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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Circa 2015

My mobile phone rings to the ringtone of 'life is beautiful'. It's a video call from my 6 years old daughter. With a smile I take the call to see my smiling daughter put on her sweetest voice to tell me what she wants.

"Hi papa, I need the latest Barbie doll in her astronaut avatar. And some chocolate also. I've finished the last story book you bought and I'm getting bored so you better bring me some story books too. And papa, please buy me the CD of the new 'princess in distress' game. Please, please, please. That's all, my sweet papa", she finishes in one breath.

"Sure my lovely daughter", I say before my daughter disconnects.

The screen of my mobile phone starts showing the screen saver with images of my family in various moods. I open the browser of my mobile phone and log in to the “one stop e-tailer”. With Delhi becoming a wi-fi city and my mobile phone working as a mini-laptop, I can take care of all my online activities from my mobile anytime, anywhere. So I punch in the long list given to me by my daughter in the online shopping cart, pay the bill of Rs 1395 with my mobile (yes, mobile phones now act as credit card as well), and ask for delivery to my office. It's 3 pm and I'll leave office at 6 pm so I opt for normal delivery of 2.5 hours instead of express delivery in 1 hour. Having taken care of my daughter's list in 5 min, I get back to work on my presentation for the client meeting.

30 min of work and my presentation is almost ready. As I think of moving to the coffee vending machine, my mobile phone rings again, this time to the ringtone of 'O mere sona re sona'. I immediately know that my wife is video calling. As I press the yes button, I can see my dew-fresh wife on my mobile screen ready to sweetly bark some homely orders.

"Hi honey, how are you doing", she asks me in her honey dipped voice and I immediately know that I’m supposed to do some household chore.

"Hi sweetie, have a presentation in 30 min. Just finished with preparation", I say like the most humble husband. Times change but some things never change like the sheepish demeanour of Indian husband in front of his wife.

"Okay. Acha listen, I've ordered grocery, fruits, vegetables, and some other items from ‘one stop e-tailer’. Since I'm going to see the ailing son of Ms Kapur and will be back only by 7 pm, I've asked for delivery at your office. It's an express delivery and will reach you by 5 pm. So please bring it home. Chalo bye. I’m getting late", she quickly instructs, gives her killer smile, and disconnects.

I head to the coffee vending machine for hot black coffee. Back to my cubicle with steaming coffee, I decide to check my credit card statement. So I send a SMS and immediately receive a mini statement. Huh, my online shopping bill is increasing by the day. 5 days still left in month and already transaction worth Rs 20729 billed and this includes grocery, vegetables, books, DVD, restaurant bill, fuel, and other sundry items. I make a mental note to reduce expenses.

The presentation went well and client was happy. As I come back to my cabin, I notice that both orders have been delivered and the grocery packet is too big. My secretary has received them on my behalf. So I call her to convey my thanks. It's already 5.50 pm and I’m feeling mentally exhausted. So I decide to pack up and head home.

Traffic is not so bad. I put on some old Hindi songs and start navigating my car. As I wait for green light at one of the traffic signals, I see the deserted Rel-fresh store. The traffic signal turns green and as I press the accelerator, I notice the big bill-board in front that says 'Now get your Rel-Fresh vegetables online. Guaranteed delivery in 2 hours!’ As I shift gear and move ahead, I say to myself, "Organized retail is dead, long live organized e-tail"

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