A vacation, a transistor radio or a bicycle. If these were the excel-in-exam incentives for GenEx, nothing but today's fanciest gizmos ' not to mention style accessories ' would do for GeNext. And leading the pack of prized possessions this exam season is the Apple iPod.
'We are seeing great sales among students appearing for exams,' says Sanjay Chordia of Systematix Media, an Apple dealer. 'They know exactly which model they want and come fully prepared with the knowledge of the features.'
After going through the grind of the exams, there is one demand ringing out loud and clear among the teenage ' and below ' brigade: 'I want my iPod.'
'I was supposed to get an iPod as my birthday gift, but I finally got it as an exam gift,' says Sourav Bhowmik, who has just appeared for his Class IX finals. 'I'm a music buff and the iPod is a great style accessory as well,' admits Sourav, the proud owner of a 2 GB iPod Nano.
Besides the iPod, other electronic gadgets and gizmos are scoring on the post-exam hit list as well. 'The demands from students have definitely changed,' says Gautam Jatia of Landmark. 'In our childhood, a book, a pen or a watch would be the prize. Now, children ask for mobile phones, digital cameras or gaming consoles like the PlayStation,' adds Jatia, who still treasures the Parker pen he received after his Class X board exams.
And parents, too, don't seem to mind the pocket pinch to make their children feel extra special.
'I heard my two sons talking between themselves about the iPod. So, when my younger son did well in his ICSE exams this year, I decided to gift him one,' says Nilesh Mehta, who bought son Kunal a U2 special edition iPod.
It's not spoiling the children in any way, asserts Mehta. 'Of course, when I was a kid, a vacation or a radio would be good enough, but the world is changing. Besides, my son understands that the iPod has been bought with my hard-earned money and, thus, treasures it even more.'
A host of initiatives from Apple ' a new 1 GB model for Nano, extended protection plans and price cuts ' is helping dealers cash in better on the iPod craze.
'The iPod is a huge craze among the teens, particularly the Nano and Video models. Within less than a month of operations, I've sold more than 30 pieces,' offers Ajay Laddha, an Apple dealer who has recently opened an outlet in City Centre.
With multiple iPods in a family these days, some kids are starting really early. 'We have around 10 iPods in the house, so it was quite natural that my daughter would ask for one,' says Priyanka Rungta, who bought an iPod Shuffle for daughter Shivantika after her Class IV exams this year. Rungta, who runs a software company, is a gadget person who bought her first iPod four years ago. 'I think it's a wonderful device and everybody should have one.'
That's music to the ears of Apple sellers, especially at exam time.