Mobile phone has become an integral part of every migrant worker and more than its utility as a communication device it’s the music playback option that has endeared it to them.
Music seems to have become the perfect balm for migrant workers while leading a far from ideal life where they often have to face discrimination and hostility from the local community.
Mobile phone has become an integral part of every migrant worker and more than its utility as a communication device it’s the music playback option that has endeared it to them. Mobile handset with the loudest playback voice is the biggest draw among the migrant workers.
Coming across migrant workers in places like bus stops with the music being played out loud from the mobile speakers instead of ear phones is not such a rare sight. Small mobile phone sale and service outlets in the city and elsewhere are tapping in to migrant workers’ this penchant for music.
“Most mobile phones now come with a free memory card and its common for buyers to get songs saved to it. A one Giga Byte memory card can hold up to 150-200 songs,” said a mobile shop owner at Menaka. Thanks to Internet even latest songs can be downloaded. The demand is mostly for Hindi and Tamil songs at the outlets in the city which do not cater to migrant workers in hordes unlike in suburbs with high concentration of migrant workers. The service is charged between Rs. 25 and Rs. 50.
Migrant workers from States like West Bengal sometimes approach the outlets with CDs of their regional language songs to get it copied to the memory card of their mobile phones. “For majority of mobile outlets in the city copying songs is just a part time thing as it brings in only negligible returns. But it’s even a means of livelihood in places like Perumbavur and Aluva where migrant workers are present in large numbers,” the shop owner said.
In Perumbavur, makeshift units equipped with computers operating solely for the purpose of copying songs to mobile phones of migrant workers are common. Assamese, Bengali, and Oriya songs are in demand depending on which community is dominant in the area.
Often a person well versed in the language of the dominant migrant community is engaged in such units to make the service smooth. Papers and stickers inscribed in languages like Bengali and Oriya announcing the service could be seen pasted to the back of computer monitors to woo in prospective customers.