Chitra Ramaswamy: iPad takes my breath away

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FINALLY, your correspondent has sashayed into this century. Drum roll, please ... I have an iPad. Yes, my ancient iBook can finally be laid to rest.

And, my word, it has worked for its keep. I bought it eight years ago on my one and only visit to New York. Imagine. Eight years ago. A simpler time, when mobile phones were for making calls, pads were for periods and tablets were things you took with a glass of water.

Not any more. These days a phone must be as clever as a tablet, a tablet as clever as a laptop, and a laptop? As clever as a human, I suppose. And this under-achieving member of the species refused to install updates on her own life for way too long. Instead, I soldiered on, getting slower and slower, until I was scribbling this very column on to a piece of slate that was then delivered to my editor via an accommodating pigeon.

Now my zippy new life is here, in my own grubby hand. I say grubby because I now see these things on the ends of my wrists as print-making monsters, designed to leave their dirty trace all over the beauteously smooth black mirror of my iPad. If only we didn’t need to touch the thing to make it work. Give it time... Actually, I don’t even need to turn it on to enjoy it. I just breathe on the screen, then polish it lovingly with a glasses cloth. Breathe, then polish ... breathe, then polish ... so this is what it means to be alive in the 21st century.

Truth be told, I don’t really know what else to do with it. The plan is to hook it up to a keyboard and pretend it’s a laptop. But I’m still in the early, heady stages of new love, when it’s about staying in bed all day, giggling between cuddles and feeling very smug indeed. Me and my iPad against the world.

Like love, it was hard work to get to this place. For a few days the iPad stayed in its box, cradled in cellophane and white plastic. I couldn’t bear to start it up. I’m weird like that. I have a pair of uber-posh walking boots in the cupboard that I bought before Christmas but which are are still in their box. Meanwhile, every day I pull on the same mud-caked cheap and nasty boots to take the dog out. The ones in the cupboard are too special. At least that’s how it started. Now I’m just afraid of them.

Only the dog understands. When Daphne gets a rawhide chew that she particularly cherishes she hides it. She can’t bear to look it, she loves it so much. Instead, it goes behind sofas, under beds, basically anywhere but in her mouth. This Blitz mentality makes perfect sense to me. I might put a couple of tins of beans in with the boots and be done with it.

Back to the iPad. Every night C plays on it for hours. “What are you doing?” I whine. It is a mystery to me.

I have downloaded a few apps but does anyone else find that the greatest enjoyment to be gleaned from an app is the downloading of it? Once that’s done, I never click on it again.

I did pass a few enjoyable minutes changing the photo settings so that I could take pictures of Daphne in ‘X-ray’ mode but, you know, this kind of fun has a shelf life. And so eventually I turn the iPad off again, breathe and then polish...

Twitter: @Chitgrrl

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