Alaipayuthey – A simple love story which evolves in the by lanes of Chennai and develops in the suburban trains, marks twenty years of existence today. The movie made its premier in Berlin International film festival in 2000 was directed by Manirathnam and music was scored by A R Rahman. You may already be aware of these facts.
Let me tell you what impact this movie had on me.
It was year 2000, I was working with Financial Express as data link Engineer. Basically, I was the guy who connected all the offices in various states to the headquarters. Internet access was quite limited and very few had knowledge about how to use it. Being in media, I had access to all news well before it got printed. The editorial department used to dump all the press release documents which is usually a text in A4 Sheet paper and some maxi sized photos. Apart from my usual role, I had to scan the photos and store it in the library.
One fine Saturday evening a deputy news editor came back from an event, asked me to collect the materials from his table. Along with the materials, I saw a nice wallet lying by the side. Seeing my reaction, the editor asked if I liked it. I nodded my head with enthusiasm. “Its yours” he said. I took the materials and wallet from his table and ran to my place before he could change his mind. The wallet was sturdy and nice. It had a url printed on it. www.baazi.com. I was naturally curious about what it was.
When I typed the URL into the browser, I could see they were selling items. Baazi was one of the pioneers in e-commerce market place in India. I had no idea about how it worked back then. I had thousand questions running in my mind. I had doubts about how the seller gets payment, how people will send money to the website, will they insert their cards into the floppy drive, the questions were endless. I didn’t have enough money to buy anything from the website nor did anything in the site interest me. But still I used to visit the website now and then.
Soon I got lucky.
Brand new audio cassette of musical sensation Alaipayuthey was listed for sale in site for Re 1. Just Re 1. I couldn’t believe my luck. But I didn’t know how to pay for it. I asked my boss, the deputy news editor. He explained me how credit cards can be used for such purchases and then explained me how scared he was to use the credit card online, if money got deducted more than we intended to.
But I was not the one to give up. I troubled him for two days. He accepted to order the cassette with one condition. If his credit card was to be misused, and whatever bill he gets due to this should be borne by me. His credit card limit was Rs. 5000. It was more than a month and half salary for me at that point of time. I made some calculations in mind. Keeping in mind that he might have already used some of his credit limit and the dirt cheap price of the cassette, I decided to go with it. We did buy it from the website. There was no OTP, no double checking. We just entered the name, expiry date and the CVV and voila, the order was placed.
The cassette arrived exactly four days later. It was neatly bubble wrapped and was placed in my boss’s cabin as I had given the office address for speedy delivery. That was my first online purchase. If only we had the technology we have now, I would have made an unboxing video. Lets just let that go for now. Inside the package there was the cassette, a thank you note from the company for purchasing and the receipt for the purchase.
The songs were great. The music quality was really good but I couldn’t enjoy the songs till my boss got his credit card statement. There was no foul play. They had billed exactly 1 re for the cassette.
From then on, baazi website became my go to website that day, which was followed by Rediff shoppie. I have ordered several items for me and my friends through that. Later I got my salary account in ICICI which came with netbanking facilities and debit card.
After a year, baazi was taken over by ebay and the present ebay India website was baazi those days.
Now-a-days we don’t pay for music. But it was a thrilling experience for me. And it also reminds me how far we have come in these twenty years. Signing out with all these nostalgic memories. Time flies.
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