Hello 98210262612 BPL? cha!
Arre 98200262635 maxtouch? cha!
Yaar jis ladki ko patane ka
Wohi phone pe nahi aati kya
What is mobile number, What is your smile number
Karni hain private baatein, What is your private number
Kaha se tu aati hain darling kaha ko tu jaati hain
Aake jaake aaise kyo dil ko tapdati hain
What is your style number, Karu kya dial number
Hoga phir aana jaana, Dede koi easy number
Kaha se tu aata hain darling kaha ko tu jaata hain
Aake jaake aaise kyo dil ko tapdata hain
For the unaware, this song was a rage back in the days. Well so was David Dhawan and his team of tomfoolery. The reason for this popularity was that it coincided with the release of mobile phones in India and was touted as an accessory of the elite. As an indicator of the wealth of a character, a mobile phone was a must as they would hold those bulky hideous devices and strike a a pose. Now this reference is quite important to the context of this post as we look at how times have changed. Earlier a device that complimented the luxury of being rich something characteristic to the Seth Dhanirams of yore is now an absolute necessity of push-cart fruit seller. He calls up the driver of his stock to inquire why the bags of fruit haven’t reached the wholesale market. Elsewhere Sakhubai receives an SMS from her memsaab who is expecting guests and wants sakhubai to be available for the whole day. Mrs.Bannerjee calls her gardener on his Nokia 1100 reminding him to get some lilly bulbs from the nursery for her garden. With some network operators these days bringing down airtime charges to less than a rupee, a few are even going a step further and pay you for receiving calls. The mobile phone is no longer a luxury but a necessity with devices flooding the grey market and kids getting phones even before they get an email address. Gone are the times when you had to pay for incoming and boast of the snake game in your phone. It’s now all about using your phone for email, facebook, cricket scores, music and bluetooth file sharing.
Kamakshi is at CCD updating her facebook status from her MotoRokr and confirming attendance to an event so that her friends can join her at the cafe. Anjali is stuck in traffic and ispublicizing her angst on the road sense by tweeting from her N95. Sheetal is bored waiting for her boy at the multiplex and is checking her mails while trying to kill time on her Bird phone she got from Singapore. Alisha is bored waiting for her bus at the depot and forgot to sync new songs to her phone, she tunes in to 98.3FM to listen to her favorite RJ belt out the latest chart busters. Amitesh is battling sleep in a meeting with an endless barrage of powerpoint presentations when it suddenly strikes him that there is a match going on in England, out comes his blackberry as he fires up cricinfo. Sirisha just bought a new bluetooth dongle and earpiece for her phone, she now syncs her ear piece while on the go and also hooks her phone to the car audio while driving. Preethi is excited and can’t wait for the new semester to begin, her dad got her a smuggled jailbroken iphone from the grey market which she can flaunt in front of the whole college!
There is something that connects all the above mentioned characters irrespective of gargantuan levels in class and social status and that is the freedom to go mobile. With India standing head and shoulders above the other major countries when it comes to the number of mobile subscribers, our huge population with a heavy middle class pushes the numbers way beyond the competition. Freedom means many things to different people, some love to smoke and leave cigarette butts under a sign that says ‘No smoking’. Despite the ability to hold the bladder we love ourfreedom of spraying on the walls. The pleasure of spraying on walls/trees and acting like one suffering from renal disorders is probably unparalleled which the west will never understand. Despite having trash cans in public places like parks n cinema halls dressed like circus animals with an inviting ‘use-me’ emblazoned on them, we love our freedom to hurl trash on the roads. Of course can’t take away paan/gutkha chewing responsible citizens who ensure to spit only in public urinals and paint them red. Ha! who in the west has ever heard of gutkha and zarda paan! Aren’t zebra crossings meant for school kids nuns? We love to cross the road anytime anywhere with aa simple ‘look left and lok right’. We do use the zebra crossing but only to help an old lady across the road while the girl we are trying to impress is coyly watching. Red lights and no-entry signs are just meant for learning boards in driving schools, as the popular saying goes we’d even fit an armoured tank in a cycle gap! These are somethings we love our freedom for and sigh upon the so-called developed countries for missing out on them.
PS: Title inspired by a Pepsi jingle to commemorate 50yrs of independence called ‘Freedom to be, Azadi dil ki‘.
PPS: Here is the song that has the above verse with Govinda in sublime form.