Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Less THE Better

“Koto kotha bole reeeeee”
- Catchphrase of a certain advertisement

By Jawad
Illustration: ER Ronny

It has been seven years. Seven long years since I came to the hands of this man.

The young me, wrapped up in a fancy packet straight from Hungary (at least that's what the salesperson said. I know the truth though: I originated in China) was thrust into the hands of my young man. Oh, how jubilant He was! I was His first partner in his venture to the tech-savvy world. I was the boy's first personal cell phone, or as you'd prefer to call it, his 'mobile phone'.

Days turn into months; months turn into years. I got old. My skin got wrinkled and there are many dents and scratches on my body. I fell from His hands quite a number of times: sometimes accidentally and sometimes just to prove His point. But He still carries me and I continue to give Him service. He didn't even have to change my battery. I am very happy that he still continues to reject offers from those glamorous, shiny and attractive and multi-functional sets that would make any teenager go crazy to have them. He treasures me. Yet what is this hollow feeling in the criss-crossed circuits and the darker than black semiconductors inside me?

He still doesn't spend more than 50 taka per month on me, even after six years of trusted partnership and his continuous growth of friends that also possess cell phones. Never return a missed call - that is his motto; I heard him telling someone after a heated argument on why he wouldn't call her back. If someone truly needs you, they WOULD call you. And you don't call unless you truly need THEM. The things you need to convey CANNOT be more than 10 sentences long. Be very brief and to the point. Lose the small talk - these have been his principles. I have never seen him (actually heard him) saying mushy stuff like “What are you doing? What are you eating? When did you wake up? I miss you, jaan,” etc. His replies have been curt and professional, even when the '10 second pulse' thing was in vogue. There's no shame in being economical - He'd say to the bewildered friends who spend hundreds of bucks on their cell phones and stare incredulously at him upon knowing his tight-handedness.

But he does use me to send text messages. “SMSes are very efficient. They cost less and you always express your needs and demands through a short and simple text.” A character limit of 160 is sometimes very relaxing. And there are these wonderful offers from the cell phone companies. You get free SMSes after every call, or can buy 500 at only 5 taka, or free SMSes after every recharge. 50 taka can last an eternity it seems.

He doesn't spend money on useless things. What's the use of music that the caller can hear when they call you? “Hips Don't Lie” or “Nantu Ghotok” do not and SHOULD NOT tell people a lot about you; unless you are an immigrant from Columbia or someone who has an 'aguner gola' for a husband which obviously you aren't. There are so many offers the thirsty phone companies put up, not many of those are actually worthy of spending precious bucks on.

Why would anyone talk for hours and hours? There must be a limit to one's vocabulary. Or do they say the same stuff again and again? And text messages. I am sure some of those people are going to get thumb-ositis (whatever it is) some day.

Seven years past and I still haven't got the answer to one question to other cell phones: what do your owners talk about? Seriously. WHAT? HOW?


By Musarrat Rahman

I remember the day She wrapped her perfectly manicured fingers around me like it was yesterday - we saw each other and it was love at first sight. As soon as those pretty blue nails enclosed around me, She made her very first call to her best friend. 'Japs, it's hideous and black but I'm going to get it zebra-printed' she said. She was already gabbing to her best friend about how to change me? WOMEN!

This girl doesn't waste time, soon enough I had a zebra-printed coating and I was being whisked off into my plush life in giant handbags and fluffy beds. I thought I lucked out, that I got the easy life. Nobody told me about the darn cat till I was being sat on by a giant furry behind. Blegh! But I suppose that was one sacrifice I had to make; I was in fact getting the good life (except that stupid cat) or so I thought.

Then I heard the dark rumours, the hushed voices from other cell phones when I went by. Soon enough, I was told, with sadness in their eyes, that her last cell phone jumped into the ocean to free itself of Her. This chick is crazy! They warned me, but no I didn't want to listen. I had all the faith in Her. Shows what I know! I've never been the luckiest with women; the crazy ones just flock to me. I'm a psycho magnet.

She likes to make calls, this one. She talks and talks and talks and then talks some more. It's not like what she and that Japs person has to talk about is so gosh darn important, BECAUSE IT IS NOT, let me tell you that. 'OHMYGOD, Brooke and Ridge are back together! I'M BOYCOTTING BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL!” She shrieks. Don't even get me started on the times She's watching E! News; her sharp talons clacking away on my keypad to let this Japs know about the latest developments in the life of some airhead celebrity.

Then there are the calls to other people. How is it possible for one person to know SO MANY PEOPLE? How does She keep track of their names? They're from everywhere; it's double the effort making those darn overseas calls to Malaysia so she can gab with the other best friend she refers to as 'Ducky'. Those calls just do my head in! Gab, gab, gab about things that have no significance whatsoever in a person's life.

I thought things couldn't get any worse when all of a sudden rough man hands began to abuse me (at least She has soft delicate hands). This one doesn't even type English, he goes on and on in some random leprechaun language and sends countless texts to Ireland of all places! I barely sleep these days because of how much work I have to put in for this silly girl.

Yet, does She show me any appreciation? No sirree. She walks into her room, grabs me out of her purse and flings me to kingdom come.

Doesn't even realise where it is that I have landed and whether it is a safe place for my delicate insides. It's not till someone calls her, and I start playing Barbie Girl (blegh!) that She puts some effort into hunting for me and answering her silly phone call from someone who probably wants to talk about Justin Beiber's new hair cut or something.

I fully understand why the last one took its own life; I think I'm very close to doing the same.

WOMEN, I tell you!



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