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BlackBerry Death

This is being written on a laptop on Wednesday, October 12. I’ve been told by a reliable source that it is late night, but frankly there is no way I can confirm this. Indrajit Hazra writes.

columns Updated: Oct 16, 2011 00:39 IST

My dear munchkins,

This is being written on a laptop on Wednesday, October 12. I’ve been told by a reliable source that it is late night, but frankly there is no way I can confirm this. I have had to rely on calling up and receiving calls from people to keep communication lines up. And I’m not only talking about pizza delivery orders and calls from the phone company regarding my languishing payments. I’m talking about talking with real people for essential communication that includes pointless banter, social chitter-chatter as well as conversations pertaining to work. Yes. Over the phone.

When the thought of speaking becomes unbearable, I have resorted to text messaging. But does it help me to know that some douchebag phone company — the same folks who call me to remind me that my mobile bill for September is still pending — is making money for every text message I send out? After three days of my BlackBerry working simply as a phone and text messaging device, I might as well have stuck to being ludicrously social. After years of accessing the int-ernet on BlackBerry — having found it very useful twice in a sperm collection centre where, for cultural reasons, no magazine apart from Reader’s Digest was provided — I have no back-up in the form of a desktop or laptop with internet or WiFi connectivity. Do you keep canned food in the house just in case the bubonic plague breaks out again? My point exactly.

The pain of engaging with people has become hard to digest. Which is why the dire option of finding portable relief in the newspaper — which, alas, allows me to air my views only once a week as opposed to the 30 seconds-by-30 seconds airing available on Facebook et al. (I thank the lord that I never signed on to Twitter.) Also, the signs of life when someone is responding to your BlackBerry Messenger message — a line that says ‘so-and-so is typing a message’ before the message actually appears — is not there when you are awaiting a text message reply. You don’t know how many times the last three days I’ve had no idea whether the person on the other end is alive or dead. The newspapers say that BlackBerry services are down because of a ‘core switch failure’. That sounds like a cover-up explanation to me. I think the Chinese are behind this.

The Men in BlackBerry at Research in Motion (RIM), the company that makes the device, are clearly cutting their losses. One of their executives in Bratislava was spotted distributing Nokia handsets to members of his family. Mike Lazaridis, the founder and president of the Canada-based RIM, has apparently uploaded a video message to apologise to the millions of BlackBerry users in Europe, West Asia, Africa, the US, Canada, Latin America and India. But with my BlackBerry not working and my laptop not having internet access, I haven’t seen the video. For all I know, it could be a footage recorded earlier from Abbottabad by a Lazaridis-lookalike. (Do you really know what Lazaridis looks like? Does he really exist? Do Greek-Canadian billionaires exist?)

I’ve been told, by the same person who now tells me that daylight is breaking, that RIM doesn’t have any regional servers for its BlackBerry services; they have a centralised network. Well, it’s too late to correct that now. There is also growing talk of mobile companies demanding compensation from RIM. My reliable source has just told me over a text message that Spanish phone company Telefonica is paying customers for each 24 hours of the blackout. My phone company is Airtel and I have received neither a call nor an email from them — although it is true that I won’t be able to check my email until I step out of the house and look for a computer with an internet connection.

That is, if I am able to step out. Muscle atrophy has already set in with anti-carpal tunnel syndrome — the effects of withdrawal for those with carpal tunnel syndrome — resulting in shooting pains to the sound track of Amy Winehouse songs. My wife, who thought that the BlackBerry blackout would bring us closer together, has left me after seeing me cut off my two thumbs. (She’s an iPhone user.)

I sense the sky getting brighter. I’m writing this in the hope that someone will transfer this file and have it printed. But let’s face it. It’s over. I’ve just gone out of the blue, into the Black.

First Published: Oct 16, 2011 00:29 IST