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“Since the mobile came into my hand, I have had no peace. I fear of losing it when I am drunk and the song (ringtone) disturbs my sleep. Why did you send me?”
My mother condemned me yesterday. She said that the mobile was giving her lots of troubles. She asked me to take it back! I had to request her to keep it so that I could contact her when I missed her.
But she would go on refusing. At one point, the mobile was switched off due to low battery. Shingkhar Lauri is still not connected with electricity and mobiles are charged using solar panels. My mother doesn’t have the luxury to afford panels. She has to go to a neighbor (who have panels) and pay a little sum (Nu 10 to 20) to charge for an hour. Not knowing that the mobile was switched off and would function once it is charged again, my mother slept that night sad. She regretted so much thinking I had paid a huge sum of money to buy it.
Early morning, she approached a student in the village to mend it. And he had nothing to do but to charge the mobile. The student taught my mother the word, “switched off” and today she somehow pronounces it.
The next thing she was worried was about which button to press while picking the phone. Although she was tutored by her grand-daughter, she still had doubts. I had to give her practical examinations from Thimphu while she resided in the far corner of Shingkhar Lauri. I told her to press any button on the mobile, other than the red, while the phone is ringing. She, after four practical calls, did it successfully. Now, she knows which button to press.
Since these technologies are new to her, she feels uneasy handling it. But with time she is learning, just as in the case of words such as 'hello', ‘switched off’, ‘call’ and ‘balance’. I am happy that mobile came as a teacher-in-disguise to my mother.
Thank you to mobiles, all Shingkhar Lauripas are learning English at the fast rate. More often, I have seen them using English words during the conversation, although their pronunciations are sometimes best medicines that would eject laughter. As long as there is no equivalent Dzongkha words developed and used, in the place of English words, Lauripas will continue speaking English.