A Love Letter to Nokia 3310


A Love Letter to Nokia 3310

Illustration: Akshita Monga

Dearest Nokia 3310,

Like the Backstreet Boys, I heard you’re back alright!

Apologies for the lame ’90s reference, but you’re intrinsically tied to my teenage Avril-filled years, so you gotta live with it. As much as we’re happy to see the back of the ’90s, there are some things we still pine for – a time when you could win a text battle with your friend by simply typing faster, when relationships didn’t break up over read receipts and “last seens”, when lentil soup was still khichdi, and doggos were still dogs.

Nokia, my dear, we now live in complicated times. Somewhere between unexpected dick pics on Snapchat and the online ticker on Whatsapp, romance left the building. There’s no “does-he-remember-your-landline-number” phone call, will he send me a message on Yahoo messenger once he’s back from school? Things were simpler in the days of ASL small talk, and hi5 high fives. And if he left a testimonial on your Orkut page, he was “serious” with a side of make it official. Love came into our inboxes as emails, and dates were arranged over MSN chat.

Dear Nokia 3310, you remind us of the flushed beating of the heart that races with the sound of a router labouring to connect to the internet. Now with couples posting pictures at the gym with #goals and celebrating their “started banging” anniversary on Facebook with more, you guessed it, #goals attached to it, you really begin to wonder what these goals really are? Am I to Kardashiatrash my relationship to legitimise it? It’s all very confusing. Back in the day, love stories were simple.

I still remember the glory days of my first high-school romance, facilitated and cushioned in your unbreakable embrace. In the good old days, acing a game of Snake, is pretty much all it took to get things moving. Of course, they moved at a pace vastly slower than the snake, but they lasted just as long. After many weeks of super-high Snake scores, my relationship moved to badminton, to carom, and finally late-night texting. I played all these games of infantile courtship through you, and with you. To this day, your unexpected battery fake-out is a lesson to me on why I should never send an incendiary text when on low battery. You were witness to the way a tiny teenage heart races when your beautiful basketball-playing crush compares you to a three pointer he shot in a match against his arch-rivals from the other school.

Now, you’re back and maybe real love will be too. Your presence makes me believe that ex-boyfriends can come back for a Nicholas Sparks-esque reunion.

But now life is not set in the High School Musical universe. It takes one tweet with a Rumi quote on sorrow to get a “Bet this will cheer you up” sext from some random guy from Baroda, who followed you on Twitter when you changed your profile picture.

My dear Nokia 3310, when you arrive, you will learn sexting is ancient and the real deal is Snapsexting, which only sounds confusing because it is. As you might know, being very familiar with the Indian demographic, our sexual repression releases itself in the “Other Messages” folders across women’s phones in this country, so you can understand how dating in adulthood has been a bit of a bummer.

When my teenage romance came to an end (the douchebag dumped you and me for a girl with a Moto Razr), I threw you against a wall in a spurt of teenage angst and there you lay, as unbroken as Charlie Sheen’s ego, still flashing the “I’m sorry but it’s over” message. It broke my heart, but there it was in black and white so I knew where I stood. But now ghosting is in. It is a disappearing act so vicious that it can turn you into Moaning Myrtle for a week. I realise my high-school ex was still a stand-up guy for at least letting me know. You know what else he still is? Shallow. Because I lurked on Facebook and discovered that his new girlfriend has an iPhone!

But screw her and her iPhone. Now, you’re back and maybe real love will be too. Your presence makes me believe that ex-boyfriends can come back for a Nicholas Sparks-esque reunion. You make me want to put my text game on trial and see if I have any charm, when I’m unaided by a GIF keyboard and the fire emoji. You make me want to enjoy sipping on Frooti like I’m a Vengaboy on vacation… without the irony.

Nokia 3310, you make me want to be a better woman.

Lots of love and gratitude,