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.