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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Gurugramwale: Mobile ‘guthi’

An elderly welder adapting to new technology through a more familiar medium

gurugram Updated: Aug 28, 2019 15:30 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
The pouch looks like an old-fashioned wallet but its owner uses it to keep his mobile.
The pouch looks like an old-fashioned wallet but its owner uses it to keep his mobile. (HT Photo )
         

It sure is not his most precious possession. It certainly is the most eye-catching.

“It’s my guthi,” says Ram Lal, taking out the pouch from his shirt pocket. It is sewed from a cotton fabric.

This afternoon, Mr Lal is sitting on a chair in his modest welding workshop watching the empty lane outside, here in Gurugram.

The pouch looks like an old-fashioned wallet but its owner uses it to keep his mobile. The phone is one of those instruments that were in vogue a decade earlier and could be used only to make calls or to send SMS-es. “I got it three years ago,” says Mr Lal, revealing it to be his first mobile phone.

He is 70.

“I never felt the need of a mobile until I sensed that my customers needed me to have one.”

Mr Lal lives with his wife in Jyoti Park. She doesn’t have a mobile phone. “It was my idea to have a pouch for the phone,” he clarifies, adding that initially his phone would slide out of his pocket each time he would bend down or sit on his haunches, which happens a lot in his kind of work. “I then went to a tailor and got a guthi stitched for me.”

Mr Lal’s pouch is smeared with grease, an everyday material of his work. “I wash the guthi once every week,” he says, adding, “Mobile is a very modern item and I’m still not used to it... the guthi makes the phone feel mine.”

He now keeps the phone carefully inside the pouch and inserts it into his breast pocket as if it’s a talisman.

The gentleman’s small workshop is bare of any decoration; the only noticeable thing is a series of digits scrawled on the wall.

That’s his mobile number.