Shopping for a phone. Finally, I am done with the damn thing. Gosh, I don’t think I have researched anything so much since I completed my M. Phil…that was a wonderful 15 years ago..M. Phil was so much easier. I just had to read books on exchange rates and deal with my guides. Bas. That’s it! Wow, and that used to stress me then…I mean, looking back at it, this M. Phil thingy was a piece of cake.
But this recent research of mine was…seriously….taxing. Firstly, I was researching the features and prices of phones (gimme exchange rates, quick, someone). And that too, after dealing with cooking for a constantly hungry family with cravings for variety, polite but firm notes from school teachers reminding me of how I am a total failure at mothering especially after the latest antics and the delicate nature of grades of my pesky geeky in school (second from the bottom he triumphantly declared yesterday with me gaping in total disbelief), a garden that was subjected to sudden pest attacks (why did you create caterpillars, God?), extremely irregular household help which uncannily knows my worst days so that they can (in cartel like behaviour that will put OPEC to shame) take sudden days off, my totally crazy students negotiating an increase in ONE mark after having written such answers on capitalism that would have caused Adam Smith to take Father’s Day off and my CA breathing down my neck and throwing some random sections of the I-T Act at me for not having done my investments on time. Help!
“I don’t need one.” That was me, 4 months ago. Indignant at the mere thought.
God bless me, how I like that firm tone and the unquavering disdain for all things smart and savvy, all phones big and small, all gadgets weird and wired, errrr…Samsung or whoever made them all…gosh, did I just create a hymn thingy out of a phone purchase? You can see how its got to me…oh, I am totally totally stressed..
Well, so to finally tell the story, everyone but me was convinced 4 months ago that I needed a new phone. My phone, they exclaimed, is on its way to become one of those hideous family heirlooms that is handed over in Hindi films by the emotional Saas to the overwhelmed bahu “Jab meri shaadi hui thi, tab mujhe yeh meri saas ne diya tha.” Being a total sucker for such emotional scenes (I have never been able to take the Nirupa Roy-stitching-clothes-to-bring-up-the-sons-scenes without whimpering; and my record of crying 538 times watching different scenes in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham stands unparalleled and unbroken in my family), I actually toyed with the idea of giving my Samsung Galaxy Y to my daughter-in-law after about 15 years. But I could just see the poor bewildered girl exclaiming “Kya yeh phone hain maaji?” Sigh.
Oh, they tried every trick on poor unsuspecting me. They used to randomly decry all phones without the selfie features, the selfish creatures. And then, animated discussion over the Hot Tea Cup (excuse me, prepared and served by me) of how the other HTC is drool-worthy.. Sudden intellectually financial outbursts of how EMIs hardly come to Rs. 3000 per month when you want to buy a phone. Hubby went even so far as to tell me that since the oil prices are moving into correction, the RBI may even increase rates in the coming 6 months and so I needed to quickly get an insanely expensive phone…on EMIs. Okay, now this, I know! Hell, if I don’t, who does? “Oil prices”, I began cleverly, “are not going into such a correction that rates will rise.” Misreading his stunned look for his ignorance about the devilishly clever moves of Dr. Rajan, I gave an animated talk and in-depth analysis on what the inflation levels could be in the next 6 months. The boys rolled their eyes at each other (they normally use that weapon when they know I am more intelligent than them) and generally made sufficiently rude noises till I stopped. “Mom, its not about inflation. The phone, mom. Which one are you buying?” Oh God. The golden question. Again.
It is apparently about the image, my lil one informed me. He was in favour of the Samsung Note, on which I could even blog because it apparently came with a pen! Now, he is terribly kicked about the blog, as I discovered very accidently. Just the other day, the kids were playing Facebook, Facebook (Yep, by now the ghar, ghar has been replaced by fb, fb). “My mom has 767 friends” said a cute 7 year old proudly. “That’s nothing. When my mom put pictures, she got 1000 likes” said another, causing the others to “twitter” in awe for the unknown but superliked mommy. I was just wondering how my lil one could possibly handle this. I mean, surely “My mom freaks when confronted with technology and needs handholding and soothing sounds while posting a status update” would have done nothing for his status. “And just the other day, she nearly had a fit because she discovered that others can write on her wall” would have been quite the epic wrong tone and would have caused instant “unfriending” (Really? Can you really use “unfriending” like a verb? Grrrrr!) Oh, I was feeling really really bad for my son when he suddenly said “My mom blogs. And her blogsite is integrated (wow, I didn’t know I had “integrated” my e-presence!) with her FB account” causing a respected hushed silence amongst all the icklekins about this tech giant, tech savvy, super mom…me? Eeeeks! Can you believe it?
Well, anyway. So the ultimatum was that it has to be a smart phone from which I can blog. Hubby on the other, wanted for me a phone with some grossly high GBs, Hzs and MPs, all of which make no sense to me. And…me? I wanted a phone with which I could…talk.
After all kinds of advice, and I must say that people around me are really very kind. Students chipped in with pros and cons of buying different models when I spoke to them. Most of them gave their handset in my hands just so that I would get a “feel” of the phone. They even kept a straight face at some of my stranger questions including “Ummm, so what happens if you drop the phone from about 6 feet?” My nephew, aghast at the social turmoil I was causing by talking to people about chucking phones from heights (because “that’s like your best friend having an accident, Bua. How can you?”) told me that I need to swap the question with something more classy like “Where is the nearest service center to get the phone repaired?”
And then, after so much of global debate on the damn thing, I decided to buy the OnePlus One, which suited my son’s image, my husband’s feature specifications and my….my…errrr…actually, any phone would have done. Its just that a majority of people told me to buy it and so, just to end the whole trauma, I decided to buy it. Little did I know that the trauma had just…begun!
The phone is only available by invitation on Amazon. Now, I was stumped totally. After 4 months I decide to buy myself a phone and now I can’t buy it ‘cos I don’t have an invite. Grrrrrr. Feeling distinctly irritated, I asked around if anyone had an invite. To be mostly met by “Oh, I just gave away two last week.” How typical! Apparently, last week the entire urban populace of this country had been on a OnePlus One buying spree. Seeing that I now really wanted to buy the phone, family now went over to the dark side. Gleefully, they all told me that I would never get an invite. I was rudely and gleefully compared to Kejri at the Obama dinner, with me in muffler and the OnePlus One in Air Force One.
Who the hell designed this unfriendly marketing strategy, I was fuming, when one of my super geek friends called in with the invite. Yaay! I opened the email with atypical eagerness to be met by the words “Dear Fanboy/ girl, Whoop Whoop!”
Excuse me? Fanboy? Whoop whoop? I mean, I want to meet the bugger who designed this bit. On seeing this, I was suddenly not feeling sure I had taken the right decision. But the super geek, who could barely keep the snickering and laughter out of his voice when I called him back in a state of panic, assured me that this is errrr… the new way to welcome people into the tech world. We had guests for dinner that night and after welcoming them the traditional Indian way with a namaskar, I had some idle and extremely creative moments to myself wondering what they would do if I suddenly belted out a “whoop, whoop, fanboy” onto them…ok, control. We go on.
Well, you see, I was really worried. Any team, which could call innocent unsuspecting non-geeky mothers “fan-girls” and greet you with a whoop whoop could be no good, was my take on the thing. So, I went to Amazon to check what it was that everyone so loved about this thing. Imagine my fright, when I was met by this:
- This product is available by invite only
- Android v4.4 KitKat operating system with 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad core processor, 578MHz Adreno-330 GPU, 3GB RAM, 64GB internal memory and single SIM, Bluetooth v4.1 A2DP
- 5.5-inch (13.97 centimeters) LTPS IPS with TOL, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 capacitive touchscreen with 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution and 401 ppi pixel density. 3100mAH lithium-polymer battery
- 13MP primary camera with dual LED flash, 6 lenses to avoid distortion and color aberration, 4K resolution video with stereo recording and 5MP front facing camera
- 1 year manufacturer warranty for device and 6 months manufacturer warranty for in-box accessories including batteries from the date of purchase.
I mean…is this a phone or a completely automated robot? Oh, you can’t imagine how freaked I was. Not even my son’s second grade history paper in which he had written “Monalisa was painted by Christopher Columbus” had caused me such terror and hysteria. And after all this, the most important things stood undisclosed. Like, ummm, what is the color of the phone?.. And is it unbreakable from a 6 feet fall…oh sorry, I mean, is there a service center in Pune?
Anyway, I went ahead and purchased it, after which the One-Plus-One boy team at home has suddenly started feeling lost. We live in anticipation of the Great Amazon Delivery. Hubby, I suspect, is feeling a bit jealous, the little one already dreaming about downloading some 1053 games onto it, and I, am just hoping I’ll be able to handle this Rajnikant-ish machine with super powers. Gosh, someone at the door. Help me, God, its my phone!