Friday, October 14, 2005

The SaMoSa factory

A couple of days back, I went to this coffee shoppee. I'm not a great coffee aficionado, but the place has a HUGE plasma television which almost invariably always plays a sports channel. So that's the best incentive. While catching up on a World Cup Qualifier game, our inconsequential discourses turned to SMSes. While we were discussing nuances of how much time people have on their hands (heh! look who's talking) to be inspired enough to write and forward all those silly SMSes and the grave proportions of this psychological addiction, the bloke who was sipping his kenyan coffee at the table to the left joined in our convo. (I made out that the coffee was Kenyan since they serve it in mugs that are 2.5 times larger than the usual ones)

Claiming to be an ex-copywriter for a private advertising firm, that didn't actually do much advertising business, but instead was owned by a secret consortium of all the cellular phone services to do just their stuff (what? oh just read on!), he gave some amazing insights on the whole issue. After graduating from a leading advertising institute, he was hired by this so-called advertising firm for a cool-paying copywriter's job, that required him to pen thousands of silly and inane SMSes, replete with sardarji scenarios and sexual entendres and what not. As he explained, these SMSes were then put up on servers for free download to cellphones, on some more servers for not so free download, and manually distributed to a few cellphones from where they spread like wildfire all over the place. The jokes spread exponentially - 1 bloke forwards to another, then the 2 to 4, 4 to 8, 8 to 16, 16 to 32, 32 to 64, 64 to 128...128 eventually to millions, and so on. Parallely as they spread, the circumference of Revenue pie charts of the cellular firms keep adding fat, while the share of revenue from SMS jokes on that pie chart keeps bulging in tandem. As he said, at the end of the day, the net share of revenue from these SMSes (manufactured at his old workplace, ie the SMS factory) turns out to be HUGE.

Wow. Brilliant. I made a desperate attempt to get my brain to multitask - on one hand, continue in the conversation, and on the other, make a rough estimate of all the money that got fleeced from me through my lifetime quota of SMS forwards, by this elaborate corporate conspiracy that played against the gullible human mind. However, the task of getting to a plausible estimate turned fruitless after a while - I simply lost count of the mind-addition of a myriad phone bills, and gave up. Suddenly, Frank Lampard scored, and our inane conversation came to a halt. England won the game and qualified for the world cup. Yippee! That meant that I just won the bet I had made months back with a friend on England's qualifying for the World Cup (he said nay, i said aye) . I quickly SMSed him to remind him of the beer and beeriyani that he owed me. I really should have bet Money, rather than khana-pina, dammit.


Harold Pinter, the leftist playwright surprisingly won the Nobel for literature, pipping the widely expected Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk. Seriously, I didn't even know that he was in the race, and I still don't know for which work in particular he won it. I caught up with 3 pre-nobel analyses on the newscast, but can't remember even seeing him there. I've read just a couple of his political essays, where he called Bush and Blair 'idiots' - and I didn't enjoy them. I think he's the bloke who wrote the Monty Python series, but I'm not totally sure, I'll have to confirm from google or something very soon.


Id it is said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Id it is said...

I don't think they singled out a particular work of his for awarding him the Nobel Prize. Just like you, I too am surprised that he was the chosen one. I was guessing it'd be the S. Korean poet, Ko Un.

Nevertheless. Pinter is finally recognized for his works like "The Caretaker' which is his most acclaimed play, though personally 'The Homecoming' is my all time favorite. Pinter's characterization is remarkable; in that his characters usually reveal no spiritual awareness and no longing for spiritual values either. No mean a feat to create a play around such personas for an audience which as a rule likes to see things in black and white.
Kudos to Pinter.
Enjoyed your blog.

Vijayeta said...

U've only just scratched the surface of the SMS world! You've no clue how much money cell operators make during reality shows. And the highest grosser is the Fame Gurukul SMS's. A guy who should've been voted out long ago is still around only cos ppl have sent 5 lakh SMS's FOR him. Try convert that into money!

morpheus said...

@id it is: thanks for the info. actually i think i am going to take a que from your comment and get my hand on 'the homecoming', but before that I'll try to read a review or a spoiler to get a gist of what its about. also, i googled up on him - apparently he didnt write/script the monty python.

@vijayeta: oh yes! that too.
they have 4 crore votes, right? so thats 4 crores X 3 Rs = Rs 12 crores of revenue already in 6 months, and still going strong! But my personal feeling is that the SMS factory beats this handsomely. Haha @ Qazi still being around.