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Surrounded: options are aplenty for youngsters who would like to sport a trendy cell phone

Surrounded: options are aplenty for youngsters who would like to sport a trendy cell phone  

YOU CAN use these phones to surf, message, and play games. And, oh, you can talk too. Look around and you'll see people not just walk with cell phones, but ride, drive and even run with them. Students, businessmen, professionals, auto drivers, bus conductors, housewives, vegetable vendors, mechanics — everybody is doing it. Because it makes a lot of difference to your life when someone you love keeps track of your emotions wherever you are. It cuts down the time and energy you would otherwise spend worrying about what your husband, wife, friend or soulmate has been up to. Look what it's done to the parent and offspring alike. Anjana has this to say of her two teenaged boys: "We can't stop them from going out anymore, but their outings are accounted for." Being a working woman, she is naturally concerned about her sons, who are now in a vulnerable age.

If Anjana is worried about her children, Pradeep is worried about how his recently widowed father is doing. "My father had been looking after my bed-ridden mother for a long time. I wanted to keep in touch with him to know how they were doing. I have never been able to spend time with my father because of work. If he is away, is driving, or has gone out to a party, I know I can be in touch with him. His well-being is of utmost concern to me."

Like Pradeep, Rekha is happy that her father carries a mobile. She stays with her husband, while her father lives on his own. "The mobile helps because I know I can call him wherever he is. I feel secure knowing my parents are doing well."

Saritha went crazy with worry when her son did not come home at his usual time. "It turned out he was caught in a traffic jam. He could not cross the road for almost an hour-and-a-half. I was at home, expecting the worst. I decided then and there that he should have a cell phone so that I know exactly where he is. It's not that I'm snooping on him — I just want to know that he's safe."

And there are the have-nots. "Dad would let us buy phones if it were with our own money. He says we could use the nearest landline to make important calls," says 18-year-old Vaishali, who yearns to own a mobile phone.

Naren also thinks its great to have a mobile. "I think it is good entertainment. It is also easy to keep in touch with friends." One can picture teens in front of the television and sending messages to friends more than gathering in a back alley gabfest.

For many urban youngsters, it makes sense playing games on the phone instead of cricket in the vertical spaces. There is also SMS, stuff to be downloaded, and, of course, A.R. Rahman's tunes.

Best of all, they can talk wherever and whenever to whomever. Sometimes, that crucial conversation can make all the difference in a day, or life.

AMISHA SHAH

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