On Materialism and New Phones
My grandmother is quite the storyteller. She often regales us with stories from her childhood. My favorite is the one about earrings.
It seems, my grandfather had lovingly gifted her a pair of earrings, which were, undoubtedly, very pretty and she loved them. She wore them everyday. For five years. Then, she got bored. But this was way before humanity became a victim of materialism. So, my grandfather told her, in as many words, that because the rings were still in good condition and not broken, there didn't seem to be any good reason to buy new ones.
My grandmother, being *MY* grandmother, of course wanted new earrings. She tried all ways to convince him, to no avail. And then, opportunity presented itself. She had to travel by the train to their village. Just after she had boarded the train, when she was sitting on the window seat, clutching her bag, saying her goodbyes, my grandfather whispered ominously to her from the platform where he was standing, "Don't put your head too close to the window. Thieves snatch away earrings, you know."
Ooh, thought my grandma. For the whole night, she sat near the window, making sure to put her head out at every station, inviting every scary looking hooded thief to come snatch her earrings. As luck would have it though, this particular train ride turned out to be as safe as her home.
That trip, she tried everything to get rid of the rings. She left them on the rough concrete bathroom floor, hoping it will get washed away. Someone returned it to her religiously. She forgot to put the lock behind the loops, so they would fall off during the day. But they hung on, resolutely. She kept it under her pillow and hoped she would forget in the morning and someone would fold up the mattress and throw it away. Alas, she was asked to fold her own mattress.
And then my grandma gave up. She told my grandfather that the rings were haunted and they weren't leaving her. She told him about all her efforts. He laughed and bought her new earrings.
Why am I telling you this story?
Because I bought a really good high end smartphone just last year. And then, Google released Pixel and One Plus 3T came out and I ogled and drooled over their videos. And somehow, just for a fleeting moment one night, I thought, what if something happened to my phone, accidentally, of course.
Next thing I know, I am hearing a loud thudding noise coming from my washing machine. It seems, I had put my bedsheet for washing, while my phone was in it. I really believed it was an accident. Till I remembered this story.
And then I read about Columbia Business School's research that carelessness and neglect toward a currently owned product stems from a desire to justify the attainment of upgrades without appearing wasteful. They have data that shows direct correlation between reported incidents of iPhone losses and accidents and launch of new upgraded models. What have these companies done to us?
Of course, I bought a One Plus 3T. To be on the safe side, I have also unsubscribed myself from all feeds which talk about new phone releases. I close my eyes when I see a large billboard showing swanky new phones being unboxed. I pretend to sleep when someone discusses about I/O launch events. I run when people mention "updates".
The plan is to survive 5 years without feeling the urge to throw my phone in the washing machine. My grandmother says she is proud of me.
I am of course ignoring my google search history with the search term "When is One Plus 5 T releasing?".
If you know about the date of release, don't let me know. Or you can let it slip in a conversation.