|Creative Writing Competition 2012 India|
|SETTING||Terrace OR Bedroom OR Living Hall|
Benson sat in his bedroom, on his bed, looking longingly at the cell phone in his hand. It had cost him his saved up pocket money of six whole months. But it was worth it. At just ₹ 3000, the touch screen was probably the best bargain he had ever made in his life.
Everyone else in his house was out, his father had some sort of official party somewhere and everyone had gone with him. Ben had stayed behind to scrutinize his phone. After all only he and the shopkeeper knew that he had bought this. His father, an ex-military man, was too strict about gadgets.
“They were made to be used only during emergencies. You currently don’t have one. ”he would bark out in his gruff voice whenever Ben asked him for anything.
And now here it was. Ben’s first taste of the luxuries the world had to offer. He had saved up every penny he got, right from the money for the canteen to his birthday, for this moment.
Ben delicately took up the azure colored mobile, lying on his bed, onto his hands. It was not very heavy but broad and flat. He delicately ran his fingers around it. The rest of the world was currently non-existent to him. Only he and the phone existed.
Ben removed the back of the mobile very very gently. He slid in the complimentary battery the shopkeeper had given him. He currently didn’t have a SIM but one of his close friends had agreed to give one to him. Ben slid back the cover and turned it around to face the blank screen. He searched for the switch on button. There was a whole array of buttons on all sides of the phone. Reluctantly he put the phone back down on the bed as he took up the user manual.
The user manual was written in English as well as in some foreign language full of squishes and slashes. Ben turned to the English section and started reading
“Dear customer, thank you for buying a BlueMoon product. Here we shall brief you on the facilities etc. available on this product. The following picture shows you…”
Ben ploughed through the tiny booklet. There were some fifteen or twenty pages. As he finished the first page, suddenly, the voice of the shopkeeper floated into his memory. Before selling the mobile to him and pocketing the money, the shopkeeper only had one piece of advice for Ben:
“Do not, never ever, read what is written on the last page of the user manual.” He had said in a silent barely audible whisper, “Don’t do it. It will only cause both of us great harm. Do you understand, boy? DO NOT READ THE LAST PAGE.” Ben had shaken his head timidly.
“ The old fellow is mad.” Ben muttered to himself as he continued to read.
Ben read on and on about the enticing facilities on the gadget. Slowly but steadily, he arrived at the second last page.
With a sudden roar of thunder, sending Ben ten feet into the air, it began to rain torrentially. Ben finished reading the second last page. It had a big THANK YOU at the end, signaling that there would nothing in the next page. Ben put his hand on the page to turn it. A black cat suddenly fell outside his window on its back.
“Aren’t these supposed to fall on all four legs?” Ben whispered to himself as he lifted up the page. His hand was slightly shaking.
Sirens blaring, a fire engine rushed past his house. Tyres screeched as some vehicle came to grinding stop outside his home. Ben turned the page. The lights suddenly went out. Within moments the generator in his home provided electricity and lights came back on.
Ben closed his eyes and bent his head away from the last page. But curiosity won. With a heavy feeling dread Ben, sitting in his bed room, looked at the last page of the user manual of the ₹3000 touch screen phone he had bought without telling his parents from a shopkeeper who had warned him not to read the last page of the very same user manual.
Ben couldn’t believe his eyes. Yes the shop keeper was right. He should never have read it. It was bad for both the shop keeper and himself
On the last page of the user manual it was written:
Made in China.