A couple of days ago, there was an offline chat from my mum. She had said she was going on a short tour over the weekend and the note ended with “my cell is not working by the way. tata”. Now, that was a bummer for me. Whether I called her or not everyday, I sort of like to know that she is reachable.
Getting through to her on my dad’s mobile today, I heard that she’d be back home tomorrow but her mobile had doubtlessly conked. “I need a new phone”, she said. I suggested she restart her existing one. “I did that n number of times.” I suggested that she remove the battery and SIM, wipe them and place them back. “I tried that too. Didn’t work.” Perhaps the problem is with your SIM, I said. “I tried my SIM on someone else’s phone and it worked. It really is a problem with the phone. I need a new phone”, she repeated with the patience that could be the characteristic only of someone who has been the major force behind her rather slow-witted daughter getting through primary education successfully.
It was after this that realization dawned on me that my mum had done more that I would have under similar circumstances – which, for the curious, would have been to shake the phone vigorously whining “Why won’t you work?” – and she was serious about this new phone business. Without heeding to my contemplative silence, she carried on, “Nothing fancy, like internet or whatever. I just want to make and receive calls. New phone, courtesy you. Hello? Can you hear me?”
I am totally with her on the aversion to these new phones which mix everything up. To us, a phone is for making and receiving calls. The maximum feature that this mum-daughter duo can handle before getting totally lost is text messaging. For browsing the net, chatting and mailing, we use a computer. Well, we do talk on the computer, but hey, that’s different. Pictures -> camera. Music -> iPod, mp3 player, two-in-one, CD player… Appointments – good old filofax. Laundry -> washer-dryer. So, why pay a bomb for a phone with all these features when you already have paid bombs for these other appliances which do all the extras?
I digress. Back to the present. “Of course, amma”, I agreed after that pause, the contemplative one. Then shamelessly lied, “I’m just wondering whether to buy you one from here or …” Alarmed, she cut right in, “Then I won’t have a phone until you come in January. All my numbers are stored in the mobile. I really need one immediately.”
Finally, the cogs of my brain started turning slowly and I ad-libbed, “I was just going to say that I’d order one online for you.” Joy prevailed. On her side of the world. “Yes! That will be great. Order it online.”, she enthused, while simultaneously clarifying to a possibly techno-phobic fellow pilgrim maami, who I realized had be eavesdropping on our conversation, “No, no. It won’t be too expensive. She will only order it from an Indian website. The phone will just be delivered to me at home. It is easy. Don’t worry. It’s reliable, of course.”
So, now, the ball is in my court. I need to find a simple mobile on a reliable website which delivers quickly. Then, I need to get my choice approved by my brother that the phone is cool enough for his mum. Then, order it and pray that the rains don’t delay the delivery. All this before the morning is up! I better get started…