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26th February 2007
“Without trying to be a preacher and without trying to teach me anything Manu, in his most innocent and selfless way, taught me the most important lesson of life—What matters is the people around us not out posessions.”

One thing Manu is really fond of is my phone. He usually doesn't get to play with it but when he does, his happiness is beyond something I can describe. Usually the phone is kept on a shelf above our TV. He climbs on the table and then reaches for the phone. If I don't stop him, he will pick it up with the broadest possible grin on his face. I have a flip phone and when it is opened or closed it makes a sound. Fascinated by the sound, he flips it open and close at an amazing rate. So fast that it sounds like a music loop. Then I'd tell him it is enough "Now put the phone back in the cover and give it to papa". Sometimes he would and sometimes I have to take it from his hand.

Last Friday on my way back home I stopped at a shop selling plastic stuff, as Mira wanted me to buy a tray. In that shop I saw these Chinese phones. I didn't take the Spiderman or the power ranger one but picked up this one even if it is quite girly. I took this because in shape and size it is quite similar to my phone and it is a flip phone too.

Manu's phone
Manu's new flip phone. The manufacturer has changed Barbie girl to Benigh girl, obviously for copyright reasons but I am not sure if this is legal. I guess they can still be sued by Barbie if they are botherd about them in the first place.
Manu's phone
Although the colours and the graphics are quite girly, I picked up this one because in shape and size it is quite similar to my phone.

Back home when I gave this phone to Manu, he was very happy. He kept pressing the keys that make three sounds, one is a ring, one is "Kaun" (Who's is this?) and the last one is a song "Dhoom macha le". That night when we went for a walk, he made me tuck the box of the phone under my belt. On Saturday we were going to Irla and after every few minutes, he would press a button and the phone and then stick it to my or Mira's ear "Mama, baat karo"

On Sunday I put my phone for charging and he took the cover and put his phone in it. In the evening we went downstairs with the phone pouch carrying his phone in my belt and my phone in my pocket. On Monday morning while I was coming to office, he again gave me the phone. While coming to the office, I tried to give it back to him but he insisted that I take it with me. Mira said that I can quietly leave it but I felt that if Manu finds it during the day, he would be quite upset so I carried it to work with me.

Manu's phone
Well, I have colour display too but I guess my phone can't match the details and resolution of Manu's screen.

I guess I can take a lesson about sharing from him. As far as he is concerned, there is not much of a difference in the two phones but he still insisted that I took his phone to work. He gave me a toy that he got only two days ago and is really fond of. Indeed what matters in life are the people around us not our possessions and this lesson were taught, in a very practical way, by a two year old.

Manu's phone
A side by side comparison?

Another thing I want to know is how the hell can they sell something like this for 20 bucks. It uses two button cells. Anyone who has paid for a new battery for a watch or a computer would know those tiny cells itself cost a lot more than 20 bucks then how can they sell not just the cells but the entire thing for 20 bucks. These things are supposedly Chinese and I guess they are because making them so cheep would not have been possible in India. In that case, how do you explain the Hindi songs like dhoom macha le? I must say those guys in China are damn good, not only are they providing real cheap toys but localizing them. Instead of having something generic and exporting it all over the world, they are exporting toys with changes according to geography.

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