Mobile Sadhu
The Chief Minister of a communist ruled state calls up the Union Communications Minister and ignites a revolution. Not a Naxalbari redux, but mobiles phones have broken through the barriers of class in its decade old Indian existence. The hawaii chappal sized handsets have shrank to become pendants hanging from the neck. The CEO’s symbol of affluence is now a necessary evil for the chowkidar.

A payment from a newspaper for my efforts in publishing a city guide funded my first mobile phone. It was to me a symbol of my self-sufficiency, an avenue for future growth and a balm for my father’s incessant worries about my well-being. But the initial ecstasy lasted as long as my first recharge (my mobile woes demand a separate post, more about them later).

Now when I can talk aloud to myself on a crowded bus and nobody gives a damn (except for the all-ears types in their never ending endeavour of trying to pick some juicy bits). A decade earlier I would have paid for the college education of a psychiatrist’s kid. With call rates as low as 75 paise (approximately 0.34 cents) a minute I might as well speak to someone.

In town, out of it, in the loo or out there in the meadows I am never alone and neither are 60 million other Indians.

22 August 2005 marked the tenth anniversary of that momentous phone call. 10 years down the calendar and I can even blog from my mobile!

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