Hari Shanker R

Hari Shanker R

A Happiness Engineer at Automattic.

The Inheritance of Loss

Quite an ‘inspiring’ post to adorn your blog with, eh? Well, there is no element of fiction in this one, so to speak. What I’m about to write is an absolutely-authentic account of what happened to me yesterday, the day before my 18th birthday. I might as well put a ‘statutory disclaimer’ right here for the ‘elite’ who prefer displaying their goodies(to be more precise, their N70s, 6680s, w700is et cetera…) They might ‘crap’ this post about this guy cringing over the loss of his puny 6030…. Oops!!! Damn!! I spoke it out… Anyways, don’t mind my previous sentence; just read on if you’re interested… 

It was a typically ordinary day at college. Had 3 periods in the morning session, followed by a 2 hour break and the unceremonious workshop. There was a ‘formal’ announcement that a few people from Kairali TV would drop in to ‘interview’ our class-reps(For God-alone-knows-why). But, even those soon-to-be-celebrities didn’t find the idea of getting themselves ‘interviewed’ remotely amusing! At the end of the day, the ‘Kairali’ people, well, almost kept their word. They slugged along idly in a decade-old ambassador, 4 and a half hours after the said time of 12!(Sitting idly in a desolate island for four hours is heaven considering the #$%^@!# these people show on TV!) The college bus had to wait till the whole damn ‘interview’ got over. We got the hang of it. Ranjith(my buddy… Need to dedicate a whole 3 page post to him), me & countless other batchmates @ GEC Barton Hill decided to walk the 2 km road downhill to PMG. It was around 5 ‘o’ clock when we finally reached PMG. Ranjith had to meet his Dad, so he bid me an ‘Advance Happy Birthday’ and left. I was left with Deepak(a Kollam-based guy in Mech). Quite soon, he too got fed up giving me company and went his way. I was alone(er… with some 45-odd people I’ve never seen before, that is). All buses to Sreekariyam were packed. So, I had no option but to wait. It was then that I made the decision I’d regret all through my life…L I decided to call my mother using my 3-day old Nokia 6030 just to inform her that I might be late!! 


.The Phone I'd owned once...                                      The 6030 was a er… birthday gift. It was actually meant for my mother. Amma actually got her old Nokia 1110 drowned!(That phone was a gift from my Uncle to me, but eventually Amma laid her hands on the booty.) One fine Sunday morning, it suffered a 3 minute ordeal in our IFB Front load washing machine, enough to render it’s display out-of-juice(Don’t ask me how it went inside…) After an hour-long ‘advising’ session by Achan on how to safeguard a mobile handset(His hard-earned MBA is showing itself off these days…), amma decided to allocate some 4000 bucks for a new handset. Being the only ‘Mobile Maniac’ in the family, the task of choosing the right handset was assigned to me. I didn’t need much time to propose the 6030. I’d recommended the same model to Pashu(Prasanth, one of my best friends, I owe him a gigantic post too!!), and he’s jumping with joy at the moment over his choice. But Achan wanted a better model, so I introduced him to the 3230. He too, it seems was quite exasperated with his year-old 6020 and was planning to get himself a new phone with Bluetooth. And pat came his deal. Achan gets the new 3230, Amma gets his 6020, and I’m left with my 2600!  I was quite okay with it. This was the first ‘purchase’ of a cellular phone among us. Having got 4 handsets as ‘gifts’ we’ed never come across the idea of actually buying a mobile phone before… 

The visit to Planet Nokia was awe-inspiring. I spent about an hour there ‘testing’ all models (including the N91). The sales rep. was about to kick us out, forcing a 3230 upon us, when Achan suddenly changed his mind. He just said “Enikku ippo 6020 mathi. Nyaan ninakku oru 6030 vaangichu tharam. Ninte phone ammakku koduthekku! Irikkatte ninakku ente vaka oru Birthday Present!” For a moment or so, I was left open-mouthed! For the first time in my life, I got a Birthday Present from my ridiculously-frugal father. Yipee!!! I nodded humbly, trying to put on a that-will-do-I-don’t-mind look, striving hard not to shout with joy.  Achan gave 4000 Rupees, to get a Nokia 6030, 1 rupee(They weren’t actually bluffing about the 3999 thing), and a box with fireworks(Deepavali offer!). Within no time Amma learnt to use my 2600, and she was quite happy with it. Stereo headset intact, I was grooving with ‘Ananthapuri FM’ in my 6030,  & logging into Y! Messenger using its XHTML browser. Finally I got a GPRS phone!! I was on top of the world!!! 

 Coming back to PMG, (It was the 3rd day in the the 6030 almanac), I gingerely took out the 6030 from my Jeans-pocket and called home to announce that I’d only reach home by 5:45 since I had to go to the library to return a few books. Then I saw this red KSRTC bus coming toward me. It was literally empty and the black-in-white board announced in shabby letters: “Sreekariyam”. I quickly ended the call, put the mobile in my shirt-pocket and hopped onto the bus. It was then that I ran into this dark man wearing a reddish check-shirt. I quickly said ‘sorry’ and jumped in. I gave a ten rupee note to the conductor, took the change and put it in my shirt-pocket. It was then that I noticed what would later ruin my birthday. There was no mobile in there!!

 This usually happens to me. I might hold the mobile in my hand and check my pocket for it… But, this time I was dead sure. It wasn’t with me. I quickly informed the conductor. A lady kindly offered me her Nokia to call my phone. But, just as I had expected, I got the reply: “The subscriber you’re calling is switched off. Please try after some time…” Someone had stolen my 6030!!

 My instinctive reaction was to break down, but I didn’t. I remained calm, and tried to think. It was then that I remembered my collision with this dark guy. It was him!! One old man had seen him collide with me too… I got out of the bus, and hitched an auto back to PMG. ( The bus hadn’t gone far, I thought I could catch up with him). I searched everywhere… but in vain. This man was a pro!! I’m done in…  

For a moment or so, my mind was blank. But I didn’t panic. I was still calm, (I think I’ve mastered the art of remaining calm, thanks to a measured daily-dose of yoga) but still desperate. The 6030 was my birthday present. It was more of a body part than a mobile phone. I could still vaguely remember that slight tug in my shirt pocket. I felt like I had lost an arm or a leg, or rather… someone had amputated it!! 

I boarded the next Pattom bus. I needed to go to Achan’s office.( located at Vydyuthi Bhavan, Pattom. My father is Deputy Chief Engineer, TRAC, KSEB).  Within two minutes, I reached reached Pattom, and the bus stopped right in front of his office. The guard let me in(He knows me, I guess… I’d come here before many ‘a’time for various reasons.). After a minute-long ordeal with the lift, I reached the nineth floor(The floor that occupied Dad’s office). Achan was busy with a bundle of files concerning some upmarket steel firm. I stormed in and announced what had happened without skipping any detail. I noticed his expression worsen as I went on with my explanation. Then, all of a sudden, he gained his cool. I still can’t figure out how I managed to say that so openly & calmly to him.(again, kudos to the Yoga lessons & my grandfather who had painstakingly taught them to me.) I thought he’d fire me, but surprise-surprise, he didn’t!!(Has the world gone topsy-turvy so fast???) 

An hour later, we were on our way to the Museum police station. I had called the BSNL Call center and the sleepy customer service executive advised us to lodge a police case, and sent the FIR. He said, then they’d think about deactivating the SIM. However Pashu told me(His mom works with BSNL, and that too in the mobile department), that all  I had to do was to get an acknowledgement from the Police station (the police-station in whose limits the incident happened), and I’d get a duplicate SIM with the same number after I pay Rs 112. The balance would also get carried over. After some 15 minutes of drive in the rain that was gaining strength exponentially, we reached the Museum Police station.

 

I’d never been to a police station before. My first image about police stations came from good-old Malayalam movies, where the SI sat behind a desk in a small room with a lock-up and all. There would be a photo of Gandhiji neatly framed on the wall,  a dark telephone & a decade-old globe resting in anonymity on the desk with millions of files strewn all over. When I actually got to see a Police station (The recently inaugurated Sreekariyam Police station, opposite to my school) my image was kinda’ shattered. Everything looked so modern; perhaps the Indian cops were at least trying to be like their foreign counterparts.

 

That day, I entered a Police station for the first time. It was a two storeyed building with some 100 or so odd-two wheelers shabbily parked all around. I didn’t take much time to realize that these were seized for traffic offenses and their owners didn’t even bother to get them back. It was guarded by two sentries. There was even a ‘reception’. We went inside and briefed the ‘receptionist’ about what had happened. The man gave us an is-that-all look and directed us to go inside and meet the SI.

 

This SI guy was a 30ish man with neatly combed hair. His name was Mohammed Iqbal or something. He seemed exasperated when we got inside, like someone had woken him up from a sound sleep. The room was the exact opposite of what I’d expected to see. There was no Gandhiji pic on the wall. I couldn’t find the globe either. However there was a brand new PC with ADL connection. Everyone’s on the high-tech way, it seems. Even the number of files on the desk(which proudly bore some four different telephones including a state-of-the-art Panasonic Caller ID phone & a brand new Sony Ericsson w810i) were bare minimum Achan politely told what happened and gave the typed-out complaint. He quickly read it and instantly remarked: “Sho… ee PMG il ninnulla moshanangal koodi varikayaanu” placed a call to my number in a jiffy. He slammed the phone when he got the switched-off message and called a plainclothed guy( I think he’s the appointed Mobile Phone theft-watcher) who politely brought us outside the room and asked us to wait outside until he gets all the paperwork cleared.

 

Waiting in a police station for even a miniscule 3 minutes could be an ordeal, and I learnt it the hard way! There were a couple of ‘undercover’ journalists sniffing around for information. I also spotted a few people in the lock-up. All were 20ish youngsters with Charles-Sobhraj kinda’ looks. Even their stares could bring up a chill in the deepest of your bones. However, thanks to the promptness of the mobile-phone-watcher, I didn’t have to spend more time in that ‘fortress’. He politely settled us off, giving us a ‘certificate’ showing that the concerned Nokia 6030 was stolen. Now we could apply for a new SIM.

I half-expected a riot to break out at home, considering the fact that  we were soaked down to the skin pursuing the travails of the 6030. Lo & Behold, I was spared again! Thankfully Achan sensed my despair on having lost a birthday present. However I had to silently attend a crash course on ‘How NOT to get your Mobile Phone stolen’ conducted by my all-knowing father! 

A visit to the BSNL office at statue the very next day solved the SIM card blues. Even BSNL, it seems, had decided to move on with the tide. Within merely an hour, we got a brand new SIM with the same talktime & the same old number, reassuring my already strong faith in ‘Bharat ke sabse bade door sanchar seva’.  All we had to spent was Rs 112/- for the new SIM. I was back with my 2600 again!

2 Weeks have passed since I last placed that call on my 6030. I’ve got adjusted with my 2600 again. I enjoy playing ‘Bounce’ and ‘Mobile Soccer’ during the hour-long lunch breaks. I’ve managed to keep control over my ‘finances’ using the Spreadsheet application. Above all, I keep composing hot new ringtones (which, as always, are always on demand!)

 

So, do I miss the 6030?

Yes. I DO  miss it. I feel like kicking my butt everytime I see the now-abandoned cover, still religiously occupying a dignified corner in my bedroom. Occasionally I read through the Owner’s manual to relive my 6030 memories. The stereo headset is never off my ears… These days, it’s always plugged to my ears when I’m home…

 

Still, Past is past…  Alright, I’ve reported the IMEI number and all, but will I get the 6030 back? The chances are outright slim. However, I haven’t lost faith. Whenever I hear the ‘Celestine’ announcement of a call in my frugal 2600, I half expect it to be the vigilance officer proudly announcing that a mobile phone thieving ring has been busted & they’ve got my phone too… And that’s the last thing I can expect, practically speaking!

So, hey you self-righteous show-off freaks out there: Alright, you’ve got a flashy new handset, But why risk the chance of getting it stolen? Stop showing off & live a happy life!!

 

2 Comments

  1. Pashu

    u sound really down. no. seriously. but rocking article. I guess this is *the* perfect description anyone can give.

    to quote a forwarded sms “In ur life u ll have many ups and downs…but just in case you feel u have fallen down, dont forget to get up and ask “aareda patti….thalli itte”

    Dont lose hope.

  2. thethunderbolt

    Hey, thanx a lot, buddy! You’ve got a valid point there…

    Alright, I’ve lost the 6030… and I’m trying to cope with the ‘tragedy’ that has stuck my life. But that doesn’t actually mean the end of it… And I learnt a huge lesson after that…

    I’ll never ever leave my 2600!!

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