The sun was slipping away in the horizon as the twilight sky draped itself in crimson shades; everything looked magical around me. A gush of air blew across my face. ‘Is this happiness, those fleeting moments we chase all our lives?’ I closed my eyes to seize the moment.
“You are standing in front of my shop for quite sometime, would you like to buy something?” my surreal trance was interrupted by a voice.
I turned back to zero in on the larynx processing it. A middle-aged person selling homemade Viagra on the footpath.
“No, I…I am just…I mean…NO.” I shook my head vehemently.
“Let me explain the benefits…” he offered to impart the product knowledge.
Few passers-by looked at me curiously. My conversation with that gentleman could easily have been misconstrued as a negotiation process. I ambled across the road for an uninterrupted dose of happiness.
‘Twinkle, twinkle little star’ wafted in the air, ‘Ah, background music! Perfect.’ Atmosphere was equally pleasant on the other side as well with friendly, cheerful people spreading happiness all around me. Warmth poured in from all corners as everyone greeted me with a smile on their way to…wherever they were heading. ‘Who said there is no humanity left in this world?’ I smiled back courteously, ‘but why is this background score getting louder with time?’
“You can put it on silent mode if you are not answering the call.” a cheerful bloke initiated a discussion.
‘Goodness gracious me!’ I fumbled inside my pocket.
‘Twinkle, twinkle little star’ reached its crescendo. With moist eyes and trembling hands, I whipped out the device from my pocket (my ringtone went off after a prolonged hiatus; it was an emotional moment for me and, I am sure, for the service provider as well [I hope you understand]). A brief juggle (witnessed by few blurred faces) followed by a resounding thud on the road, and an equally powerful one in my heart.
When Newton went gaga over that gravitation thing, didn’t he realize that there could be articles more expensive than an apple which need to be protected against this wicked gravitational pull? Or instead of an apple, it could be a gas cylinder falling on someone’s head (not necessarily from a tree) leaving that person in a state not conducive to carry out a root cause analysis. Wasn’t it his responsibility to address the core issue and write few lines stating, ‘5 ways to counter gravitation pull’ rather than creating a hoopla about something which has been there since time immemorial? I, hereby, pronounce his work incomplete, inconclusive, and waste of paper and an apple. And yeah, he owes me a mobile phone.
My ringtone was still floating in the air along with other scattered particles that once were integral parts of my mobile phone.
I amassed everything that appeared familiar (battery from the jaws of a cow) and stormed into the nearest mobile shop. “Can anything be done about this?” I implored. Commiserative expression on the faces of everyone present in the shop created an aura quite reminiscent of the scene from old Hindi movies where the doctor comes out of the operation theatre, stands like a war prisoner (surrounded by the family members of the subject inside), and mutters, “I am sorry.” Bismillah Khan plays a grave tune in the background and Nirupa Roy takes over. In some cases, subject’s loved ones sneak out of the hospital and go straight to the temple where they perform a beautifully choreographed devotional number in front of the deity filled with palpable emotion, Jhankaar beats, and subtle pelvic thrusts. Deity understands her mistake and subject comes back to life. Who would have done that for my mobile phone?
“Give me a new one then,” I emptied the contents of my pocket on their table, “That’s all I have,” I declared while taking back the ‘Center Fresh Chewing Gum’ leaving only money for transaction. They looked at the crumpled notes and then at each other before heaving a sigh of despondency…I awaited a verdict. But all was not lost yet, a smile descended on the face of the shop owner heralding a glimmer of hope. He beckoned to one of his associates and sent him to an adjacent room with a secret, inaudible instruction. I eavesdropped but couldn’t discern the briefing. My gaze followed him as I peeped inside the room and spotted one bucket, a broom, a mopping cloth, remnant of a television set, and a garbage bin; no trace of a mobile phone yet. However, after a brief delay, he came out holding a colorless, amorphous, intimidating object bereft of any cover.
“No, no, you have grossly misunderstood me, what I am looking for is a mobile phone,” bewildered, anguished, I sought justice.
However, going by their argument, that object (which they already proved was a mobile phone. As a matter of fact, they went out of the way and translated few Chinese inscriptions from a piece of paper which confirmed its identity) epitomized quality and performed exceptionally well under the surveillance of its previous owner, who incidentally was present at the location when the deal was taking place and validated all the claims with incessant nods. But to my chagrin, he left the shop citing urgent work when that orphaned contraption was switched on and never returned back. I have a sneaking suspicion that he was present in the nearby tea shop closely monitoring my activities with hawk eyes.
Anyway, a work of art from Mainland China invaded my otherwise nationalistic approach. Built on a technology prevalent during World War II, it ably transmits radio waves from the source but it doesn’t have an inbuilt feature to receive any signal hindering a two-way communication. Clearly, the objective behind this invention was to serve bigger purposes than trivial, rudimentary chitchats. It could have been a powerful device to mobilize troops fighting in wars or alert local inhabitants about imminent natural calamities. Unfortunately, it lost its true significance due to reckless commercialization.
I cannot be inconsiderate and call it a defunct device because most of the functions, which I need on a day-to-day basis, are of highest standards, e.g. torch, calculator, calendar, etc. And with decibel level threatening to breech ultrasonic barrier, I do manage to convey my messages as well.