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LAHORE: Cell phone balance ‘crucial’ in unbalanced society

Not only youngsters, but people belonging to all age brackets and from all segments of society have developed the need to always having balance in their cell phones, irrespective of their finances. Cigarettes and movies were the ‘addiction’ of youngsters a few years back, but the new ‘thing’ that has been occupying their time is cell phones and with it the necessity of having balance in it. Calling, sending messages (sms), subscribing to different services including ring tones, Internet, jokes, news alerts consume the cell phone balance of the general public. In this scenario, people who could afford to have a decent amount in their cellular service accounts would obviously have balance, but the ones with meager incomes, struggle to keep their cell phone balance ‘updated’ as it is the necessity of the modern age. This is the current phenomenon that everyone could relate to as a student, movie star or a businessperson; all require having sufficient cell phone balance these days. Farhan Ahmed, a worker in a scrap shop of Misri Shah, told Daily Times that young boys often come to him with little stolen iron pieces like frames of windowpanes and similar items asking him to purchase it. “We sit in the market and can almost guess by the voice of the seller whether the item belongs to him or not. And the things they sell are maximally worth Rs 200-300. Knowing that we could get caught buying stolen items, I refuse to buy those items and often they ask me that would I trade the iron piece for a Rs 100 scratch card which is really funny,” he said. A public call office owner in Chuburji said, “I have the most interesting clients coming to me for loading money in their cell phone accounts. Vendors, labourers and sometime even beggars come to me asking to load Rs 30-40 in their accounts. Its hilarious, as I get to hear many accents of the word ‘load’ from these people who might only know this specific word of English. I can’t help but think that phone balance is becoming as important as eating these days.” “Two of my friends and me were caught sitting together on a bike on the canal by a Muhafiz squad. They insisted on taking us to the police station for triple ride on the bike but we requested several times that we were only students and wanted to go home instead of the police station. The nice cops asked one of my friends to go to the nearest shop and get two Rs 100 scratch cards, which he did. They let us go after that which was funny as it shows that the nature of police bribe is changing,” he said. An employee of a money exchange company, Shaan Shoaib, said that these days youngsters spend their cell phone balance calling up girls. “While there are very few that use it wisely due to which the telecom sector has grown over the years. Moreover, they make advertisements, which provoke teenagers to indulge in long conversations and messaging that eventually benefits the companies,” he said. Having a balance in your cell phone has become as important as eating these days because the general perception is that it could be used in a case of emergency or an untoward situation. But a number of people and concerned parents confided to Daily Times that their children were addicted to their mobile sets, and spend most of their money on cell phone balance. They said that it has not only made them lazy, but was also affecting their studies. muhammad aayan

Source: Daily Times, 4-Nov-10

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