Like any self-respecting toddler born in the past five years, my 3 year old nephew Keshav knows all that is worth knowing about cell phones. It has been his favorite toy from the time he could hold it in his curled baby fingers. It is into the phone that he lovingly croons words that he has learnt. The cell phone has been his ally and confidante when he feels misunderstood by the world and simply has to rant. But most of all, it was cell phones that introduced him to the mesmerizing world of polyphonic ringtones.
My family and I visited my cousins and Keshav in Pune, a while back. Within a few minutes of our arrival, Keshav had charmed our cell phones out of our hands and pockets. He placed six cell phones side by side, and gloated over them. A respectable collection, he seemed to be thinking.
Our first morning at Pune passed by in a haze of ringtones. Not that Keshav couldnt move down the playlists himself; he simply preferred that we did it for him. My sister and I sat with him, honored to have been chosen as his playmates for the day. ( Keshav follows a strict pecking order in his attachment to people, as my mom often points out. In a room full of people, he will unerringly pick out the youngest and cling to them like he finds them the most interesting thing on the planet, while older people are not even treated to a passing smile. When my sister is out of the way, Keshav’s favor is upon me. My mom has to wait for my sister and me to disappear, and my grandmom has hardly a fighting chance.)
We listened to all the ringtones on six different phones, Keshav untiringly, and us..well, not so untiringly 🙂 Every now and then, somebody would rush into the room, having heard their phone ‘ring’.
Later in the evening, we went to the park with Keshav. As we tried to keep up with him, and as he ran around to investigate the mud, whirl about till he got dizzy and fall just for the fun of it, we heard him sing snatches of his favorite ringtones. It was unutterably sweet music..my nephew’s lilting voice, to the accompaniment of his squeaky toddler shoes.