It's an App-y world


"Sid" My wife’s voice had taken on a slightly breezy tone as she addressed me.

“Yes, Hon.” I said, looking up from my iPad, on which I had been reading a book. We were in bed, and as usual both of us were indulging in a spot of nighttime reading.

I raised my eyebrows quizzically as I turned around to face her. She had shut her book and was gazing up at the ceiling, her brown eyes rapidly fluttering from left to right repeatedly as they tracked the rotation of the fan.

“What happened to us?”, she asked suddenly, her tone suddenly transporting me back to 13 years ago, when sitting beside me on the battered seat of an MTC bus, she had asked, “Where is this relationship going?”.

“Erm..I’m not sure what you’re talking about.” I replied, trying to figure out what was on her mind. But her face remained impassive, as she slowly blinked a few times.

There were a few added seconds of silence as she continued to gaze at the ceiling, while seeming to gather her thoughts. Unsure what to say next, I picked up my iPad and tried to sneak back to my electronic book, while thanking technology for noiseless pages.

Her next question took me by surprise.

“Do you remember when we used to take impromptu holidays? Or just decide to go away during the weekend? It was so much fun. Now, everything has to be so planned.” she said, her tone stuttering slightly from the emotions that were running through her mind.

I remained silent, knowing well that she was not done speaking. I glanced towards her, but her eyes were closed.

"We can still do such holidays" I replied, closing the e-book app on the tablet and opening another one.

"No, we can't." She said with a loud sigh, " things are different now. We have a kid, more responsibilities, work, weekly shopping. And not to mention the amount of planning it takes. I mean, it's Wednesday today. Even if we wanted to go somewhere for the weekend, it's just too short notice to plan. We have work tomorrow. By the time we sit down to plan the holiday and login to the laptop, it'll be tomorrow evening. And then we'll need to browse those travel websites,  look for accommodation and so on.  And say we're going to a place with a beach,  we'll need to get new attire or a swimsuit for Rishi or even for you. Which won't happen till Friday,after work. When do we pack then?"

I hummed along as if to acknowledge everything she'd said, while continuing to fiddle on the tablet, hoping she wouldn't notice. There was some more silence, only broken by the gentle tap of my fingers on the tablet screen.

"What's your size? S/M/L?"  I asked suddenly, breaking the silence.

Her eyes suddenly sprung open and she turned towards me, her expression now one of anger.

"Seriously? Is this the moment for this?" She asked loudly, pointing towards the tablet. "Here I am, talking to you about something that's really important to me, and you're playing on your iPad. So, that's how much this conversation means to you?"

Without waiting for an answer, she turned to the other side, her anger demonstrated clearly by the intensity with which she pulls the blanket over herself.

I sigh loudly, knowing very well that I've had it this time. 'You need to look at the person when someone is talking to you, Sid' admonishes my inner voice, trying to make me feel guilty.

A brief minute later, I tap on my wife's shoulders.

"Honey!" I say, in the sweetest sugar-coated tone that I can muster, "I was listening. You know that I can multi task". She pushes my hand away and sits up on  the bed, throwing me a glare that is usually reserved for the people who really piss her off.

Before she can utter another word, I slide the iPad into her hands where an open app displays the confirmation of our flight and hotel reservations for the weekend. I smile sheepishly as the emotion on her face transforms into one of surprise.

"Oh!" I add, leaning towards her and switching onto another app. "I've ordered these swimsuits for the three of us. Hope you like them. It'll be delivered on Friday morning. "

As I slowly lie back on the bed, with all the haughtiness of someone who has not just avoided a potential world war, but also managed to score some brownie points in the process, I can't help but grin.

"Thank God there's an app for everything" I muse, as I hear my wife call out my name again. This time in a much happier tone.

  Sounds a bit far-fetched? The truth is that it isn’t so. This snippet was part of a real conversation that I had with my wife a few weeks ago. Welcome to the future! There was a time, when taking a holiday was relatively easy and stress-free for us. We had the luxury of time and hence planning was often a breeze. Once we had our son, things sort of started to change. And far too rapidly, for the wanderlust-ers and shopaholics inside us. Between parenting and work, we just no longer had the time to login to our laptops and scroll through the multitude of options that were at our disposal. Nor did we have the patience to go to the hundreds of retail stores, dragging a tired and often cranky toddler with us to buy new clothes -  be it for an occasion or a holiday. As someone who stands by how technology makes our lives a lot easier, despite its various challenges, I am very pro ‘e-commerce’ in general. Yes, retail therapy or having an interaction with a travel agent has its own perks. But in today’s fast-paced world, where time is literally of the essence, I’m always looking for ways to simplify these processes, thereby leaving us more time to do more things with the people we love - friends and family. And that’s where  I think ‘app-based’ technology works really well for us.  With most of us using smartphones, there literally is an app for everything - from travel to fashion to ordering food. You name it and you have it. Most of these apps offer personalisation options and they often ‘remember’ your shopping and browsing history, so you can save more time if you regularly buy something or take frequent trips. And perhaps the best feature of it all is not just the ease with with you can book a ticket or order a new pair of jeans, but also the fact that it is akin to having a virtual personal assistant at your disposal. As people try and make the most of the time that they have, I think a mobile-first shopping solution, like Myntra is aiming for, could be a new trend setter. With most of us owning and using internet enabled smartphones, you no longer even need to login to a website to order that awesome shirt that you saw your favourite celebrity sport in the movie that you just saw. You can merely tap on the app on your tablet or smartphone, browse away regardless of whether you’re stuck in traffic on the way to work or just waiting for your coffee at the nearby cafe. A couple of quick taps later, you’ll be a proud owner of that shirt too. And in situations like the scenario that I’ve written at the beginning, these shopping and travel apps can be potential life savers. Yes, in retrospect I should have not done it while my wife was speaking to me. But the reality is that in the five minutes it took us to have that conversation, the apps had helped us plan our next short break complete with the attire for the same. If you ask me, that’s a very ‘app-y’ world to be in. And while I go and indulge in some more app - based shopping therapy, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the following :
 What do you think about mobile-based shopping? Particularly app-based shopping? Not just for items, but also in terms of travel too? Have you got a story to share?  How do you think the future of travel and fashion would be in an app-only world? Say where there were no mainstream websites, but just apps that were customised to your choices and preferences?
  Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and stories!
P.S. If you've never tried shopping through the Myntra app, check out the slide- show below which'll show you how easy it is. Yes, I complied them on my smartphone. Savvy, no?
[gallery type="slideshow" size="medium" ids="2824,2825,2823,2826,2822,2827,2821"]

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