P . D . A
Phone Defence Academy
Welcome to the Phone Defence Academy! Or what is fondly known as PDA, headquartered in the IT capital of the country.
Being an academy, one may begin to picture a vast campus with greenery and sparse buildings synchronised in bricks and a complementary colour. But no, we are not like the rest. We are unbounded. Appearing along crooked street sides, bustling roads, abutting the boundaries of malls, under a tree, as well as green pass way cutting through old neighbourhoods. The academy spreads within the eye-line of every space where there is human habitation.
Yes, we have branches. Uncountable and unhindered – across every city and town in the country. Making this outreach possible are the troops – the heart and soul of the academy. They work tirelessly to make their presence felt and render timeless services to the people. The academy is rooted in the firm belief of protecting citizens and tendering to their needs.
At the Academy we have a saying:
“Some areas may not have water to drink, but you surely can still find a PDA in that precinct!”
Phone Defence Academy has a rich history that paved way to what it is now. Much before the Phone Defence Academy’s troops were deployed, a new wave was taking over the world. Now, it doesn’t go back to the first calls via radio telephone in a car in 1926 Germany. But does it come close to the first ever SMS sent in 1992? Perhaps, yes. These events were undoubtedly important. Yet they were mere precursors to the wave that was about to tide the countries of the world.
Rising accessibility of mobile phones via companies like Nokia, Blackberry, Motorola etc spurred a large market for these devices. Ideograms and pictograms, what we now popularly call as emoticons and emojis were birthed into their digital life by an interface designer from Japan in 1999. The watershed move that brought on the current era of mobile phones was 3G technology. In 2002, International Telecommunication Union set standards for 3G technology to which telecom companies had to comply. Increased internet services were complemented by a boom of touchscreen smartphones.
The rise of smartphones of bar shape with nothing but a touchscreen, eliminated most designs of phones with keypads. This new touchscreen came with a new package of beliefs. The strength of the touchscreen to pressure and fall has always been a conundrum for consumers. With this doubt, the protection of screen from damage has been a primary concern of all smartphone users. Durable phones with gorilla glass have not been able to reach the affordable section of smartphones. Isolated shops and exclusive mobile stores catered to this need. But soon the demand outgrew and called for more cheap and accessible ways of securing screens of these brand new phones. Eventually, Phone Defence Academy seeped in to fill this gap, help people protect their phones and assure them of its safety.
The PDA is established on one basic principle - to protect the peoples' fear. Yes, everyone today has one primary fear: the damage to the touchscreen. They may not have a life insurance, they may not practice safe sex, but they all need to safeguard their phones.
The Academy is born out of this fear. Born to protect humans and let them be at peace from the panic that comes with owning a mobile phone.
PDA is determined not only to protect but even enhance the status of people. We aim to provide alternate, world class, theme based and even ‘organic’ accessories that truly reflect the tastes and lifestyles of individuals. The PDA is putting state of the art technologies to ensure every current trend being translated into a product, made available to all. As everyone is judged today by the phone they display, PDA shall ensure that everyone is accepted in the society. The PDA aims to continue to be for the people, by the people, of the people.
Our Salient Features
Omnipresence. Yes, that is what defines us. You look for us and you will find us. We are easy to identify. Near your home, market complex or adjoining road, our troops can be spotted with their somewhat fixed paraphernalia. The troops even carry their duty on a table cramped in a narrow market. At times they even convert their vehicles into shops. Unlike other sellers, our troops don’t sit in groups, we even sit in solitary, lonely by the side of dimly lit road. Our troops do just about everything to serve you.
Some troops over the years have established a proper shop, but that is not a prerequisite for all. If space allows, a colorful large umbrella over a table turns a space to interact with the academy. Around that are translucent plastic boxes neatly spread out on the table, with mobile screen protectors arranged inside them. An optional stool carried by the troop if the space does not allow a seating. A troop near a bus stand or a pavement comfortably sits in the area adjoining the stall. This stall is neatly tied up by a poster the size of human torso, if not larger than that. The printed poster does not reveal a name of the shop, the person, the contact number, the brands – nothing. Just the type and cost. That is all that PDA invests in. It acts as both assurance and comfort for any customer.
People behind PDA
Being a troop of PDA does not come with many perks. Along with that comes the constant struggle of facing the everyday city life, that needs to be braved. The troops may not be educated, but there is no shortage of commitment. The self-trained troops are proactive. Constantly reinventing space, marketing strategies and opportunities to appeal to all.
Take a sneak peek into a typical life of Bindu and Sharath.
Finishing her Sunday chores of selling vegetables, Bindu makes a dash towards the city mall in the evening. Then finding a spot along a long wall that acts as a threshold between social classes, unfolds a table and then carefully arranges all the belongings from the big white bag. Some, she keeps inside for the table is not too large. Then she unfurls a poster, ties it to either ends of a railing. The canvas reads “Gorilla Glass for all latest phones at Rs 60/- only.”
Then she waits. Wiping the sweat of her face with the end of her saree, so that the guards are themselves protected. What else can she do? Like other vendors, there is still no method to call out to customers. Bindu, keeps a keen eye on everyone entering and exiting the mall, each keenly fidgeting with their phones.
She secretely hopes that at least one of them drops their phone, and that would be her chance. As the hopes the dust of the nearby road construction and from the passing vehicles blankets builds on her face. Bindu takes a large cloth from her bag, and springs it open – a guard for the screen guard, not herself. Then suddenly she hears a sound – luck has turned her way.
Bindu adjusts her saree, moves the cloth to reveal the display, and tries to look in the direction of the sound. All in an act to catch attention.
Two ladies quarrel – “Let us go inside the mall.” The other one refuses – “No, I can’t go up and down again. There, we will find something on the street!” “This is all local!”, cries the first lady. The latter responds with a tone of sarcasm, “As if you know the brand names of all screen guards and mobile covers”
Bindu is now ready, waiting for her customers. The ladies walk up to her and ask, “How Much?” Bindu simply points towards the canvas. The lady says, “The other one next to the tea shop of my house is giving for 49 rupees!”
Bindu, has no counter. She agrees. Quickly gets to work across the large screen and hands over the phone. As they leave, Bindu carefully takes out her phone, types over the navigational style keyboard and then carefully peeps into the screen to read the time. She can spend another hour she says to herself and then moves to the canvas strikes of 60 and writes 48!
Sharath carefully chooses a place adjacent to a bus stand that lies at the intersection of a highway and commercial area. As pedestrian flood the marketplace, he converts the space into a shop to attract users. Sharath realizes that immediate need of product may occur at any time.
A variety of people – all potential customers - pass by. A group of teenagers is school uniform halts under Sharath’s umbrella to commemorate a new smartphone of their friend. Sharath takes a quick glance at the model – in a second registers the model, and then quickly sieves through the stack and pick out the right match to guard. Then begins the artistry.
Like trained professional he blows onto the screen of the phone. Then picks up a cloth – the yellow one not the black and cleans the surface with deep concentration. The teenagers keep looking – as if it is a skill that no one else can perform. Then he unleashes a bottle and places it on the table. Carefully, sprays three times – no more no less – on the screen of the phone and then picks the black cloth to wipe. What is that liquid in that bottle? No one quite knows! No one cares – but the way Sharath applies it assures it will make the smartphone, even smarter.
Then he peels off the additional screen of the guard, in almost a slow-motion action and then from a few centimetres from the phone holds the guard and makes measurements in the mind. He takes it close to the bottom edge and holds it for a few seconds. The teenagers hurt pumps. The wait is unbearable. Sharath build anticipation, his eyes focused, hands alert and then swiftly presses one edge and moves the guard across the screen. The teenagers smile and is visibly relieved.
For Sharath the job is not done yet. He checks for bubbles. He analyses the edges and again brings out the yellow cloth and gently caresses the phone to complete the act. Sharath hands over the phone with a sense of pride. Then collects the leftovers and bins it into the bag underneath. He looks at the bag that is now filled to the brim with plastic. Without bothering he gets back to protect. Sharath has no time to ‘waste’.
Just look out for us and you will find a representative from the academy. Each day, each week, at new locations, new recruits and novice products to satisfy your requirement. Just keep an eye and we are sure of disappointing you.
If you spot us, and do not intend to buy, then at least spare a thought. We are in this because of your greed and need. Not because we have skill or training or technical expertise, but we know, we all know, that today it is the smartphone that connects us all!
So, go out there and share the knowledge with your friends, family and colleagues and even your enemies! For there is no one who does not care for their phone.
Remember: For you fear, PDA is here!
Story Conceptualization and Author - Kshitij Singh
Photographs - PULP crew