“Height of fancy number craze: Rs. 13L for 8 Zeros” – Today’s The New Indian Express published a news about an NRI industrialist and hotelier who spent Rs. 13 lakhs, to get a mobile number ending in eight consecutive zeros in an auction conducted by BSNL. The report went on to say that the number of people who come to get fancy numbers from BSNL shows a steep rise in Kerala. Some other reports quote that the people who buy luxury cars and fancy numbers for the vehicles too are on rise in the State. The trend is a sign of increase of affluent class in the State.
While writing this, the picture that runs through my mind is that of a Keralite dressed in his traditional dhoti (the loving ‘mundu’ for us), with heavy gold chains wrapped around the neck and wrist, standing beneath the board of a 50% discount announcement bill in a super market. He would even search for the freebies on the rack. The willingness to spend lakhs for a fancy mobile number and the unwillingness to pay the MRP rate for household things are two contrasting faces of a Malayali. It sounds funny, yet true!
Now the question raised is how do you reason the trend of spending lakhs to buy a fancy mobile number? One cannot state a definite reason to support this craze. I would state it useless, as it seems like a mere waste of money to flaunt for no reasons. The occupancy of a costly, fancy mobile number will not be evident even to the person sitting beside. The luxury car, to the least, is a material to flaunt. But, as the media do not even reveal the name of the person who purchase this fancy number, the ‘affluent’ and his ‘fancy number’ stays hidden forever.
The trend is partly comparable to that of ‘fanship’ in some ways. The fanship too is an endless craze, which has no cure or meaning. However, the craze to film stars can be justified in some aspects. The characters in the film unleash the piled up the emotion of the people, which cannot be released otherwise. The stars inspire the mass, establish an unseen subconscious link with them and create a sort of relationship, which in turn becomes admiration in later stages. Such an explanation cannot be given for the craze for fancy numbers.
Perhaps, it is like buying shirts of your favorite color even if it is of the same design and pattern. Ridiculous, but hard to control!