June 7, 2011

People and their phones

The age of the mobile phone being a convenience is over. They are now part of our bodies. I am not saying we’re all cyborgs who are useless without our electronic prosthetics. No, Not yet. But we’ll eventually get there. If you’re thinking that my prediction is ridiculous, then explain why society expects you to carry your phone everywhere you go and answer it every time it rings irrespective of where you are or what time of the day it is?

Tool or Not Tool

I use my phone like I use my iron box. I tend to leave it in my room unless I am absolutely sure that I’d need it. For me it is just a tool – more useful than an iron box but ultimately, just a tool. Apparently, this point of view is against social convention. That is the reason I, as a human being, am constantly yelled at for not answering the phone.

The reasons why I don’t answer phone calls are usually deep. It’s not like I don’t want to talk to you. It’s more like I want to talk to you but only when I really miss you. And people don’t respect that sentiment!

It sounds lame because it is the truth! Do you really think if I wanted to lie to you, I’d come up with a story that involves putting the phone in a corner and forgetting about it? Don't insult my intelligence!

Besides, this is not a big deal. All my friends have figured out their own ways to reach me. Some people send me text messages that usually read, “Pick up the phone!” or “call me back”. Closer friends send more aggressive texts like, “call me back you idiot!” or “what is wrong with you?” Friends in IIT usually contact me either by calling other people in my hostel or sending foot messengers (juniors) if it the matter is urgent!

People who Call Me

Forgetting the phone in silent mode happens only when I attend a class which in itself is quite rare. Sometimes I don’t answer the phone because I am in the middle of doing something. Like listening to a guitar solo or a deep interesting thought. But in situations like these, I do call back promptly within ten minutes. Even then, the first thing that people ask me is, “Why didn't you answer when I called?” or “What were you doing?

If I tell them that I was thinking deeply and did not want a phone call to disturb my train of thoughts, they take it real personal, accuse me of giving lame excuses and may even conclude in private that I am an obnoxious asshole!

Had I told them that I was in the middle of a useless meeting, it would have been a perfectly legitimate reason! It proves that humans sometimes prefer a bullshit lie to a lame truth. How come being in a pointless meeting is nobler than trying to improve my mind? These are the kind things I think about all day. These people make me think about those things. And then they complain that I don’t answer their calls! Now tell me whose fault is it really?

The Smarty-pants Phone People

Flicked this one from Flickr
I don't care much about my phone but there are people who consider their phone to be a physical part of their body. A part so private, that they just hate the idea of someone getting near it. Sometimes you casually go, “Hey nice phone” and try to take a look at it. They just go livid, “Whoa Dude… careful! That’s my phone! Did you just try to touch my phone? What the hell man! What is wrong with you?

What can we do? Some people are very touchy-touchy about their phones. Why shouldn’t they? After all cell phones – especially the ones that respond to touch – are very sensitive pieces of equipment. May be that is why they are always protected carefully in specially designed covers that hold them tightly in place while giving just enough breathing space to ring and vibrate!

The Bad Memory People

Then there are some who claim that they “cannot imagine life without a cell phone.” People with bad memory I would say because most of them were alive some ten years back when we all actually lived a life without being drenched in electromagnetic radiation emanating from our pants!

The Always-on-the-phone People

Image courtesy: businesstravellogue.com
Of course we all have friends who are on the phone all the time. By all the time, I mean literally all the time. Eight to ten hours a day! The kind of people who remind me that George Bernard Shaw got it right when he said “youth is wasted on the young”!

Have you ever wondered what they talk about? Because if they’re on the phone for 10 hours a day, then it follows that they are not doing anything in life which implies that they’ll have nothing to talk about. But then they are still talking! And it baffled me.

Being a man of exceptional scientific temper, I did a little research (eavesdropping) on my own. It turns out their conversations usually involve describing what is happening around them. And it’s not like they’re in the middle of a war zone or a football match to have something interesting to say all the time! They give a live commentary of their lives as it happens. Except that they have no life! On the boring scale, it’s equivalent to describing the growth of a tree in real time!

The most disturbing experience in this area happened to me a couple of years back. I had this friend of mine who had this reliance to reliance unlimited calling with his girlfriend. I had some work with him. As usual, he was on the phone with her. I asked him if he had a few minutes. He nods at me and said, "Honey, stay on the line for 15 minutes, I have some work"

<-- additional reading

The non-stop-texting People

The only people who are worse than the always-on-the-phone people are the non-stop-texting people. I don’t even want to dignify their lives by making fun of them on my blog! People who are continuously tweeting their their facebook updates from their Blackberries deserve a special mention here.


Have you ever wondered who actually writes those chain SMSes that everyone keeps forwarding to everyone else every morning? I wonder if someone is actually paid to do that. As an unwilling recipient of a lot of chain SMSes from people whose numbers I never even cared to save, I speak on this subject with considerable authority.

Those 20 friends you have who spam your phone first thing in the morning with good morning messages don’t really care your morning! They don’t give a shit about what kind of a day you had. All they’re interested in is paisa vasool! You see, these people have “invested” 30 bucks in an SMS pack using which they can send up to 3000 messages in a month and they don’t want them to go waste! You are a mere cog in the wheel of cheapness that encompasses our whole society! How do you feel about that?

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