This is not a technology blog. And while I take full pride like most men do in talking about the latest gadgets, I have never had the inclination to actually put down a perspective on the newest gizmo in the market. But then this isn’t a movie blog either and still I have written a few reviews (of sort) here and here. An understanding of my psyche tells me that anything that doesn’t fit in the normal scheme of things instigates me to write. This time around, it was my friend/colleague and her inexplicable affinity towards a recently launched mobile phone.
Parvati (name changed to conceal identity) is nothing like the normal people around us. While you and I would look at the make and technical specs before buying a car, Parvati would make her choice really simple by choosing a car purely for its color. About 2 months ago she almost bought a phased out model of a dying car brand because they happened to be the only ones with a purple color. It was only after much coaxing and some serious hypnotism that she agreed to buy a Honda City. So the other day when she suddenly took a decision to buy a phone from the stable of a dead international brand , all of us at work knew that the purchase was inevitable and it might just be a good idea to have some fun.
The problem was that we couldn’t locate a store that was selling the phone. With unwavering determination and thorough focus Parvati searched for the product through the day while efficiently managing work and fighting bouts of attention deficit disorder. Finally sometime towards the evening, she managed to locate the number of a retailer who claimed to have the phone. I called up the number to confirm the availability and was greeted by an extremely excited man from the other end of the line. I am sure he would have gotten through the phone and hugged me if that were possible. He confirmed that he had the “pink” phone that my dear friend was looking for and made me promise that we would actually turn up to buy the phone the same evening.
We wound up our work and headed off for the big buy. By the time we covered 3 quarters of the distance we realized that it was 8 pm and just to ensure that the store remained open, I called up the guy again. Our marketing professor back in college had taught us that the customer is the king. I guess our Mr. Retailer truly believed in this. Realising that we might take another 30 mins to reach the store, he asked us to visit another one of his offices instead while he would send a “runner boy” from the store to deliver the phone. Since this office was close to our location we found it convenient. Mr. Retailer also assured us that his dad would “take care” of us while we waited for the phone to arrive.
As we drove slowly into the street to locate the office, all of a sudden a man jumped in front of the car frantically saying something. Our first reaction was to roll up the windows and lock the doors but a closer look at the guy revealed that he was trying to communicate something meaningful. We rolled down the window to hear him – “ICE CUBE? Are you here for the Ice cube?”. Hell, we were! The weird pink phone was called Ice cube. But I had never imagined that our arrival was so eagerly awaited that random people would be deployed to ensure that we found our way!
We parked the car and followed the strange random guy into the building. It looked completely deserted and rather spooky. That the elevator was manufactured by some company called Schindler didn’t help our confidence. We were in the Schindler’s lift.
Exiting the elevator we walked across a big hallway which ended into a big room. A big sardar ji sat across the table waiting for us. The size of the room and Mr. Sardar ji placed magnanimously in the centre across a huge table reminded us of the famous villain - Shakaal from the movie -Shaan. Shakaal Singh greeted us and introduced himself as the owner of the company. To make a point, he also handed out 2 visiting cards – both different - of two different organizations he owned.
The next 15 minutes were spent hearing Shakaal explain to us how his company along with their partner MNC would revolutionize the mobile handset market in India. Just as we were getting too restless to wait any more, the “runner boy” entered the room. A man in his forties, RB (Runner Boy) was quite unlike what we had perceived him to be. He walked in waving to everyone. At one point in time I even contemplated getting up and giving him a high five. RB held out the phone and Parvati grabbed it. The excitement was palpable and RB waited for a while before he realized that his job was done. He asked us to “carry on” and left. While Shakaal Singh kept going on explaining the features of the phone, I was wondering if I’d ever come across a runner boy with an attitude like RB’s.
Finally, we made the payment and got up to leave. Parvati kept the phone close to her like a really prized possession and was trying to tell us how it was much better and way cooler than anything else in the market. As we walked out of the room our jaws dropped at the sight of the runner boy wearing big headphones and playing a keyboard – probably recording a composition – in the adjacent room which looked like a fully functional studio! He waved to all of us and we cheered him.
Down the Schlinder’s lift, I was wondering if I would be able to capture this unique phone buying experience. Some things are better experienced than read. Nevertheless, I had to make an effort.
As for the phone, Parvati has been showing it around the office ever since she has purchased it. Her selling point is the camera of the phone which can magically transform mortal human beings into super star fictional characters. My picture taken from the camera is sure to be a favourite with the kids.