it.
4 pm: Banker
babulous has his lunch, and answers his messages while he does so. Another bill reminder pops up. He vaguely recalls already paying it. So I open his banking app and sure enough, there’s a credit card payment a couple of days back that he’s forgotten to note in Toshl, his expense app. I think Toshl needs to start talking to the bank.
4.45 pm: Failure
babulous heads to the school to pick up his daughter who has stayed back for sports. As he walks towards the school grounds, he hears a whistle go off, and a bunch of girls start sprinting.
Quick as a flash, babulous pulls me out, switches on my camera, shoots a video and snaps a photo at the same time. Maybe he was too quick because I get a glitch, and the video fails to save. Anyway, the kid was out of shape and didn’t win. But that doesn’t stop babulous from giving me the side eye.
To err is human. Hey bab, maybe I becoming more human.
5 pm: Kid Pacifier
On the drive home, the kid plugs me into the car’s stereo via an aux cable, and Taylor Swift begins extolling the benefits of blank space.
5.15 pm: Cameraman
The kid calls out to her Dad that the taps are dry. babulous switches on the water pump and sets my timer to 18 minutes which is how long it takes for the overhead tank to get filled. He goes off to wash the car and generally potters around the house for the next two hours, trying his hand at some experimental photography. Don’t ask me what that is!
7.30 pm: Teleporter
My Skype app starts buzzing. It’s babulous’ brother calling up from halfway across the world. They video chat for a while.
8 pm: The post smartphone era
One of the kid’s friends calls her up requesting a copy of a school assignment. She borrows me from her Dad, and uses my built in scanner app to scan and WhatsApp it off in no time. As he’s busy, she grabs the opportunity to check out my games, discovers to her horror there are none loaded, and asks her Dad why his phone has no games.
Her Dad replies, “Because it’s not a phone. It’s a superhumanizer.”
Happy New Year, humans!