Groaning, i pull the device out of my pocket, and look at it. In the darkness, its whitish LED glow sends ripples of pain through my eyes before i can focus on the words in front of me. 10:38 PM, the small digital clock on the screen reads. Small notices, of new mails in my inbox, flash in the corner of the screen. Someone has left me a voice message as well. My to do list flashes brightly, with several 'incompletes', like a glowing testament of my inefficiency. My calender subtly reminds me that i am supposed to be in a conference call at the very moment.
Damn it! I had totally blacked out. For nearly an hour...
Somehow, I cannot bring myself to finding out what the mail was about or who was trying to reach me. The very thought, suffocates me. I close my eyes for a moment. Visions of hoardes of phone touting executives flash through my head. They are droning on and on about something and they are all approaching me, arms outstretched, as if to strangle me. My breathing becomes visibly heavy and i realise a growing panic. I move the device away from me, almost as if being exposed to its rays can cause me severe brain damage.
It feels good but for just a moment before the blackberry goes "beep!"
I begin to feel my hands start to shiver a bit and i drop the device onto the seat beside me. Beads of sweat begin to trickle over my forehead and neck and i struggle to breathe. "Beep", the blackberry goes again and i am now fighting for my breath. I gasp loudly. Loud enough for the driver to turn and look at me in concern.
"Sir, are you all right?"
"Yes", I answer, not very convincingly. The driver turns away, not convinced of my answer. But he doesnt care. No one does, really.
The car continues to plough through the empty freeway. I look out through the tinted windows at far away lights inside homes. Probably, a family was having dinner. I feel alone. I am not really alone, am I. Alone is the state where you have only your thoughts to focus on. But i had more than just my thoughts.
I consider the silent device lying face down on the seat near me and suddenly feel very silly.
What the hell was I doing? It was just a piece of silicon, plastic and metal that someone, a low wage worker leading a brutal existance, built, in some factory in China. How did it assume such a big personality that 30 years of my existance cant dominate it? I can choose how i use it, cant I?. What the hell was i now getting paranoid about, anyway. I ponder on this for a while and reach no real conclusions.
I pick up the blackberry as it beeps yet again. Another mail in. The little black devil vibrates in my hand as if it is mouthing an evil curse in morse code. I feel infected. A strange uneasy sensation passes through me accompanied by glimpses for my to dos and conference calls. I begin to shiver and drop the phone in the process. The chunky device thuds onto the soft carpeted floor of the car and rolls beneath my seat. I sit there feeling the futility of it all. Eventually the device would be the victor. As if to underline my point, the driver turns and announces "Sir, we are here"
Time to leave. And time to pick up the phone.
I reach down, my fingers feeling the soft floor, trying to grab my phone; except i cannot find it! Seeing my plight, the driver switches on the light filling the inside of the car with an ugly yellow glow. I look around for the phone in vain. My hands reach under the dark depths of the seat, shivering with tension, as my fingers fail to close in on the cold lifeless form i was expecting. Flustered, i begin to rummage on the floor and under the seat. Not a trace. More confused than frustrated, i check my pockets again. No device. Finally, after nearly 15 minutes looking in vain, i give up. I instruct my driver to hand the device over when he finds it and walk back.
I feel free. Liberated. The air around me richer. As i walk to my home, i realise that the streets are wet. It had been raining. There is a pleasant smell in the air.
"Sir!", i halt. My heart sinking fast, i turn around. The driver is running toward me. His fists balled up, holding something. I know what it is. As he comes closer, the device gleams under the streetlamps. Its grinning its evil grin.
"Found it!", the driver says, panting, happy as he hands it over gingerly, almost with reverence. He knows. He knows who his boss is. It isnt me; he knows. The Blackberry. He knows.
But it was time. Time to show him who the boss was.
I look at the blackberry; my mind conjures a million ways to establish my dominance right there. I could throw it way like an outfielder on a cricket ground. I could stamp on it like those over sized wrestlers. I could dissect it part by part, with the fiendish glee of hannibal lecter, and savour every moment of its distruction. I had to think fast. The driver has to see me do it.
The phone rings; My client. Status update on the upcoming workshop? Urgent meeting? Query on the deliverable?
May be i should just take this one final call. It could be important. I can choose when i want to destroy the device. The driver is walking back now. I feel like a man who was on the cusp of getting out a deep dark precipice slipping back into it. My fingers arent holding any longer and i slip back into the abyss.
I press the green answer button on the phone, "Hello?"