Blast from the past: Nokia 3310


It was the second phone that I owned. My first one was sleek black, Alcatel, which flapped in and out and folded diagonally like a purse. The Nokia 3310 became my most prized possession that I bought at the ‘Phone Shop’ at Colaba near the Hanuman Mandir on my first day in Mumbai. It brought a flood of memories in my life, college days and the first adventure in Mumbai.

I vividly recall that day. June 16, 2002, would remain entrenched in my memories where the Nokia 3310 accompanied me as a friend and stayed with me for four years till 2006 when it gave signs of the battery dying, switching on and off on its own. It was my first day in Mumbai when the three us hailed the taxi and it started pouring heavily when we stormed our way inside Phone Shop. I was amazed at the interesting display of cell phones and immediately landed on this sleeky blue phone for 6.5 k. We walked back for lunch past the Colaba causeway towards Leopold. I remember sitting there, admiring this cellphone which was trendy and jazzy. I caressed the beautifully carved designed at the back which was aesthetic and the touch buttons that worked like magic on the fingers. Playing snakes became a favorite pastime.

In 2003, when I joined Fergusson College, there wasn’t one person who didn’t own this prized possession and Nokia 3310 was the in-thing where everyone you knew was the proud owner. Owning this Nokia gadget means that you are in an exclusive club that made you proud. I was in love with the blue color, the touches, and sturdiness. I must have dropped it thousand times and not a scratch on the screen or the surface. It was love at first time. In an age of smartphones and selfies, nothing could beat this iconic phone. So much fun, sending sms-es, flirtatious ones to woo the lady-love as it beeped. Yes! There was no inbuilt camera but who cares! Simple was made beautiful and amorous. No whatsapp but with the various prepaid sim card bonanza, it made life jingalala. My Nokia 3310 gelled together with my favorite BPL sim. It was my favorite brand with the various discounts with recharge card at 400 bucks with 260 worth talk time. Activate your talk time and after midnight, you get 100 bucks extra with 100 free smfree callingcalling, on BPL network. The BPL story, I have plenty of them but let’s keep it for another post.

The Nokia 3310 days when your talk time is over, you would borrow someone’s identical phone to send a miss call or make a call. It was truly about Connecting people…and, of course, hearts. That’s what brand value was all about in sketching memories together. I did remember the first class I attended in college when our Philosophy teacher who hated phones warned me how he will not tolerate talking gadget in class. There were the two of us in class, Neha and me. Since I didn’t wear a wrist watch, I pulled off my handset which Sir saw. He warned me in his baritone voice, “You own a cell phone? Make sure it doesn’t ring in class or else I will confiscate it. For today it’s fine, there are only the two of you.” Sir meant every word and a couple of times, two girls were caught, the gadgets confiscated and returned the next day. The second time, the crime was committed by the same girl, she was thrown out of class. And, our teacher kept the girl’s Nokia 3310 for a day.

Changing my Sim every now and then, to avail of the different vouchers was a common parlance and the pranks followed. Once, I called Adi, telling him that I am from a call center agency and he got an interview in the outskirt of Pune when the truth was there were only buildings in construction where he had to ride his bike for a good 30 km under the scorching sun. Standing near the pan shop, I successively called two girls from my batch, pretending to be from a modeling agency or calling for a call center interview. The irony is that one of the girls was short and I started laughing before hanging. A new story started with a girl who sent the wrong sms and we became friends, she telling me the story of her breakup and regretted dating this guy. My Nokia friend gave me habits that I haven’t chucked till now and it’s been a decade that I don’t wear a wrist watch for you have a cool handset where you can check time so much that for the exams I met Adi on a bike along with Chanda on my way inside college, stopped him in the middle of traffic and poor guy, unplugged his wrist watch to save my life.

Nokia 3310 was not just a loyal friend bur also a life saver and the doer of sweet memories that one couldn’t imagine life, be it college, love or romance without it. As years went by, I was in final year in Pune and the Nokia innovated with inbuilt features such as radio, blue tooth, and VGA cam. I became envious of friends owning the brand new and flat round Nokia 6600 which became the toast of the season. My good ole companion wanted to break with me by showing its tiredness. This year was 2006. Once, in our college hang out at Savera restaurant, a display of Nokia 6600 phones was shown off on the table when I joined the group of friends when Ruchit started teasing me, dekho kya hai 6600. I was like, “Mein kya karoon agar tere pass 6600 hai, tere ghar mein aake bhangra karoon.” Everyone rolled in laughter and I wasn’t aware of this creative side in me, propelled by the gold Nokia days. Every time, Adi would call me on my old phone, it would switch off and he was like, get yourself a new phone. Trouble brewed. I was going mad with the phone dying for no good reason.

It was time to say taa taa to my phone when I moved to Mumbai during the same year and dropped to the same shop to buy the 6600 Nokia but bought the 3230 model which I equally loved. It was those days when Nokia always pushed the envelope higher. It was another story that I lost the phone in three months’ time.

I don’t know where my Nokia 3300 disappeared. Right now, I am kicking myself. I should have kept it for my treasure trove of memory. It gave so much joy, happiness, and bonding. Last week, when I saw the new Nokia 3300 making a comeback, I jumped with joy and decided to buy it for the sake of posterity. It was short-lived. When I took a closer look at the new device trying to cash on the iconic possession eons ago, it fades in comparison. The new one is too much fancy that makes it look superficial and is quite ugly in comparison to the ‘one’ we had. Dear Nokia! When and why did you lose the art of innovating and bringing people together? Guess, the best things in life expire and no point in reviving them with ‘fakeness’ for emotions are real at the time like our Hindi films classics. Now, you know why remakes are total failures.

You know what was my ring tone at that time? Kajra re! We couldn’t download songs but paid 30 bucks monthly for this caller tune. The Nokia 3310 made us smarter than the smartphones. Of course, the wallpapers look like scribbled on hand. Who can beat the life of span of the battery covering two days and showing dotted lines of network coverage? You bet!

The post was prompted by Dr. Roshan Nokia 3310 tales which you can read on Godyears.

With love

V

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