Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mobile woes

I clear my bleary eyes, see a dark room and look at my sister reproachfully. She knew better than to wake me up before the sun had made the room too hot to stay in. Ignoring the tinkling noise in the background, I open my mouth to complain but she got in her blow first.

"It is your mobile ringing, idiot"

THAT on the second day after I was given one by my office. 5 AM in the morning and my MD had this irresistible urge for my conversation to start his day with. When every second sound I uttered was a yawn wide enough to swallow the mobile whole.

I know that a whole lot of you will never understand a thing unless I explain. Contrary to popular belief, we are not born with a mobile phone stuck firmly in one ear. In the not too far gone past, these monstrosities were virtually unknown. Believe it or not, even a land-line was something that you had to apply for and wait for a decade - unless your uncle's wife's brother's brother-in-law's father-in-law happened to know some MP or MLA.

Life was bliss! Once you left office, there was no way your boss or anyone could get you back to work OR discuss the pricing of your products, short of running after you to your home - and, even then, if you had a sufficiently talented family, you could hide yourself away in the bathroom while they manfully denied that you were at home. AND then some idiot had to invent the bleeding mobile phone.

Someone has only got to say that something will be given only to important people and people start feeling it is a privilege. Since I was one of the few - and the junior-most - to be given a mobile phone by my office, in the earliest days of its introduction to this country, I was automatically a subject of envy. I could never see it as a privilege - more like a dog leash. Any of my bosses could give it a tug any time of the day and I had to jump. Truly Neighbor's envy, Owner's bane!

Difficult to believe? What then would you think if you were on a vacation in Goa, enjoying the beauties of...err...shall we say...Nature and your leash gives a tug and your office wants to know the costing figures of ammonia at Kalol? Are THOSE the figures you want to be concentrating on while on a beach at Goa, I ask you?

To top it, this instrument that I had was equipped with a powerful microphone. You start of talking in your normal voice and the other end goes "Eh?". You raise your voice a bit and the other person beseeches you to talk louder. You start shouting and the other man says despairingly, "Are you there?" You yell at the top of your voice and all your office colleagues congregate and ask you,"Why do you bother to keep that phone near your mouth. You are yelling loud enough to be heard there without any help from the phone."

Since the day I was saddled with this irritating mechanism, there has not been a single day when I had not harked yearningly back to those days when you could put your office out of your mind the moment you were out of sight of your bosses. I can never fathom this younger generation that seems to prize these things above everything else - even unto wanting them smarter than they themselves are.

More to be pitied than censured, I suppose. They never knew any better days!

44 comments:

  1. I managed 7 years after college without this devilish contraption. Then in 2008, it finally caught up with me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thankfully in my company the bosses themselves forget the office after hours so I am spared the torture. But it was there in my previous company.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ah! Those good old days! You were never in reach of people when you didnt want to be. Playing truant was never as easy as it was then. I pity the youngsters nowadays. Poor beggars. Tsk...

    Dagny

    ReplyDelete
  4. That was really something.. I so wish that happened.. only the part of not getting bothered on Office calls after u left work or on weekends or on holidays. Other than that I am just happy with this little fellow

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can't live without mobiles! Ofcoure, I also block my bosses so that when they call me they get an unreachable tone ... ooopss dnt tell them ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. We were more connected than now even without all these inventions. Now we can block, silence the mobile or even ignore the calls. More than to make calls, I use it to stay connected on social media...yup, more a virtual person.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very relevant points here, Sureshji. Mobile phones are ubiquitous and a nuisance at times.
    I hate it when people don't bother to switch off/silent their phones, which decide to ring in the middle of an interesting scene in a movie-hall!!! Mobile-phone mania seems to have taken over the whole world!
    Of course, Mobile Phones have their advantages too during other situations & crises. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, these things are a bane indeed. Things were not bad when they were not so smart and had functions in accordance with its name 'phone'. Now with email and other smart features it's A pain. People seem to devote all their non sleeping hours looking at these evil things

      Delete
    2. And cut down on their sleeping hours too :)

      Delete
  8. And a few of those deprived of mobiles, in the era when it made it's appearance in this country, actually went around with the cordless phone! And I am not joking!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seen the lot in the initial days - cordless phones; pagers everything :)

      Delete
  9. These are actually the words I wanted to write !!! I hate mobiles :-( It has made me one of the biggest liars in the world. Before that I was such an innocent and nice person :-P ..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha! Nowadays people allow the mobile to lie for them - like Naba above :)

      Delete
  10. Life was much much simpler without mobile phones. But yes, sometimes I wonder how we got through without phones in those days. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Mobile is an organ for me!! The thing that sucks the most now is that I got my Boss even on Whatsapp!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The more organs you have the more diseases you get :P

      Delete
  12. Replies
    1. There we go, Amit, talking the patented language of the old :) - good old days :)

      Delete
  13. Suresh Sir my comment - 'blogger' swallowed it up :(..... :(

    The mobile phone has become a necessary evil for the working class!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keeps happening these days. And some people's comments goes into spam.

      Mahesh - more evil than necessary when you are working :)

      Delete
  14. Suresh i resisted and resisted-till i saw that my maid servant,gardener all had them.Ultimately i had to give in.But i have the most basic model yet.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I tell you! And have you wondered how the human race has suddenly found so much to talk about with so many people all the time? I mean, by comparison, in the 80s and early 90s, we were practically like monks on a vow of silence!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Very true indeed. The flipside of being connected all the time :(

    ReplyDelete
  17. Amazing that it was not so many moons ago and yet it seems like previous life. First dent to my privacy was dealt by a lowly pager, which was hyp when it was launched, by the turn of the century. And the rest of it has been just as you say. May I add to that another monstrosity called video conference? An extension of the phone, one might say, but those who have been grilled by the Gestapo, aka the top brass, day after day will know the pain. Great piece as ever, Suresh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hv heard of this monstrosity - Video conferencing - but luckily escaped the confines of the corporate world before it had caught the fancy of the top brass :)

      Delete
  18. A few weeks back, I was supposed to meet two of my friends for lunch. It's only after I'd left the house. I realized I had left my mobile behind. Guess what happened? I waited for 45 minutes, no one turned up, so I left. It's on my way back to my apartment that I noticed them, splitting their hair in anxiety, wondering why I hadn't turned up, was not picking my phone and wondering if I had slipped in the bathroom and cracked my skull.

    It was unthinkable to them that someone can actually leave the house without their mobile!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think we could easily live without them but as humans love dependencies, here is another one added to the list :) I remember when I was onsite for some work and at 4AM in the morning my office phone rang.. 4AM! Groggily i picked it up only to find a Director from India calling to ask how things were with his arch enemy the onsite guy. I politely tried reminding him that it was 4AM in the morning for me to have this ridiculous conversation and guess what he had to say?? "That's ok, it is evening here"!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How true - we always like to lean on crutches don't we? :) And your that boss sure beat anyone I knew :)

      Delete
  20. Suresh, how ironic that the coveted becomes a curse.
    My status gift by upper management was one of the first two color computer monitors in our large company. After playing with every color combination imaginable, I realized it was simply easiest to have pretty much a standard screen. Luckily, there was no curse that came with my gift.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you Mary! Mine invariably come with a curse

      Delete
  21. True .. so true.. The thing I try is to put it in silent mode when I am not available. People ask later. I say I slept off. Followed by 'I am an avid sleeper'.

    ReplyDelete