My father-in-law gave me a strange look. He was looking at my cellphone. As we walked along in one of the swanky malls of Dubai, Pa (as I called him) was giving me a pregnant smile. I wondered what was going on in his mind.
Suddenly, Pa stopped by a store and said, “Why don’t I buy you a new cellphone on my birthday?”
“Pa,” I said rather confused, “I can’t let you do that. I don’t need a new mobile phone. Besides,” I reasoned, “it is your birthday. We should buy YOU a present. Not the other way around.”
“But it is time you replaced this old piece of rust,” he observed.
I can understand where Pa is coming from. Let me explain. My cellphone is at least five years old. In techie terms, I carry an antique. To put things in perspective, it was bought before my nephew was born. Last February, my nephew celebrated his third birthday. So, I guess, my cellphone needs a revival.
My cellphone history has been to use ‘hand me downs’. I have always used the ones my husband decides to discard, which gives me the advantage of using many brands — Nokia, Sony Ericcson, Samsung, HTC. But, then, the last time, my husband moved on to the fancy iPhone, which comes with a lady’s voice included (it still perplexes me, that men want to buy a phone with a lady’s voice for free!) and I decided to hang on to my old one.
The discarded Blackberry did not find a fan in me. It was a tough decision alright. You see, most people who have these fancy phones are either checking their emails or Facebook status. Even I do it — but only when I switch on my eight-year-old laptop. I wanted to save myself from the addiction the Blackberry would present me with. Besides, I thought it best to enjoy face-to-face interaction, while it is still an acceptable norm. Pa would have none of it. He still insisted on getting me a new phone.
Old technology? My phone can be used to make calls, send SMSes and take pictures. What more could anyone want in a phone?
“But Pa, I don’t need one,” I pleaded. Pa looked unconvinced. He had used three cellphones in the last five years. So, surely, he was wondering which planet I come from.
Well, perhaps, it was time to tell Pa the truth. “Pa,” I began, “I don’t think I will have any use for a phone.” Pa was now eyeing me strangely.
“Firstly, my phone works fine, although I need to charge it twice a day,” I continued, “Secondly, it’s just that my phone never rings,” I finished.
“What do you mean?” asked Pa.
“No one calls me on the cellphone. The only time my phone makes any noise is in the mornings,” I finished rather sheepishly. “You mean an alarm?” he asked, and gave out a huge laugh. Well, it was embarrassing alright. I smiled weakly and wondered if I am the only person on the planet to say something as weird as that.
“You probably need a good alarm clock,” said Pa, roaring with laughter. “More importantly, you need to get off Facebook and make some phone calls,” he roared again. Perhaps, he is right. I think, it is time to buy the latest iPhone. At least, I will have the latest alarm clock by the bedside!