Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Lost Contact

During one of my study breaks today, I got down to managing my mobile phone's phone book. I knew it stored a substantial number of 'contacts' who are never in contact. Nowadays, exchanging mobile numbers after being introduced to someone is almost like a customary "Nice meeting you". So I got down to deleting some of these 'not-so-contacted' contacts.

Suddenly I scrolled to a name & I felt uneasy. It was the contact number of the brother of my very good friend. Her brother had died in a motorcycle accident early this February. I hadn't met him personally, although I happened to speak with him a couple of times over the phone. Later, I had also taken his mobile number from my friend so that I could keep in touch with him. I don't remember I called him on his mobile phone more than once after that.

And today, my finger hesitated for a second before pressing the delete option in front of his name!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Horn not-OK Please

No, I am not stirring up a No-Honk Day in the least. Thats not on my mind as of now. My mind is thinking about some new-found fundamentals about honking! Actually they may appear quite banal to you if you are from Bom..(oops!) - Mumbai ( am not in a mood for political fencing. I might give it a thought some time later).

Yup, so back to where it started. Not very long ago, when we were children, we were taught & we observed that honking was meant to alert other drivers on the street or the pedestrians apart from 'other' applications like honking to call someone from their homes. A couple of honks here and there meant casual calling - take your own time. A continuous stream of audio signals from the steering wheel meant a real urgent call, without any luxury of extra time. We grew up with these horns, until we got fed up with them and resorted to a loud, silent cursing on those audio-maniac people at the wheel. Little did we imagine that the show was just getting started!!!

Change has been a constant for everyone & has always been the 'in' thing & no wonder "horns" was one huge domain left to be explored. The fundamentals, the basics of honking soon were to be changed. And while I thank God that a majority are still sane about their "high decibel sound equipment", many of the mavericks have their own say (read 'shout').

HORN TYPE: Scaring the Shit!!!
DESCRIPTION: This type of horn, is not meant to alert or signal, but is meant to scare you in such a way as to give your steadfast heart a little run for its own beats.
CHARACTERISTICS: Short, terse & never fails to scare!

DESCRIPTION: Here's the one which will give you maximum returns on your ears' hearing investment. All you Metallica, Iron Maiden lovers - this one's a 'treat' right from the amplifier. And for all the budding rockers, rappers and DJs.... ride that sound wave!!
CHARACTERISTICS: Upbeat rhythm, high decibel music stream.

HORN TYPE: Ring tone freaks
DESCRIPTION: Specially introduced for those who are so attached to their mobile phone's ring tones, that its now music to their ears. They just want it all the time, even on the road. These horns specially are a hit with the bikers. For them in a list of biking 'must haves', these horns are on #1 spot. And these horns change faster than fashion.
CHARACTERISTICS: Could be confused with a reverse horn.

HORN TYPE: The Classics
DESCRIPTION: These are the ones which are labelled 'conventional'. They are staunch followers of the purpose for which they are meant to exist. Yes, noise levels are still a downside with these, but they still tread along their ancestral lineage.
CHARACTERISTICS: Predicted to be on the 'endangered' list in the coming decade. The prestigious 'Horn OK Please' title has been conferred on them by GAFT-India (Graffiti Artists For Trucks).

P.S.: Do let me know you own horn types with their description and characteristics. Lets 'hear' it for the horns!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

On a Suicidal Note...

The scrolling news bars on the news channels nowadays make interesting news. These news scrolls are terse & in most cases - out of context. A couple of days before, my eyes caught such a 'news on the move' on one of the regional channels. It said - Mobile phones for farmers would be made cheaper. Going by the face value, it turns out to be good news. Unwrap the words a little & it spells out a portent.

Farmers in Maharashtra (also read Vidarbha) are already crippling under the heavy financial debt. The 2008 budget promised to turn a new page on the farmers' plight by its announcements of loan waiver. And like all good consumer goodies, this too came with a 'conditions apply' tag tied to its tail. Land reforms which haven't taken place for quite some years now pose a major problem for the much-debated waiver. And for those farmers for whom the package was designed... I doubt (doubt is still an optimistic-sounding word) how much of the total waiver benefited them! The suicide numbers of farmers do not depend on the number of media coverages & there has been no substantial reduction on the suicide front.

So, coming back to this piece of news. Mobile phones cheaper for farmers. Wow! Get a nice handset at lower price, show them lucrative offers like a wolf wrapped in a sheep's cover. Hide the 'conditions apply' tag; after all the farmers can't figure it out themselves! Then, a new phenomena will hit the TV screens in a few months - farmers committing more suicides due to mobile phone bills than financial debt!

Mr. Chidambaram, did I hear you say a bill waiver?