|Connoisseur's choice: The Vertu collection
offers the ultimate luxury in mobile communications to celebrities
wise old man once said, "a phone is a phone is a phone."
That wise old man never saw the Vertu collection of phones.
Note that I used the term 'collection' rather
than 'range'. Because that is calling a spade a spade, or rather
calling an item of personal adornment exactly what it is. This is
not a phone. No one in their senses would spend Rs 17.2 lakh on
a mere phone. This is much more than a phone.
In fact, when it comes to the 'phone' aspect
of it all, the Vertu falls flat. There is no colour screen, no camera
and no high-tech acronym accompanying it. Sure, it has amazing voice
clarity, but this is not a device a techno-geek would spend hours
So, what is it? Looking and holding the rather
heavy platinum bodied Vertu Signature phone, you immediately feel
that this is something exclusive. And that feeling is endorsed when
you run through the user list-Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Jennifer
Lopez, David Beckham, Frank Lampard and other assorted celebrities.
The logic behind Vertu is similar to the logic
behind luxury watches. Any watch can tell the time, but you would
still love to wear an Omega or a Rolex, just for the feel and the
craftsmanship. Here, that would be the solid metal feel, the reassuring
'click' you get when you press any of the ruby mounted buttons and
the sapphire crystal screen. This is a phone that is the epitome
of craftsmanship. This is a wildly different approach from the insane
techno-wizardry that characterises the mobile handset business.
In addition to all that, there is the 'concierge'
service, which is unique to Vertu buyers (complimentary for the
first year). The service can get you reservations at a good restaurant
or tickets for a sold-out play almost anywhere in the world. Of
course, some celebrities have used it to organise everything: from
limousines for women 'friends' to arranging tea parties in a strange
The Vertu Ascent range starts at Rs 2,42,000
and the Signature range at Rs 3,71,000. That is the price of a small
car. Of course, if you buy the top-end platinum-bodied Signature
for Rs 17,20,000, you could practically buy a fleet of small cars
or a Mercedes c-Class. Overkill!
Will Vertu do well in India? This correspondent
certainly sees a huge market for the phone from cricketers, movie
stars and politicians, but as for their connoisseurship (that's
what Vertu means in English) abilities, he will refrain from commenting
A Touch Of Vanity
few years ago, when I first began going to a gym, I was more than
a bit self-conscious about my appearance. No surprise that. I was
paunchy, overweight and sluggish. And the gym I chose-because it
was very close to my house-was full of people who looked very, very
different. You know the type: rippling muscles, tight tank tops,
spandex shorts... That's where I met Firdaus, my first gym instructor.
Firdaus was a wiry guy, with an incredibly defined body and an abysmally
low body fat level. He was all muscle. One morning, he saw me doing
bicep curls with a pair of dumb-bells. I was huffing and puffing
and, between sets, looking balefully at my arms, which were nowhere
near like anybody else's in that gym in suburban Mumbai. That's
when Firdaus came up to me and said, simply: "Don't waste so
much time on your arms; those are just vanity muscles. You should
concentrate on the building blocks of your body-the big muscles.
Everything else will follow."
What Firdaus meant by building blocks are really
the big muscle groups in our body: the back, thighs and hamstring,
back and shoulders. These are the 'foundations' of the body and
toning and strengthening them, as any fitness enthusiast knows,
is what makes your body shapely and your posture great.
But I don't want to preach about something
that most readers of this column already know. Instead, this fortnight
I'd like to tell you how it pays to be a bit vain. At least in the
gym. Vanity is a great motivator. I'll tell you why. But first,
here's something I saw on my first few visits to a gym some years
back and I'm sure most of you who frequent gyms are familiar with
what I'm talking about. It's called preening. And regular gymmers-whether
they're 20-something or, like me, 40-and-more-do it regularly. Preening
is a between-the-sets look-see in the mirror while you slyly flex
your triceps or catch a sideways glance to see how pumped your pectorals
are. Yes, I know it's a bit narcissistic but what the hell are you
doing in a gym if you don't want to look good?
The point I'm trying to make is a simple one.
A bit of vanity about your body, your different muscle groups and
how they're shaping up, is a great motivator in the gym. It's the
little bursts of exhilaration when you see for yourself the progress
you're making-it's the fuel that spurs you on. And makes gymming
an enjoyable experience.
A word of caution here, though. Vanity in large
doses can create problems. Like overtraining or obsession with gymming,
this can be counter-productive. So, go ahead and be vain about your
body. But only a little.
write to firstname.lastname@example.org
BODY AT WORK
your work involves sitting for long hours in front of a pc, chances
are you have some health-related issues. Here's how you can cope:
YOUR BACK: It's bony and depends on
strong muscles for support. "If you're in a static posture
for an hour or two, it cuts down on circulation, leading to sciatic
pain and numbness," explains Dr. H.S. Chhabra of the Indian
Spinal Injury Centre. Precautions: Change your posture every 40-50
minutes. And at regular intervals, stand up, walk around and stretch.
YOUR WRIST: The wrist has eight small
bones with ligaments and a median nerve that passes through it.
If this nerve gets compressed, which happens if you work at the
keyboard relentlessly, it results in pain and numbness in the hand,
a condition called the carpal tunnel syndrome. Precautions: Maintain
wrists in a flat position over the keyboard (soft, padded wrist-rests
can help), and keep lower arms parallel to the floor.
YOUR EYES: Constantly staring into a
pc can hurt your eyes. "We do concentrated work on the computer
and, therefore, blink less, which ends up drying and dehydrating
the eyes," says Dr. L.R. Seth, Ophthalmologist at Indraprastha
Apollo Hospital. This results in headaches, irritated and/or dry
eyes, blurred vision, occasional doubling of vision, and changes
in colour perception. Precautions: Take frequent breaks, avoid contact
lenses at work, keep the pc screen below eye level, and get an anti-glare