As a matter of principle, I read only page 3 and the sports pages of the paper (oh, alright, I read the comics as well). But I usually stay clear of the middle pages. They give off something that warns me away. Like a watchman at that centuries old coffee shop wordlessly shooing away the unsuspecting youngsters in shorts who stepped too close.
And yet, I remember one occassion when I let my guard down and found myself reading the science and technology section. After chuckling at the articles about farming techniques, I found one about the mobile phone industry going agog over a 1000 bucks handset. At that time, I didnt think much of it, but now having lost my mobile, the article sprung to mind.
After a couple of days of idly wondering whether the thief would have a change of heart and send my mobile back, I resigned myself to my fate and decided to buy another handset. With my bank account continuing to show ridiculously low figures, the strategy was clear- go into the mobile showroom, drool over the touch screen phones, buy the 1000 bucks phone and get out.
Of course, it was never going to be that easy. I found myself at the showroom, feeling too awkward to ask for the cheapest phone thay had, so I pretended to look around but kept searching for that model. Finally, unable to locate it, I went up to the attendant (Subramaniam) and asked in a low voice if they had the 1000 bucks phone. I didnt quite hear what he said, but I didnt have to. I could have sworn he had a smile on his face when I started speaking, but before my inquiry was fully out of my mouth, that had rapidly changed. It was a cold and indifferent Subramaniam that pointed me in the direction of the cheap phones. Unfortunately, I had already staked that section out, so I told him I couldnt find it there. For a second I thought Subramaniam would throw me out, but then with great reluctance he made his way towards the section, and pointed out a couple of models priced at 2000 bucks (careful not to touch them). When I asked him again about the 1000 Rs price tag, he turned towards me, and pronounced coldly, “We do not stock such phones”. I am pretty sure he would have liked to let loose a string of curses at that point, but with a tremendous effort, kept a stiff upper lip.
Unprepared for such intensity at a mobile store, I quickly grabbed the handset he had indicated and made a dash for the counter. It was only after I got out and Bangalore’s cool night air eased me up that I could think straight. There WAS NO 1000 bucks phone. I felt betrayed. What was the point in celebrating the creation of a phone if you were not going to launch it for ages? I wonder if its the technology section that cant be trusted. Surely, you cannot put columns on farming and mobile phones so close to each other and expect both to be accurate? I remember someone mentioning something about the automobile industry going agog about a 1 lakh car some company developed. Must remember to ask him if he read it in the technology section.