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Ring in the old
In this vivid, colourful universe of Black-Berry messengers, Androids, talking cats and angry birds, my Nokia phone feels like AK Hangal. It was born old.
Obsolete from the moment I bought the device around a year ago, it even commands as much attention as the aged character artist with a perpetual grimace and a oneline cameo does. It also boasts "features" that you can imagine on the ailing actor or, for that matter, my grandfather - a failing memory, a weak flashlight, a defunct radio, a technicolour backdrop, and a panchangam (replete with words like Chandramana, Souramana, Saka and Purnimanta). I swear I am not making this stuff up.
Besides black and white 'picture message' options consisting of images of pandas, newly married couples, birthday cakes and cupids that I seldom use, my cell phone, in its own sweet obsolete way, boasts of many extras whose benefits modern 'apps' fail to provide. For one, I don't have to wrestle with the guilt of executing a baseless revenge - angry birds injuring innocent helmet-sporting pigs without sufficient reason. With meaningful games such as 'Rapid Roll' wherein you have five chances to keep the ball from falling into space, 'Cricket', and the spotted 'Snake' that I have to feed though it already looks well nourished, it is quite PETA-friendly. However, it is unnerving when the snake appears to crawl even at the most difficult level. Yes, the animation may not be up to speed but the musical effects which sound almost Japanese, make up for it.
In addition, the keypad even morphs into a keyboard at times - a feature that allows me to boast about how my keypad is 'quirky', though not qwerty. Yes, the 'composer' gives me the leeway to create not only 'bad jokes' but also my own ringtones. Though the results are not very heartening, I have come to corelate the two events that take place in quick succession - every time I play these self-composed tones on full volume, I hear pigeons evacuating the top of my air conditioner. Besides, its inherent 'spreadsheet' feature, which can instantly please any Gujarati man, imparts thrift by coaxing you to key in daily expenses on food, travel, restaurant and other. As someone reeling under the impact of home loans and monthly EMIs, I should. But I don't. I am happy to have the option though.
Of course, this does not mean I have never prayed for the sudden mysterious disappearance of the plump black-and-red piece that, like Kasab, never hangs. Typing a short message on the stubborn rubber keypad takes as long as a Vajpayee speech with all its painful pauses. The aural assault of the radio which mysteriously turns itself on through a keypad shortcut, implanting the illusion of a temporary drizzle that turns into a relentless downpour in no time, is consistently embarrassing. Moreover, I have even had to mug up quite a few phone numbers due to its limited retaining capacity. To top it all, I can hope to receive an SMS only if I delete two. Effectively, I have lost the respect of even those few, treasured friends and contacts that used to appreciate the erstwhile prompt replies.
Yes, you may also argue that it does not even have a camera but I can safely say, through experience, that that's hardly a handicap. It only means that anyone who wants to see a picture of my better half is greeted with a cheesy "It's in my heart" comeback. Also, it helps avoid unpleasant discoveries, like the one I made after an encounter with a railway constable three years ago. Two women had very sweetly picked up my erstwhile camera phone which I had dropped on the platform one night while getting off a crowded local. They had then handed it over to the cop who would later tell me that they fought over who would perform the charity of returning the phone. Funnily enough, when I met the constable in his office, he even asked me how much the model costs while trying in vain to drop various hints to extract some money in return for safeguarding my phone for a night. I simply thanked him by saving his number. Soon however, when I went through the images on my phone, his face smiled back at me. Not only had he clicked his own picture on my phone, he had also changed the wallpaper and the theme - a freedom my new phone does not offer.
Though I dream of 'upgrading' often, getting me to sell my priceless phone is akin to asking Sachin to sell his Ferrari. Oh, wait. He just did, right?
So, any takers for my AK Hangal model? I swear I'll delete those ringtones.
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