Email: Bane or Boon?

What could be a better way of starting one’s day than with a resounding clap or sometimes whisper of endorsement from one’s Inbox? Every morning, groggy from sleep, the first thing I remember is the post I put up on my blog the previous night and quickly reach for my laptop.

As soon as it turns on, ‘Google chat’ is activated. I’m then notified of the emails I’ve received including those ego-boosting ones from WordPress that tell me the number of likes and comments my blog has garnered.

My day has now officially begun!

I have ‘Google chat’ on all day long, so even as I ‘m writing this, I know immediately of any new incoming mail. Distracting? Yes! But I can’t bring myself to turn it off!

I don’t really achieve much through email. I’m a homemaker who lives close to most of my family and friends. Facebook suffices to keep in touch with those who live away.

So, I could technically do away with email. But how can I, when it has given me interesting anecdotes and material for this post.

1. Mistaken Identity

This morning, I found this message from Facebook in my Inbox.

“X posted on your timeline, “happy birthday!” ‘

So, what’s wrong in that you ask? Nothing, except that it wasn’t my Birthday!

One of the banes of having a common Indian first name is that I often get emails which are meant for someone else. Once I received an email from an acquaintance with details of his company’s business strategies. Luckily for him, neither I nor anyone close to me worked in that field!

2. Entertainment or annoyance?

I happened to meet a stand-up comedienne sometime back. Last week, she emailed me a you-tube clip of one of her performances and cced it to her entire contact list. By the end of the day, I had received video clips from several other aspiring stand-up comedians and emails from celebrity management companies!

3. Platform for Debate?

There was an interesting exchange of emails among the moms of my son’s class when we were asked to put up a skit on folktales for storytelling week in school. The following debate took place regarding the choice of folktales that were considered as ‘suitable’.

Mom 1: I have always wondered why so many folktales/fairy tales/mythology are so violent. It keeps me from sharing a lot of those stories with the kids, unfortunately.

Mom 2: I see what you mean! I grew up on a massive diet of Indian mythology/folktales and was so keen on bringing up my son on the same. But sadly he just never took to them. I wondered if it was the illustrations – which had many rash strokes, unlike the soft colours and beautiful images in the American books he saw/read.

Mom 3: …storytelling is a fascinating human practice. It is never just about the storyline, is it?….the messages and morals are contained somewhere between the lines and the dramatic imagery. What better way to introduce kids to common sense, social justice, right vs wrong, human values (truth, compassion, respectfulness…), and the staggering wealth of Indian Mythology and historical tales?

Mom 4: In the child’s development of moral radar, I would err on the side of doing a story that evokes a moral dilemma but stays away from the macabre and has much room for discussion. These tots of our have a burning desire to engage with such content.

A stimulating read, to say the least!

4. Real Significance

The one only time Email played a significant role in my life was when I moved abroad and missed my family terribly. Phone calls were prohibitively expensive and a once-a week luxury. It was when I looked forward to hear the assurance in my dad’s voice; the subtle anxiety in my mom’s or the excitement in my sister’s voice. Email couldn’t replace any of that but it gave me the instant gratification for chit-chat in my quiet and alien life and the whisper of validation that I would be just fine in a strange new land.

This post is in response to the weekly writing challenge: Mail it in!

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