Now, Holland Means More For SMSers

Updated: Apr 25 2002, 05:30am hrs
Beep, beep: (*—*), :*, (()):**. If someone sends you any of this on mobile SMS (short messaging service), see no reason to take offence. These aren’t abuses! Far from it, the message above expands as: “I am in love, kiss, hugs and kisses”.

If someone sends a message saying “HOLLAND”, don’t jump to the obvious conclusion that your pal is amidst tulips in The Netherlands. In the SMS world, that stands for “Hoping Our Love Lasts And Never Dies”. Should any of this leave you SWL (Screaming With Laughter), there’s MTF (More To Follow).

This latest version of mobile lingo is being pushed by Hutchison in the Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Gujarat markets. Publishing partner Penguin Books India has helped create a book to trigger feelings and emotions embodied in, say, *, (()), :), and so on.

Cellular firms see speed as the key motivation behind this ‘intellectual’ pursuit. Encouraging them are SMS freaks like someone who’se been sending over 7,000 messages per month or over 230 messages a day! Such guys can’t afford to type out whole sentences, or even words for that matter. In addition to speed, the key is to spread every new ‘milestone’ in language, far and wide. That’s reason why the Penguin-Hutchison publication has a healthy print run of 30,000. Some copies have been distributed among heavy SMS users. Others are being pushed through select outlets on a first come first serve basis.

Of course, with India’s total mobile population of over six million, a few thousand copies of the lingo may well be just a drop in ‘SMSspace’. NTW (Not To Worry). Penguin’s original (UK) edition, which retails at 2.50 in the UK, will soon be sold in India too. Plus, there’s a sequel called “Fun Stuff 4 mobiles,” coming into the market by July, says Penguin Books manager Ananth Padmanabhan. Included there will be some good old Hinglish too.

Wondering why SMS is hot Well, it chips in 2-3 per cent in the revenues of most cell providers, so what if some of the bucks may be coming at the cost of revenues on voice. There’s also the inevitable prospect of 5-fold growth to 10 per cent in coming years. Equally important, SMS is seen as fostering closer bonding between a cell user and his machine.

Moral All you rents (parents), if the SMS on your screen still appears like greek, NTW. Just stop KYFC (keeping your fingers crossed) and *H* SMS!