The sun wasn’t out yet. 5.30 is still dark in winters.
When I walked into the station, I noticed many people slept outside Platform No.1, shapes of bodies visible on the bed sheets covering the bodies from the cold. The few who were awake were on the platforms. I ran to Platform No. 3 and boarded the Prashanti Express – S-11.
This train has been an important part of my childhood memories – every year, we would take this train to our school and back for the vacations. I have always loved trains, stations – and the multitude of experiences that a single journey opens you up to.
And so as with any train journey when you have settled and the train has begun to chug off from the station, I had a slight, warm feeling in my heart.
I took out my phone and began to scroll through my news feed. I found a Greatbong article on the RaNab interview, and smiled. I clicked on it, and it opened up, in typical 1.5G speed, and I double tapped on it and the letters got bigger, and I began to read –
A dark hand flashes in front of me. My phone is snatched out of my hand. A guy jumps out of the door behind me. The light from my phone shining in his hands.
And just like that my phone was snatched away from me.
It has been more than a week since my phone went missing.
Sometimes, I still recall that moment – that split second when the phone vanished from my hands, cruelly snatched away in a manner that Amrish Puri would snatch little children from their mothers in the 90’s.
Of course, like any other phone user, I felt anger and sorrow.
But you see, I wasn’t any other phone user.
I had spent a year without a phone, and then used a Nokia for a few months, and then got into a job and bought a phone. It was a terrible phone – HTC Explorer – but I chose to look beyond its Chacha Chaudhry-esque abilities and at the larger picture of the wonderful benefits of technology. I sold that phone to get another one – LG Optimus. This phone dropped from my hand in the toilet of a bar and simply refused to work. The highly efficient folks at LG Customer Care ensured I couldn’t ever use it again. I then got myself a Galaxy Grand.
Considering I hung out with people who had the ascetic opinions on technology as me, I played the turncloack with a vengeance. I showed them all the wonderful things they could do, and I did push it a little bit.
Like when they asked me about a particular place, I would open up Maps and tell them how far it is, how they could reach it (By bus, by cab, or by walk), and how much time it would take them in each of those methods.
I wasn’t the usual mail checking, Facebook poking, smartphone user. I wrote on my phone. Every blog, every story, almost everything I had written in the last one year was written on my phone. I read on my phone. Not just news and magazines, but entire books. I must have read at least 70 books on Aldiko in the last one year.
I used my phone to go to sleep at night, and to wake up in the mornings. I used it to make posters, to record stories that I narrated out. I used it to do push ups, used the Anti-mosquito for late night escapedes, was learning Spanish from Duolingo, music instruments, calligraphy, saving stuff on Evernote, to manage my daily expenses – and all this on a daily basis.
If Steve Jobs was looking down at me from the heavens, he would smile. Yes, I was on Android, but when you’re in heaven, these trivialities don’t matter much.
I have gone back to my older Nokia phone. I love how Nokia makes these phones that you can use when your smartphone gets stolen.
I have introspected about my feelings towards my phone.
I have realised that smart phones aren’t really smart. If it was, it would find a way to come back to me. Smart for me will always be someone who’s quick on their feet, someone who can think off the hook, get by in tough situations.
Our smartphones are more like wizened university professors. They can give you a vast ocean of information, but they can’t find their way back home by the bus.
Smart phones are doing a lot of things right, but one still gets the feeling that a lot more could be done. Hasn’t it struck you sometimes? That nobody has thought of this shit. Like, 5 touch capacitative touch feature (shall refrain from making Draupadi joke here…oh damn!) 5 touch capacitative is fine, but what happens when it rains?
Also, how does one carry a phone that is so big, in one’s pocket. May be jeans companies need to come up with large cool pockets for phones. Also, has anybody thought about how they can keep phones safe?
We are the fastest growing mobile market in the world, and we also have a well established chain snatcher market. Why doesn’t someone invent a device that keeps your phone safe?
I have moved on. Sometimes when I’m bored, I look around and stretch my hand out towards my phantom phone. And those dark fingers flash in front of me again and I look at my Nokia phone with a depressed expression on my face.
As for the thief, I don’t know.
I hope one of these nights, when he’s in bed with his wife, and the phone is on charge, he receives a call. He answers the call, and the phone explodes, and the house catches fire.
The thief tries to put out the fire, but it keeps spreading. Very soon, the entire chawl is ablaze in the flames. People are running helter skelter, pouring buckets of water, trying to douse the fire, to no avail. And then, the entire place is burnt to ashes.
Yes. That would be give me satisfaction.