I remember my great grandfather (who, incidentally, lived to be 105) watching cricket on TV. The volume was almost nil and that, for some reason, used to annoy me. It was like a constant buzz – neither silent nor noisy. His logic was that he was deaf and would not be able to hear anyway, so he might as well be soft instead of adding to the noise around him.
My grandfather has become like that too. He watches the news; he does not listen to it because the TV is perpetually silent. It does not bother me so much because at least there’s no annoying buzz.
My grandfather, of late, has started talking very slowly, thinking things through, weighing his words and all that.
Two days ago, he said to me, “You know … the modern generation … the twentieth century … even the twenty-first century … the world has seen many, many technological advancements.”
I nodded, wondering where he was going from here. A point worth noting is that currently, my modern grandfather is reading a pocket guide on basic facts of computer science, useful (the guide says) for students of all boards and for students appearing for competitive exams.
“The telephone, of course,” continued my grandfather. “Inda – text messaging … apram inda – computer … email … internet.”
He paused. I waited.
“Silicon chips,” he pronounced suddenly after a long silence.
“But you know the greatest invention of all? The greatest invention of the century?”
My grandfather chuckled and changed the channel on his silent television. “The mute button.”