Just last week i was caught unawares when the rain gods showed lots of mercy and poured relentlessly for more than half an hour. Thus as i was stuck in front of a shop that had not been opened for quite a while, forced to space with a relatively well to do big banjara family of very modest means who had made it their recidence. This was a relatively large family of atleast 4 adult females and 8 children of all ages including a senior couple , while the males i assume were out for work. What i observed was rather interesting.
The old lady was sitting in a corner listening to music watching a video, from a Nokia N70 music edition a piece costing close to Rs12000+. I wondered how a family with such modest means living almost out in the open could afford such luxury that i cannot think of purchasing due to its cost even though i can afford it.
The trend continued and i had more sightings of expensive phones, at Bhaji galli with many fruitn vegitable venders having a high end Sony n Nokia pieces and at crawford mkt i saw a bhelwala carrying an N 72 this time looking at some clip, and the local raddiwala carrying a 6600 not only that i was shocked when i saw that a sweeper in our colony had a mobile costing 14000.
I always knew that the lower classes prioritised viewing the saas bahu serials or vernacular entertainment as a cable and a minimum 14 inch bnw/ color tv was a must in most chawls and pakka Zopadpattis all over mumbai over other essentials.
Also i noticed how this was becoming universal trend when a friend described how a peon in his office had a n70 and how most people earning 5 to 8 thousand a month went in for high end phones.
What baffled me was that even a person who had no fixed roof over his head and no access to 4 square meals and a proper toilet or sanitation always choses to have an expensive mobile if they could afford it while mere tax paying middle class mortals choose something less expensive.
Then it dawned on me, that while lower middle classes still had their tv and dvd player the mobile labor or large banjara families had an entertainment void.
Also being in the unorganised labor market they never did pay much in taxes, earned sufficiently to survive with minimal overhead costs like rent and E/c. coveted those mobiles for their entertainment value coupled with Portability.Plus Blue tooth data transmission becomes very easy and low cost way to acquire media.
Not only that, Mp4 media compression has made it possible for saving bollywood movies on mobiles. Plus C grade movies show nothing explicit (2 scenes max) while mms is a big rage due to the graphic nature in its content for gratifying the semi educated Indian lower class male migrant having family in a village deprived of sex and too scared of contracting vd and aids from sex workers.
Is it the demonstration effect or the use of mobiles as an effective medium having Portability coupled with Convergence of a phone and an Entertainment system for mp3 music, games, fm, movies, saas bahu serials and of course Porn n mms or a mix of both reasons? U tell me