Sunday, September 12, 2010

An Unequal Fight

I think the fella up there sometimes just sits around, waiting for people to make silly proclamations, and then proceeds to systematically prove them wrong, one small step at a time. As much as he'd be having his hands full with all the zillion important things he has to take care of, I am beginning to feel rather convinced that this is one thing he rarely misses out on.

A regular income, or even the promise of one, is a funny thing. Not a week had passed since I'd started out in my new job after the yem-bee-yaaay, and I was tempted to buy a new phone, a nice, shiny blackberry. Not that I needed one, mind you, but then since when did that become relevant? After trawling through a few dozen sites and gawking at models which promised that I'd be able to read that life-changing mail the minute before the sender sent it, a wave of shock and nausea went through me. Why, on earth, did I need a new phone? I'd got one just over a year ago, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. Baah, I said to myself, its time to walk the talk, I can't call myself a tree-hugging-hippie and go out and buy phones every year. And so, I made a promise to whomsoever it may concern (I like this phrase, it's the perfect mix of bluntness, a hint of rudeness, and an overwhelming indifference to whomsoever is relevant. I think it must have been invented in India) that I shall desist from buying a new phone for atleast a year.

I think this rather rash proclamation caught the attention of the fella up there, probably since it was said during a moment when nothing remarkably bad seemed to be happening anywhere on the Earth, on a monstrous scale, at least, at that point in time (On second thoughts, is that ever possible? :| ). Within a week, the bottom left corner of the innocuous looking metal plate which comprises of the 'keypad' of my phone, started twirling upwards. No amount of coercion would make it flat again, short of smashing the thing against the wall, which I avoided since I wasn't dealing with a Nokia. At first, I ignored it, which didn't seem to go down well with whoever was behind all this. So then, one fine day, while trying to retrieve the phone from the confines of my jeans pocket, I received a nasty gash on my finger. The offending corner was promptly swathed in tonnes of cellotape, which didn't help its looks, but took care of the problem - until I wanted to, err, use the stylus to write a message. After de-taping and re-taping, I thought I had solved the problem for a while, till the weekend, when I'd take it to a repair shop. Unfortunately, my laziness and a tendency to procrastinate, coupled with the fact that half of Bangalore does not seem to believe in repairing things (the US ain't just outsourcing jobs, even attitudes seemed to be getting Bangalored :|), meant that it stayed that way for a while.

Well, unfortunately, grime and a sticky surface go along rather well, which meant that within a couple of weeks, my contraption was looking decidedly ugly, with some specks of what looked like yesterday's lunch (it wasn't that, I swear) adding to the otherwise nondescript mess. I was beginning to get tired of my lame 'oh-my-phone's-all-broken-since-I-dont-get-paid-that-well' line too, and decided to do something about it. After trawling through half the town, I located a Motorola authorized service center, which demanded 2000 bucks as repair charges, telling me with a poker face that well, they couldn't take chances, and would have to change the darned touchscreen, the keys, the board inside, and whatever other components they had in spare and they could get rid of through me, since that model was no longer manufactured, and all of that inventory had to be sold profitably. For some strange reason, with my rash proclamation in mind, I said a hesitant ok, and offered my phone to them, when the lady at the counter shook her head sadly and said that unfortunately they didn't quite have the keypad in stock. The rest of the body was there, though, would I want that? That doesn't have the keypad included, does it, I asked wearily, fully knowing the answer. Oh no, sir, that we don't have in stock, she said, with a cheerful smile. I guess she was due her full marks for excellent customer service with a smile.

Another few hours of driving around aimlessly, and I was in some place which looked like a commercial area, with all sorts of tiny shops - a typical urban bazaar, where you can pretty much get anything. A quick check with a small corner mobile repair shop ended on a positive note. Yes, it could be changed, for a few hundred bucks. I ordered the piece, and rather smugly went home, feeling all happy with myself. 1-1, I thought.

Since that day, everything that could go wrong with the phone has gone wrong. Firstly, the replacement part didn't quite fit. It sat a nice mm or so above the rest of the phone, with edges sharp enough to wreck all my fingers at one go, and creating a perfect place for all sorts of rubbish to settle into the wedge that has been formed. Well, I'll deal with that, I thought. Then, the phone decided that it wasn't going to charge up through the socket charger. Oh darn, I thought, and started using the USB charger, which took ages, and annoyed the hell out of me by making all sorts of irritating noises every time I plugged it in or out. Then, the USB charging stopped. In desperation, and with full knowledge of fighting a losing battle, I took out the mangled body of my old MotoRokr (yes, I had the same model before this), put the battery into that and charged it. Luckily, I had a spare battery (from that set), so I could alternate between them like camera batteries. All was fine for a few weeks. Suddenly, the phone started switching off randomly every few minutes when I was using one of the batteries. So now, every time I want to charge the goddamned (literally!) thing, I have to switch it off for a few hours, charge it in the old set, and put it back on. Such bliss.

I guess I am going to be thoroughly tested over the next few months. I do hope that bigger matters catch his attention, and he leaves poor souls like me trying to achieve their small victories :)