The Mobile Story: I Lost Samsung, I Bought LG

I am an optimistic person who thinks positive. That is why I am starting this write up by declaring that I got a brand new cell phone. It’s an LG, a switch from a Samsung that I used for almost four years. Friends congratulated me as soon as they heard the news. But the euphoria soon disappeared as they heard my explanation of the new purchase. “You used to have Samsung, haina?” a friend asked. “Yes, I used to,” I replied, “and I lost that last night.” Lost? How? Where? Why? I don’t know why but it is certain that the phone is no more with me. I don’t know how but I have some vague idea about 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 pretty long.

Dinesh Wagle with new LG mobile set

I am, according to a columnist in a Nepali newspaper, seen “fiddling with the damn” phone that I bought three days ago. This LG handset has a camera, MP3 player, FM radio, voice recorder. Plus, I can also make calls and talk with other people. Pic by “coffee freak’s counterpart”

Here’s the story. On 25th July, 2006 (Tuesday) at around 9:45 PM, on my way to home, I SMSed (texted) 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 section) of Kantipur. Not receiving the delivery report in 5 minutes, I called him and made sure that the headline was received. That SMS and call to Ananta became the last from my Samsung.

After about 10 minutes, I got off the vehicle, entered inside home, ate dal bhat as usual and turned on the TV.

I don’t wear watch and I am completely dependent on phone for time. I looked for the phone here and there, under the pillow and inside the quilt, on the desk, over the table and near the computer. Couldn’t find it. I applied the same tactic that I often apply whenever I can’t find the phone: dial the number from home phone. I did that and my phone didn’t ring from a 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.”

Wow 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 your cell phone, however old it was but with full of important contact numbers and text messages, is lost? Would you go to bed and still manage to have a sound sleep? I didn’t because I had a reason to stay. 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.

Dinesh Wagle with old Samsung mobile set

In this photo taken a few weeks ago, I am seen talking (or pretending to talk) on my Samsung phone. I lost it three days ago. Pic by Email Wagle

Woke up at 7 and dialed my own number. Oh, the phone was working but to my utter surprise the line was cut off by the person at the receiving end. It’s now confirmed that the phone had fallen into the hands of a person (feels like the person is a “he”) who doesn’t want to return the thing.

Now what could I do other than calling the office of Nepal Telecom and telling them to kill my SIM card. Meanwhile I also called Buddhi, the driver, and asked him if he saw the phone. No, he didn’t. My guess is that I may have dropped the phone while getting off the car.

I contacted the NT to notify them about the loss. It took me almost 20 minutes to know from them that I physically need to appear in front of them with a copy of my citizenship certificate. I had already carried the citizenship certificate with me. 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 same problem. Seeing them queuing up for the new SIM card, my reportorial instinct started functioning. I interviewed some 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 numbers. It feels great to have money that is readily available when you need. Wish I had more in that machine!

I went to New Road and went to the same shopping complex where I had gone 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 interested in a 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 as well! This LG handset 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 Canon digi cam, don’t you remember?) all the time with me but to be able to play FM radio 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 new songs and news.

With the new mobile phone, I am being exposed to the latest trends (well, 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 new handset a 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 the most. As I am doing now– listening to the BBC World Service. They are talking about Israel and Hezbollah. Its 11 PM and I don’t think I will tune in to CNN today.