Of Cellular Phones and Gogol – II
For the uninitiated, I provide a link to the concept behind Gogol: The Floating Mobile.
Knowing Gogol as briefly as I did, my surprise rose to newer hitherto unknown levels bordering on shock when I discovered that his tryst with cellular phones did not end with an instrument floating down the sparkling tropical waters.
On his return from that memorable outing, Gogol solemnly promised to his near and dear ones, as well the witnesses of the tragic demise of his first cellular phone, that he shall be buying an inexpensive instrument as a penance to his irredeemable irresponsibility. I think I just used unrealistically harsh words to describe his solemnity. The witnesses tell me that he certainly did not utter ‘irresponsibility’! But, whatever the exact nature of this promise was, he did manage to keep it for a week by not buying any phone whatsoever.
But then, disaster struck in the form of the arrival of his credit card. Disaster has this annoying habit of striking you at your weakest point. Eve teasers get kicked in their testicles, for instance. Gogol received a credit card. With the continuous chanting of his erstwhile promise never leaving his lips, he walked to the same shop from where he had bought the phone that floated downstream. This is what S*!#@, the fellow who introduced me to Gogol, heard as Gogol was leaving the apartment:
“I am going to buy the cheapest handset ever! I promise . . . I can’t afford anything more than that!” (ebaar ektaa shostaa’r handset kinbo. baajaar’er shob theke shostaar’taa)
An hour later, as Gogol’s heavy footsteps announced his return, S*!#@ was told that Gogol was holding an N95, one of the most expensive and sophisticated cell phones available in the Indian market at that point of time. He also claimed that Nokia was offering a free bluetooth device with the phone. (A claim that was later discovered to be untrue, when a bill of Rs. 3,000 for a bluetooth device was seen in the kitchen sink.)
S*!#@: What the *u*k! What on earth are you doing with an N95? (what the *u*k! etaa ki? tui N95 niye ki korchhish?)
Gogol: I really didn’t mean to buy this. I was looking at a really shabby piece and was in the process of convincing myself to go for it, when this fat rich guy came and stood right next to me and asked for an N70! (ki korbo bawl, ektaa dhop’er mobile kitey jaacchilaam, kintu thik tokkhuni ektaa mota lok eshe aamaar paashe N70 cheye boshlo.)
[N70 was the second best thing from Nokia at that point of time.]
At this point of my humble narration, I must introduce the reader to another aspect of our primary concept. Gogol had several female acquaintances, who were rather conducive to getting acquainted over the phone. It follows, as a calf follows the mother cow, that a considerable part of our protagonist’s days was spent on conversations over the phone.
Snap back to the story: for an entire month (one of those longer months too, with thirty-one odd days), Gogol’s phone functioned properly whilst remaining unsnatched, unrobbed and unfloating.
Exceptional, I must confess!
One bright morning, probably the morning of the thirty-second day, S*!#@ needed to talk to him. To his irritation, Gogol’s mobile announced itself unavailable. Gradually, over the course of that fine day, the small expanse of society affected by Gogol made the same discovery again and again. Then, with the ominous darkness of the night that followed, came the reason behind the unavailability.
The previous night, Gogol was lying down on his bed, and was talking to some presumably attractive woman over the N95. In order to keep his hands free, he had used his neck and his ear to clasp the phone in a deadly grip. Many of us do that, don’t we? He did it for, well, more than half the night. Nothing is known about the consequences to his neck, but what is well known is that sweat started trickling down his ear. What is well-known is that the sweat trickled into the phone!
And that is how perspiration born over a conversation with a woman killed Gogol’s second cellular companion.
And, just so that you know, he had never used the bluetooth contraption.