lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Friday, June 02, 2006

Call me, I'll call you back

You see them everywhere. Walking down the street, in restaurants, in the malls and hanging out. With hands clapped to their ears, talking away into their cell phones- the young and the older generation, alike.

I find it a bit in bad taste. I carry a cell phone, too. Yes. But that is to keep in touch with home when I am out. I certainly don't feel the pressing need to talk into a phone at bookshops or while eating out or walking down a street. And definitely not so loudly that details of your private life and arrangements can be heard by all those who have the misfortune to be near you. It is one thing to be able to call anyone from anywhere, but entirely another to do so indiscriminately.

Why do you never answer your phone, a friend accused me the other day. (He called in the middle of a facial, my phone was muted to it's softest ring and it was in my bag, which was out of reach; I didn't hear it and wouldn't have answered if I had. I was getting a facial, after all. I find that when someone wants to contact me in a hurry, the urgency is almost never mutual.)

It is my phone, for my convenience; not for yours, I wanted to tell him. I do return calls and answer text messages, but the world is not going to end if I don't answer my phone on the first ring. I check the missed calls log and return calls, but I don't let my phone dictate my life and permeate intrusively into all my activities.

Perhaps it is different for young people, who seem to live their lives chatting, whether into their phones or online.

I was going to theorise that all young people seem to have a pathological need to stay in touch and keep talking. But then I thought of my son, whose phone is always switched off, or out of charge, or misplaced or lost. My husband frets about it. But I have a more philosophical approach. He'll call if he needs anything, I say, and take comfort that no news from him means good news.



Blogger Speech is Golden said...

Aren't mobile phones like most scientific achievements? Useful if used conservatively but life-changing otherwise. I wud vote for discreet ringtones, no long conversations in public and no lavishing all ur savings on getting the trendiest phone.

11:08 am  
Blogger Priya said...

i dont answer my phone either, but for a completely different reason: i dont get signal in the hostel i stay in. which is reason enough for mum to get mad at me if i dont call her atleast once a day. but, like you, now she's come to the conclusion that no news means all is well.

11:18 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ram- It is up to us to decide how much attached to our phones we grow. I vote along with you, no strident ringtones or conversations. It's impossible to have the latest anyhow, in these days of superfast developments.

Priya- Parents tend to worry, its their job description. :D But I am a realist. My husband has an active imagination, and so he frets.

11:49 am  
Blogger Speech is Golden said...

No news is good news:

When I was doing my undergrad in a godforsaken place (which I will not name), my room-mate used to watch me call my parents once a week. it was a routine for me - call home on sunday and talk for exactly Rs.10. tht was before the Re.1 anywhere in India scheme:( . (i have disconnected in the middle of the sentence b'coz time was up)

anyway, this room-mate wudn't call home and simply watched bemused by my trivial, waste-of-good-money routine. if he did call home - it was very simple. "Appa! I am fine. can you MO some 1000 bucks for me. yes. soon. OK! I'll keep the phone down". Bang. Rs.2.40

11:16 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ram- You were a model son, then. :D My son falls into your room-mate's category.

12:20 pm  
Blogger PAROTHAM said...

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11:57 am  

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