I only purchased the Sony Ericsson W710i walkman phone because I liked the way it looked. Equipped with a 2-megapixel digital camera, mp3 player and a fitness monitor, it claims to be ‘made for the actively mobile.’ When I moved to Mumbai, my new phone became my companion on the long train journey to and from work. Being an ardent photographer, I was delighted to be able to have a camera on hand whenever I needed to capture anything that appealed to me visually, instead of relying on my cranial memory card. I also learnt to appreciate the value of music that filled my head to drown out the noise of the train’s constant periodic clanking. The first few weeks of feeling insignificant in India’s largest (and ever-expanding) metropolis quickly faded into the background. I didn’t mind hanging from the pole on the foot-board of the 7.19 local to Andheri (don’t try this at home, kids) and letting the wind (not to mention the influx of passengers) sway me about. It got so I really didn’t mind missing the last train home!
One thing I never thought I would appreciate about my walkman phone was the step-count feature. Now that I am back in Hyderabad, my daily step-count of 8,000+ in Mumbai (over 9km per day, on foot!) has dropped to somewhere between 80 and 800 steps per day, proving how inactive and immobile I’ve become! Moreover, it highlighted one of the stark contrasts between Hyderabad and Mumbai… no matter how far I go, I can never hope to ‘step up’ to the distances I so easily traversed in a matter of hours in The Bomb. This was quite a first-hand discovery, something that just doesn’t sink in when you read statistics comparing demographic data.
Whoever thought a cellphone could throw so much light on the subject of urban morphology!