Sad but true (except for a little creative licence. Just a little 🙂 )
May 10th 2007:
Shortly after being approached by Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) to buy its proposed 100 $ laptops, the Indian government announced that it would make its own laptops for as cheap as 10 $. Technology experts were baffled, but watchers of the Indian IT and BPO scene, believed the official attitude merely reflected that of the industry- we are Indian, we can do it cheaper. Officials however declared that it would not be possible to reveal details of the project immediately, as it would take thousands of man hours worth of meetings, lakhs in taxpayers money and miles of red tape before the details could be approved. However, they did reveal that the project, called the Cheap Indian Laptop Projects (CILP) would be entrusted to an unnamed engineering student of the Vellore institute of technology. While this puzzled all present, at VIT, students rushed in droves to inform the faculty that on account of having to work for the government, they would not be able to attend classes very often.
Feb 2nd 2009:
After a long and eager wait for the three journalists, seven technology experts, no VIT students and eight hundred and seventy government officials who were aware of the project, the day on which details of the CILP would be announced- Feb 3rd, is announced.
Feb 3rd 2009
Officials informed the press that the laptop had been christened ‘Sakshat’ and would now cost 20 $. When asked for the reason for this dramatic two fold increase in price, puzzled officials who had only the above two details on hand, and had not expected questions, tried to put it down to inflation. When the journalists pressed for specifics of features like memory, graphics capability, processor, battery life,etc, the officials decided that the questions should be phrased so a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ would suffice as answer. From this, features such as Wi-fi capability, 2Gb of storage, etc were attributed to the laptop. And in response to demands for pictures of the laptops, the officials provided the following tentative image:
Feb 4th 2009
Officials finally revealed the prototype of the Cheap Indian Laptop. Those present were stunned to see the device which resembled a miniature version of a CIA torture chamber.
It was revealed to be a 10″ by 5″ hand held storage device and the cost was now pegged at 30 $. When irate jornalists pointed out that a sleeker version of the device, called a USB was already in existence, the minister present replied “It is still Cheap and Indian, even if it is no longer a laptop”.
None of the VIT students who’d claimed to be a part of the project were available for comment.