I had started earning money, still living with my friends, but I could afford a phone. Before this one of my friend had a phone, she kept my track of text messages and phone charges. We paid her for using the phone. Everyone was working hard, so I would have probably done the same, if I had a phone and let me roommates use it. On one of my visits home, I told my father, I needed to buy a phone. He took me to Burma Bazaar. We went to the basement floor and asked for mobile phone. They showed us a few models, including the Nokia 3310. It was over my budget. So I settled on a blue BPL mobile. All it could do was send/receive text messages and phone calls. This is the same place he took me like 3 years before that to buy me a Walkman – a personal audio cassette player. BPL was a trusted brand then, and Burma Bazaar was like a black market, I guess.

It was a beautiful phone, it looked different from the Nokia models. I used it to call and text my boyfriend extensively. We fought, we loved, we missed each other. The phone was a welcome relief in that long distance relationship. I used that phone till I left India in 2004. Back then, you used something till you couldn’t use it. If it broke, you tried to fix it first before replacing it. It worked till I left India. Moving to CA, my company gave me an LG flip phone. Man, that was a grand upgrade. Flipping the phone open to take a call and talk, it was classy. Flip phones changed, but remained flipped till I left US in 2012. I wasn’t given a blackberry at work, because I don’t qualify for one.

2012, in India is when I got my first smartphone. Samsung galaxy note 5, I guess. As the batteries died on me, I moved to a newer model of Samsung. I remember the Apple users poking fun at me, like using a Samsung phone made a second class citizen. In 2019, I switched to the iPhone. Today, I hold a 14Pro as I write this post.

As phones evolved my connections to people evolved. The number of people on my contact list increased. Back then there was only one group of friends, they were called “Friends”. Today as the storage capacity has increased there are groups of friends. Friends I will call anytime, friends from work, friends from the past, social media friends, favorites.. Yet one thing remains, those 5 or 10 people whom you laboriously loaded on the phone Address book back then, are somehow the same people on your favorites list today. The “go-to” people. A couple may have been added along the way, but by far the list remains the same. Some dropped along the way.

I was walking around the T-mobile store earlier today and saw a flip phone. I opened it and thought, wow! I’ve come a long way.


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