As Blackberry Phones Cease To Exist, A 90s Kid Pays Homage To The Phone She Grew Up With

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Let me paint you a picture of a world bereft of Instagram and Whatsapp. I know, what did we even do? I belong to a world where we had to wait for be connected to the internet. It involved some white noise, a ting ting sound and if someone picked up the phone during that time, a screaming match with them because it meant you got disconnected. Landlines were abound, cell phones looked like bricks and weighed that much too. Some years later, the sleek Blackberry entered the market. And it captured everyone’s imagination. But here’s why we are talking about them. From 4th January onwards, Blackberry phones, the few and far in between, that you could possibly find, have ceased to exist, at least the ones that were working on the OG platform. Sigh.

There weren’t apps back then and chatting to people meant that you talked to them in the physical world. Like a full-blown conversation. And then Blackberry came and you could…chat? Like in the virtual world. As a generation, we gasped and picked our jaws off the floor. I am talking about this today because starting now, Blackberry ceases to support its classic devices. Sure, no one has bought a Blackberry phone in a while, unless they were indulging in some nostalgia but they were a huge part of my growing up.

You see, they were our introduction to the world of chatting without usernames. It made flirting so much easier, it was insane. After much of the fluttering of the eyelashes and some awkward conversations, we would exchange BB pins, so we could chat on BBM. It practically changed our vocabulary.

Okay, so like what were BB pins?

 

Unlike the images the words conjure up, BB pins weren’t actually like pins at all. I blame them starting off a series of weird nomenclatures. Anyway, the Blackberry pin was like a code, it had 8 bits, a mix of alphabets, numbers and even some characters thrown into the mix. This was unique to your phone and when you shared it with someone, you could start chatting to them. In a time where we had a limited number of SMSes you could send before your service provider asked you to cough up a significant amount, this opened up a world possibilities. We could even use emojis, a first for our phones. It was till then limited to MSN and ICQ. Hit me up if you know what these are.

For us 90s kids, the Blackberry phone was a game changer. And so now as the company shifts its focus to other products, I think of it with a tinge of nostalgia. Much like how I feel about Kodak. There’s such wide-eyed joy attached to using your BB pin for the first time, a feeling this generation will probably never experience, having practically grown up with touchscreen phones.

For me, there are moments where I miss the clickty clack of a physical keyboard on a phone. Or the ball navigation offered on the Blackberry Pearl (if memory serves me right). For us, the Blackberry phone was a big part of our growing up years and we shall think of it fondly. It connected the world in an endearing different, new way and we 90s kids wish it a wistful goodbye.

If you do want to read my newer adventures, like that with an electric toothbrush, it’s here.

 

Mansi Shah

- Director

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