Downwardly mobile

  • Vikramdeep Johal, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Feb 08, 2015 13:24 IST

It’s time to congratulate us. We have completed four years of intimate togetherness and peaceful co-existence. In office or at home, in bed or the washroom, we have been constant companions. The harder I press, the louder my partner moans. I know your polluted minds are already at work, so let me clarify that this one’s about me and my cell phone.

Back in 2011, when Manmohan Singh was in power (if you can believe that), I bought this Blackberry lookalike for a princely sum of Rs 1,612. Thanks to it, I’ve been the butt of nasty jokes from friends and family. Sample these: “Did you buy it from a Harappan store?”, “Your mobile cover must be costlier”, “Now here’s a theft-proof phone — absolutely no one’s going to steal it.”

It has an old-fashioned keypad instead of a hypersensitive touch screen, and there’s an antique camera which turns selfies into self-portraits that Amrita Sher-Gil would’ve been proud of. SMS facility is surely available, but in the case of long messages, I receive either the first part or the second. And guessing the missing portion is such fun that it keeps my creative juices flowing.

I’m all praise for its erratic sound, which makes life so unpredictable. Sometimes, I can’t make out whether it’s a man or a woman at the other end. The other day, I kept doing “yessir, yessir” to my boss, without being able to hear much of what he was so wisely saying. Above all, my dear wife keeps cribbing that I don’t carry out even half of her orders, issued by her mighty-&-haughty iPhone.

Who says the cell is the great leveller? A decade and a half after exploding on the scene as a landmine for the landline, it has become a bigger status symbol than ever before. However, the invasion of swanky smartphones has made me value my prehistoric piece even more. Using it is like driving a vintage car in an SUV rally, or chanting “Har har Advani, ghar ghar Advani” at a Modi rally.

I know very well that handset fixation can be a risky affair. Hours before our marriage, my wife-to-be’s beloved mobile went missing. She threatened not to tie the knot in case it wasn’t found. Her panic-stricken family offered to buy a brand-new one, but she didn’t budge an inch.Eventually, the little devil was spotted snoozing under a pillow, clearing the decks for the big, fat Punjabi wedding. However, her phone evoked such red-hot jealousy in me that I came close to drowning it in Mussoorie’s Kempty Falls on our honeymoon. What’s more, I never forgave it for being found in the nick of time, thus robbing me of the golden chance to live happily single ever after.

My reasons for sticking to my much-maligned mobile are not just personal. There’s a national cause involved as well. I had bought it during the 2011 World Cup, which India went on to win with a bang. It’s my gut feeling that if I retain my Q1+, Dhoni’s men can do it again, despite the Himalayan odds. Politically motivated or not, it’s a fact that India have always bagged cricket’s biggest trophies during Congress rule. Come on, Men in Blue, show some saffron spirit now and do it for the Bee-Jay-Pee. Let my humble phone, which is on its last legs, have the last laugh.

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