I consider myself a positive thinking and optimistic person. That is why I am starting this write up by proudly (okay, not that proudly, just normally) declaring that I have a brand new cell phone. It’s LG, a switch from Samsung that I used for almost four years. Friends congratulated me as soon as they hear about my new phone but the euphoria would soon disappear as they got my explanation about buying the talking machine. “You used to have Samsung, haina?” a friend asked. “Yes, I used to,” I replied, “and I lost that last night.” Lost? How come? Where? Why? I don’t know why I lost it but it is certain that the phone is no more with me. I don’t know how I lost it but I have vague idea about the location where I might have lost the thing. I am telling here the story because, by now, I am nearly tired of repeating it to different persons. But let me admit it right here and right now that never before I enjoyed like this time telling stories- bad or good- that are related to me and my activities. Please be seated comfortably on that chair because I am afraid the story is going to be pretty much long.
I am, according to a columnist in a Nepali newspaper, seen “fiddling with the damn” new cell phone that I bought three days ago. This LG set has a digital camera, MP3 player, FM radio, voice recorder. Plus, I can also make calls and talk with other people. Pic by “coffee freak’s counterpart”)
Once upon a time…No, I am not starting like this. I am directly entering into the story. On the day, night actually, of 25 July 28, 2006 (Tuesday) at around 9:45 PM, on my way to home, I SMSed (send text message) the headline for the story based on the interview of British Ambassador Andrew Hall to Ananta Wagle (no personal relation), the desk in charge of the last page (Arts and Style) of Kantipur. Not receiving the delivery report in 5 minutes, I called him and made sure that the headline was received. That SMS and that call to Ananta Wagle turned out to be the last ones from my Samsung. Climax revealed? Wait, the plot are always interesting than climax in reality shows! (Did I write that? Honestly I have no idea what I am trying to say by writing what I wrote in previous sentence. Confused? Look, plots are always confusing.)
After about 10 minutes, I got off the vehicle, entered inside home, ate dal bhat as usual and turned on the TV. CNN was giving live (and recorded reports) of Middle East (okay, West Asia) conflict and I really wanted to follow the development for some reasons. Hum, the reason is that if you don’t have any idea about the conflict, channels like BBC World and CNN, magazines like Time and Newsweek and papers (which I read on the web) like New York Times and the Washington Post become redundant to you and I don’t want to let that happen.
So I was tuning in to CNN and I woke up in the middle of the night to see that the channel was still broadcasting reports from Israel and Lebanon. I don’t wear watch and I am completely dependent on phone for time. I looked for the set here and there, under the pillow and inside the quilt, on the desk, over the table and near the computer. No, phone was nowhere. I wanted to apply the same tactic now that I often apply whenever I can’t find the phone: dial the number from home phone. I did that and no ring tone came this time from corner of the room. Instead, I heard a surprising message which was enough for me to conclude that the phone was no more in my house: “The mobile that you are dialing has been switched off.”
Waw that was quite an experience! I had never heard such message while dialing my own number, that too in the middle of the night. Why would I switch off the phone? CNN was still talking about the conflict and what was I doing? What would you do, by the way, when you suddenly realize in the middle of the night that you cell phone, however old it was but with full of important contact numbers and SMS messages, is lost? Would you go to bed and still have a sound sleep? I didn’t because I had a reason to stay awake other than the shock of loosing the mobile: I hadn’t read that day’s editions of Hindustan Times and the Times of India. I started turning pages. That was a nice way of preparing yourself for the sleep 2 A.M.
In this photo taken a few weeks ago, I am seen talking (pretending) on my Samsung phone. I lost it three days ago and bought a new one. Pic by Email Wagle
Woke up at 7 and the first thing that I did was try dialing my own number. Oh..ho..the phone is working but do my utter surprise the line was cut off by the person on the receiving end. It’s now confirmed that the phone had fallen into the hands of a person (feels like the person is he but don’t want to be basied on the basis of gender) who doesn’t want to return the thing. Okay, I thought, what can I do other than calling the office of Nepal Telecom and telling them to close down my SIM connection? Meanwhile I also called Buddhi, the driver, and asked him if he saw the phone. No, he didn’t. My guess is that the cell must have fallen on the street while I got off the vehicle.
I contact NT to notify them about the lost. It took me almost 20 minutes to know from them that I physically have to appear in front of them with photocopy of my citizenship certificate. Waw, I was a smart. I had already carried citizenship certificate with me and I went to the Jawalakhel office of NT because I had subscribed the connection from there. I paid Rs. 565 to cancel the old and get new SIM card. I saw many other people who had gone there with similar problems. Seeing them queuing up for the new SIM card, my reportorial instinct started functioning and I started interviewing some of the folks. The story appeared in Saturday’s edition of Kantipur. As they say in journalism, what is bad for the world is good for the newsroom or bad news is good news, I was happy to be able to exploit my own problem and create a story out of that.
So I bought a new SIM card and headed for New Road to buy a phone set. I took out money from ATM in Harihar Bhavawan. It feels so good to see money dropping out from a machine after you enter the card and type some unusual numbers. It feels great to have money that is readily available at your wish. Wish I had more on that machine!
I went to New Road and went to the same shopping complex where I went with Sudheer Sharma nearly three years ago to buy the Samsung set. There weren’t many choices in the first shop and went up a floor. There I was offered a “brand new model and cool Nokia that just arrived in the market.” I wasn’t much interested in cool model but I wanted something better than the one that I was using before. “This is one from LG,” said the sales boy. “With this you can take photos, play MP3 music, and tune in to FM stations, record voice.” I think he forget to say something like this: Oh..yea, you can have conversations with other people if you want! LG set had one year guarantee and that was available for Rs. 10,500. Having a camera phone wasn’t my priority as I carry a digital camera (my famous Caonon digi cam, don’t you remember?) all the time with me but to have FM in the phone was necessary. A very cool friend of mine had suggested me to have a FM tuner mobile so that I can keep track of songs and news from the stations.
With the new mobile phone, I am being exposed to the latest trends (well, not so latest still definitely latest compared to my previous experience) in the cellular world. I am already enjoying more features in the new phone though it will take quite some time for me to gather all those phone numbers that I lost along with the Samsung set. I feel that I should have bought a set month ago. Actually I was planning to do that. I was thinking of giving the old set to my brother who said that he would apply for a SIM card as soon as NT opens its pre-paid subscription. Now, I have to buy a new one for him.
Other than talking over the phone, I think, I will be using the FM radio facility the most. Just like now: I am tuned in to 103 FM that is to say BBC World Service that is talking something about Israel and Hezbollah. Its 11 PM and I don’t think I will tune in to CNN today.