WhatsApp is finally catching up to its rivals with new features it has been releasing this year Image Credit: Supplied

I sent the new disappearing message on WhatsApp to my wife as a joke but things got a bit weird, or rather weirder.

“I can’t find the message you sent me a week back, can you send it to me again,” she said.

“I find it heartening that you treat my messages with the utmost urgency,” I said sarcastically. “What if one of these coronavirus thingies was choking me by the neck and I needed oxygen fast,” I continued.

“Just send it to me again,” she said and walked out of the room.

We live in a 3 BHK with 3 baths and 3 balconies (the builder must have had a thing about the number three) and the apartment is not that large and we can easily communicate with each other if we shout across the sitting area, but we generally only communicate by WhatsApp.

This application is a wonderful thing; mainly because it allows you to communicate with the wife without any confrontations and allows one to non-verbally communicate with each other.

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The other reason we don’t speak to each other is because the neighbour upstairs has decided to renovate his flat and has brought in a gang of workers with concrete diggers.

These are like the hand-held ones that break the concrete on the roads of Bengaluru and leave a huge mess behind.

The home owner’s association, must have been coerced into agreeing to the renovations, and the noise starts promptly early morning when the wife is holding online classes with her pupils and just when I am dreaming in bed about a huge English breakfast of eggs, sausages, baked beans, toast with marmalade (preserved by an entrepreneur neighbour) and coffee from the coffee plantation hills of Coorg, or Kodagu as it is known today.

(To be frank, I don’t get all that for breakfast most of the time, just idli (rice cake) and a green, yucky looking chutney (dip), which the maid makes with a mixie that grinds and noise pollutes the morning further, and which makes me feel hungry as soon as I finish eating).

Late adapters of technology

Anyway, the messaging app is a huge help for communicating with people, but then they came out with something called a ‘disappearing message’. For late adapters of technology like me, who do not know certain technology exists until a year later, you can send a message, and it will vanish after a week.

“Why did you send me a disappearing message,” said my wife marching back into the sitting room. “Was it meant for me”?

“Give me your phone,” she said, snatching it away from me. “Aha, you have locked it. Open it.”

“The phone opens only when it sees my face, it’s a face recognition key,” I said.

“Here, look at your phone, “said my wife, shoving the phone in my face. “Why is it not opening, huh ?”

“I have my mask on, it does not recognise the face with a mask, “I said, feebly, as the maid watched us, with her mask on.

I have disabled the app after that incident and after the maid wanted it downloaded on her ancient Nokia phone, but I still feel it is a great invention.

You can poke harmless fun at anyone in your contact list and even expand it to your WhatsApp groups and before everyone groups together and decides to take action, the message vanishes into thin air and the lawyer and the lawyee (or whatever you call them) are left holding an innocent looking phone.

Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi