#MeToo

It’s everywhere. That hashtag. I saw it up as a friend’s status on Facebook. I made it my own a few seconds later. That was yesterday. Today, a very large percentage of the women on my list of friends have the same or a variant of it as their status.

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I look at those stupid buttons that Facebook has developed to react to things and I don’t know what to click.

Like? No, I don’t like that it happened to you too. That you are part of the population that has to take part in a movement like this. I don’t like that at all.

Love? That’s what I’m sending you because you’re my sister in this. It was you yesterday. It was me the day before. It could be her tomorrow if we don’t do something.

That amazed button? Because I’m in shock that you too have experienced what I have.

Tears? Because there was no one to protect you when it happened, like there was no one to protect me.

Anger? Because the nature of the issue is such that no one is spared. No one is safe. No one.

I don’t know how to react. All I do know is that it’s time sexual harassment and assault – to whatever degree – is taken seriously.

It happened to you?

#MeToo.

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Post 17 in the UBC this month.

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Firsts

My mother has been using a very basic phone so far. It’s so basic that the ‘smartest’ feature on it is its speed dial option. The time for an upgrade was yesterday but, in spite of scouring the internet, anything remotely interesting was way out of budget. Then, I chanced upon the launch offer of the Moto E (2nd Generation) phone. As I studied the specifications (albeit with my limited knowledge of these things), I realized that the phone is like one of those cars which cost a fraction of the luxury brands and still have all the important features – in other words, it has all the things I am looking for in a new phone and won’t burn a hole in my pocket!

But, I can’t just go ahead and buy it. Ma has to use it and not just put it away until the phonecurrent box of metal and plastic dies completely. So I asked her what she wanted out of a new phone. After the usual reluctant, “No, but I don’t need a new phone…” and “What will I do with a new phone?…”, she warmed up to the idea a little and said, “Well, I want something that I won’t struggle to operate. I am comfortable with my present phone, simply because it’s so easy to use. These new phones that all of you handle look much too complicated for me.” (Now I know where the technologically challenged strand in my genetic make-up comes from…) From what I could see on the website, the Moto E is quite simple to use once you get used to the touch screen from the old phones with keypads. No complicated settings or difficult to use software. Being as good with technology as I am (read not good at all!), it looked like it would be a breeze for my mother to get used to it.

But an easy to use phone isn’t what makes a smart phone a smart phone so I asked, “What else Ma?”

“It would be nice ”, she said, “to be able to check e-mails and sign in to Facebook when I am sitting comfortably in the living room instead of having to go to the computer. The mountain and Mohammed type scenario, you know? I want to be able to get access to the internet from anywhere in the house. Plus I would like to be able to take good pictures of Adelin (my niece) and my garden whenever I feel like it and upload them instantly onto Facebook without having to transfer them to the computer first. With my present phone, the pictures are so unclear. Also, if my new phone has a front facing camera it would be even better because then I could have video calls with you when you go back to Bahrain. I’ll be able to see my new little grandchild everyday and not just when you come on holiday or if you post pictures to me.”

Having been a child who grew up in the time before Skype and IMO and other video calling apps hit the market, I saw my own grand parents only once a year and I was ever envious of my cousins who grew up close enough to see them everyday. My mother’s wistful request has made me feel emotionally compelled to get her a better phone. I checked the features on the Moto E and I found that although the cameras are no where close to the kind you would have on a high-end model, (and perhaps this is one of its only slightly disappointing features), at least with the Moto E, Ma will be able to connect to the internet on her new WiFi enabled phone and see us when we move back to Bahrain. My baby will feel more connected to everyone here too. (Bonus feature: The Moto E battery has been specially designed to make sure it lasts all day and the processor has been upgraded so that it’s faster and smoother than the earlier model so my mother won’t need to worry about running out of charge all the time. Added bonus: My child would be cooed at by so many more people! 🙂 ) Welcome to the addictive world of the internet on your phone Ma!

“Anything else Ma?”, I asked when she had been quiet for a little while. “Well…”, she said laughing, “…does this phone you have in mindMoto E (7)_620x376_7_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0_0 look good?” I could not help but laugh too. Of course she would want a phone that looked good! She is one of the most stylish women I know and is consistently complimented on her choice of clothes, shoes and jewellery! I said, “No problem! Check out the variety of coloured bands that you can use!”

That’s when I showed her the videos on the site.

My mother couldn’t stop smiling…

Who doesn’t hold their firsts in a special little place in their hearts? That first love, first kiss, first job, first salary or even, as it is in my case, first pregnancy related stretch marks (which made their appearance about a week ago and brought a very wide grin to my face)! So what if it’s not me making that first smart phone memory myself? It’s my mother and I can’t wait to see the delight on her face when she starts with Moto E!

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Do visit their website at http://www.startwithmotoe.com/!

Photo Credits:

Pic 1: My mothers phone.

Pic 2: Here

Tax related posts

It seems to me that August has gone by unnaturally fast…suddenly we are on the threshold of September and it’s already almost the end of another year! Perhaps the month seemed to fly by because I was finally at work (where I celebrated my first month as a working woman) and it was also my birthday month. (As I get older, these birthdays seem to sneak up on me…not that I don’t still love birthdays, but, they seem to come around way too quickly!) When I was in articleship a couple of years ago, I remember the end of August signalled the beginning of the tax season. In the firm where I worked, September meant no weekends….we worked all 30 days. (Luckily, the last September I was in the office, Facebook had not yet been blocked and the Farmville addiction was at it’s peak so it kept me quite occupied when I had no other pressing work). 🙂

On a separate yet connected note, for a while now my husband and more recently a friend have been asking me to start posting about something related to my field of education. So, starting September, I’m going to try and do a regular post on finance/tax.  Hope you tune in to that….and if you have any questions you would like to ask or specific topics you would like me to discuss, I’m VERY open to suggestions.

Looking forward to hearing from you! 🙂

Mind the Gap: Facebook

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There was a time a couple of years ago when my fingers would itch to type those familiar letters on my browser as soon as I logged onto the internet. I used to be a big fan. I loved Facebook and I do mean LOVED. I would log on multiple times a day just to see if anyone had mentioned me in a status update or tossed something at me or posted on my wall or tagged me in the occasional photograph or, the ever so rare but most awaited of all, if anyone had sent me a message. The only people on my friends list, were those I knew at some point of time in my life and the growing number of people on that list gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. I even tried out different games and got addicted to a few…

I saw what Zuckerberg had created and it was good.

But, that was a while ago…

Every time the makers of Facebook tweaked it, there were a new set of rules to learn so that you could restrict the viewing of your page and pictures to only those few you chose. I gave up changing settings after a while. Instead, I no longer upload pictures or update my status. Now, I log on simply because my fingers are used to tracing that familiar pattern on my keyboard. I scarcely glance at the stream of never-ending updates on my homepage. Once in a while, if I feel like it, I react to things I see moving on that homepage while I scroll down by clicking the ever-so-convenient “like” button. Only rarely do I feel compelled to comment. Even though I once did it myself many years ago, now I don’t understand how people seem to confuse Facebook for a journal. It annoys me. No one needs to know every detail of your day. What’s private should remain so. What’s put out on the internet is there forever and forever is one hell of a scary time period. I think that Facebook is just the easiest way to reconnect with long-lost friends and relatives and obviously, remember birthdays…

Sure, I have my grievances. But, I still continue to log in everyday. I don’t think I would ever delete my account permanently. For me, even though some days I hate that just about anyone can sort of get a glimpse of me if they only looked at my page long enough, at other times, I’m grateful that through Facebook, I have a chance to get a larger number of people to hear what I have to say…

Love it or hate it, you have to admit that Facebook was….Facebook is….and probably will be for a good while yet…

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Part of the Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap. Facebook: To Poke or To Puke?