Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hello, hello, HELLO?!?

I can’t get over how profoundly phones have changed life as we know it.

I know our parents feel it on a whole different level, because they remembered how it was not to have a phone at all, and would tell you stuff like: “We would have to walk 5 kms to our friend’s house instead of just sitting around and running up enormous telephone bills every month.” For some reason all parents walked a lot when they were young. There seems to be some undiscovered connection between walking and having kids. (Doctor saying to depressed patient “Yes, Mr. Das, I’m afraid if you had walked around town more often when you were a child Mrs. Das would’ve been pregnant RIGHT now.)

Anyhow, to get back to what I was saying.

Take romance for instance. On my frequent trips to the Lalbagh Botanical gardens here (don’t ask) I always notice something which depresses me. There are always zillions of couples around (this isn’t the depressing bit, I’m getting to it) and almost inevitably one of the two will be avidly talking on the phone. Not to each other, not staring deeply into each other’s eyes, not trying to cop a feel when they think no one’s around. But on the phone, talking to someone else. All the while the partner (I am pained to admit it’s usually the male half that is phoneless) looks in the opposite direction with a bored “why doesn’t anyone call ME?” expression.

The future of the human race is at stake here. Ban phones in all romantic spots!

In my office I am privy to the strangest phone behaviour. People get calls from the same person so often that it’s almost like a running conversation throughout the day. Instead of a ‘Hallo? Oh, hi! What’s up? How’s that diet coming along’ it goes like this: “Uuu.” (Don’t ask, I only report what I observe) “Yes”. “Had a biscuit right now?”. “Uuu”. “Let me know when you eat the next biscuit”. SLAM goes the phone, no goodbye, talk later, nothing.

Earlier you could identify a crazy person on the street by how they talked loudly to themselves and burst into gales of laughter without anyone around. Now you have to abstain from setting your dog on such people because they may just have a bloody ‘hands free’ thingy in their ear. (So first check for a phone and THEN let your dogs maul them to death.)

And last but not least - ringtones. Sweet Mother of God. I nearly killed an imbecile colleague for receiving dozens and dozens of calls on her phone with a ringtone that went ‘You’re my cuppy-cake, shweety-pie, pumpy-yumpy-umpkin, you’re my SHWEETY-pie…’ Dozens of them, everyday. And sometimes, just to teach her callers a lesson (probably for not calling often enough) she would let the phone ring…on, and on…and on until I would turn to her with tears in my eyes and beg her to answer the phone.

So yeah, I have mixed feelings about today’s pervasive phone culture. And a little miffed that no one calls me up. After all that trouble I took with my ‘Ekbar aja, aja, aja, aja. Aaaja’ ringtone too!


shreyasi said...

Good to have you back. I thought there was something weird going on-when one sister starts writing the other one falls silent...

db said...

déjà vu, almost: towards the beginning of the millenium, before hands-frees became commonplace, i remember seeing a guy wearing earphones jogging on a beach, mumbling with each step. turned out that what i'd assumed to be a walkman was his phone, with strange wires running up to his ears and mouth. again, i remember thinking along the lines of potential lunacy, just as you've mentioned. :)
Lalbagh ??!!!

Diya said...

i noticed jeet's phone has 'every breath you take' playing. now that's a sinister song, don't you think?!

Ushasi said...

Rimky: Maybe there's just that much inspiration allotted to the Sen sisters...only one can write at a time! We should ask Ma about it...;)
db: Sounds more like someone out of Minority Report than a jogger on a beach.
Diya: That's not his ringtone, that's his hello tune. A ringtone is what EVERYONE hears, a caller tune is what only the person who has called can hear. A much lesser evil that. I have Pearl Jam's 'Last Kiss' as mine.

Nisho said...

Very nice post. :-)

While in college, I used to be called 'the man with the phone'... Read this if you have any doubts on that. I never had a hands-free device though..

I distinctly remember hearing "You’re my cuppy-cake...*&!@%$%...*&^^%%$#@" every 10 mins, every day!!!!

Wanted to throw my phone at her every single time! :-)

Diya said...

i beg your pardon for not differentiating between ringtones and hello tunes! did you just invent that word?! like nippular?! i'll leave you to explain that one...hehe.