Thursday, May 18, 2006

Necessary evil

Location S3 compartment of Tuticorin express: Vivek and me are on the upper berth. Train is just about to move. The people in the coupe below do not know each other. In about two minutes some one's mobile phone rings. One of the guys below answered. Vivek and me look at each other, smile and I say 5 minutes he says no 10 minutes. This is a game we have invented. There are no rules in this game just plain betting. The bet is on how long before two strangers stuck with each other in a train coupe start talking about mobile networks and cell phone models. That day I won. As soon the guy finished the call, the person opposite asked "what connection?" and thus the saga continued.

This is the latest national sport these days. Flaunting latest cell phone models and boasting about how good their network is over the others. "Hutch has no connectivity in Madurai" says one "now they have tied up with BPL so there is coverage” says the other. Ask them how many towers airtel has put up in their neighbourhood, pat comes the reply and quiet often right too. Ask them who lives in their neighbourhood they may not know (actually if they are tamilians chances are they will :-) The other favourite pastime is showing off the ringtones on their phones. It's not very uncommon to hear series of annoying cell phone tones on trains, at bus stands and in college campus or at weddings! And of course at concerts and meetings mobile phone owners are pain in the ***. Apparently the know it all gadget freaks slept through the talk on keeping the phones switched off or at least in silent mode when in such situations.

Sure these things irritate me that's why I am wasting my precious morning writing about it. What I find most disconcerting is when people expect you to have cell phones. Let alone my professional peers even the call taxi chaps as for it. The guy wouldn't book a taxi unless I give him a mobile number. A little irritated I gave him Vivek’s mobile number. Obviously I don't want some random taxi driver who actually knows my address, also to have my mobile number. Next morning when the taxi came I realised that there was no sinister reason to it. It was just a money saving technique the taxi guy had evolved. How you ask me? See he has a mobile phone and just as he reaches or if he can't find your house he gives a missed call to your mobile number. So when you see a missed call you call back and so he doesn't have to pay to find your stupid house or to tell you he has reached. Ingenious indeed! I wonder he is so sure that we cannot resist calling back a total strange number. Most of the time it turns out to be a wrong number!

A journalist friend of mine once told me that people look at him as if he was an idiot when he says he has no cell phone. He continued being an idiot for a while but buckled in and got himself the necessary evil.

I feel very uncomfortable about calling someone on their mobile unless they gave me the number or I know them well enough. I feel mobiles are too personal. Given a chance I will avoid it as much as possible. When a friend of mine discovered this trait of mine she called me old lady!


The Kid said...

Neat Work!
why didnt you tell me about this blog?
That article on the Tuticorin Xpress was neat!


Santosh said...

:D No comments !

I earned my bread, butter and beer by working for a cell phone company for 5 years ! If people would not have talked about cell phones and netwroks ! life would have been tough :o)