This was written more than 10 years ago, when the Nexus One had just launched, and it was the hottest phone in the market. The piece is also dated by its reference to an app we were all quite addicted to at one time, but doesn’t exist anymore.
A few weeks ago, I was stocking up on victuals at our local green grocer’s, which goes by the grandiose name of Veerabhadra Vegetables. Veerabhadra Vegetables is by no means a mean place – on the main road from Kothaguda to Miyapur, its location opposite Shilpa Park gives it a strategic advantage that the grocer has turned into an excuse for the most alarming (to outsiders) Nawabi attitude. It is also this that endears him to all his customers, me included. Wasn’t this the guy who looked at the awesome-looking Force India t-shirt (to buy which I spent a small fortune) I was wearing and complimented me on how it looked, and in the same breath said how lucky I must be to work for a company that made such nice shirts? Apparently all the logos on the t-shirt made made it look like it was a company shirt and not something anyone would pay for.
But I digress.
It was a couple of weeks ago and my re-victualling was taking some time as for some reason there was a bit of a crowd – a couple of noisy local housewives, a gaggle of grandmothers and a loud Haryanvi youth screaming into his cellphone were before me, and I had to wait. I could not help but wonder what would happen if I reached over, took the phone from the aforementioned youth and switched it off. His relative in Haryana would have no trouble hearing him even without the phone – he was talking so loudly – but he would have been annoyed, and as he was evidently more familiar with the gym than me, I desisted. After standing around waiting idly for a grand total of about two minutes, I took out my beloved Nexus One and was about to create a listing for Veerabhadra Vegetables on Foursquare when I felt someone looking over my shoulder.
I turned around to find myself gazing into the nut-brown eyes of a swarthy local lad, stout of frame and youthful of countenance, who was trying to steal a glance at the screen of my Nexus One. I could not help but notice the puny device he held in his hand – probably a MicroMax, Lava or even an unfortunately-named Lemon. Feeling rather smug and superior, I turned a bit so that he could see tha amazing 3.7 inch display of my Nexus One, and was flicking through pictures in my Gallery looking for a really dazzling one when I heard the aforementioned swarthy local youth make some comment to me about how big it was. The following conversation, brief though it was, was in Hindi – my broken, Doordarshan-inspired, Hafeezpet-honed Hindi to the swarthy local youth’s Hyderabadi Hindi that would make anyone from outside the former Nizam’s dominions cry. Since my Hindi is broken at best, and my recall of it is patchy, I’ll present the conversation to you in English. For convenience’s sake, we’ll call the swarthy local youth SLY.
SLY: That’s a really big screen…
Me: Yeah it is. It’s a very good phone.
SLY: I’m sure it is. How much is it for?
Me: I don’t know – maybe 30,000 or 35,000 rupees?
SLY: You don’t know?
Me: No – my company gave it to me free of cost.
Me: [Grinning – still trying to figure out what awesome feature of the Nexus One to bedazzle the SLY with]
SLY: [Looking pointedly at his small phone] Does it have FM radio?
Me: [A bit taken aback] No.
SLY: [Looking more cheerful and confident] Dual SIM?
Me: [Starting to feel a bit numb] No
SLY: [On top of the world now] Oh. It’s also too big. No wonder they gave it free to you.
With that he turned around and walked off to his cart, from which he had been unloading vegetables into the shop.
What happened after that, I have no recollection of – just the mind-numbing certainty that my Nexus One, simply the most awesome piece of technology I have ever owned, had been bested in a brief conversation by the MicroMax/Lava/Lemon of the vegetable boy who supplied beerakkai to Veerabhadra Vegetables.
And no, I still haven’t created a listing for Veerabhadra Vegetables on Foursquare. But if you ever do, be sure that I will snatch Mayorship from you in a matter of days!