My experiments with online browsing at a roadside kiosk in the city
In a good day, I can connect to my wi-fi at home and at office too. On a bad day, when I am away from both the places and stuck in my car and have to urgently send a mail, like this column for instance, my trusted data package comes to the rescue. However, it always pinches me to spend `21 to upload a picture or send a mail and that too on 3G connections as my driver negotiates the potholes and my network keeps reminding me that the connection is unstable.
The Rajeev Gandhi International Airport has free wi-fi. Now, Secunderabad station and Nampally too offer it through their RailTel networks. I’ve visited a café, a boutique, a salon, a spa, a mall and a restaurant in the recent times and found all of them announcing free data they are offering. Interestingly, the board announcing wi-fi was bigger than their ‘special of the day’ at an organic restaurant I went to last weekend.
Hyderabad has become so tech-savvy that even the ubiquitous tea shops have started offering it. This incident happened near the DLF campus at Gachibowli, the hub of IT companies. Amidst roadside parathas, avocado juice, paneer Maggi and soda hubs, I gravitated towards a yellow, sprightly kiosk serving tea and cookies. While I was admiring the variety in tea and the snacks to go with it, my phone scanner asks me if I want to connect to the network here.
Being a wi-fi glutton, I did ask my phone to ‘connect’. While the picture I posted seemed to garner enough number of likes on Instagram, my tea went cold and the cookie soggy. My friend looked at me in disbelief to ask why I had to post the picture then and my explanation – it is ‘insta’gram and had to be done instantly. It cut no ice with him.
Interestingly, you can connect only if you place an order in some places. The manager now can identify freeloaders, or should we say free downloaders, from a mile. At other places, your details are promptly sold to a third party. There is no such thing called a free lunch. Or a free wi-fi. Alas.
— The writer is a popular TV show host, radio jockey, professional singer… and most importantly, a hardcore Hyderabadi)