Missed calls and milk !

a temple with a telecom tower as its backdrop
and a statue with the legendary conch at the front end. Kodai
There was a far away time when conches were blown to announce battle. Of course, pigeons flew with messages. The temple bell rang to announce day, and night.

Those were different times though. It must have been wonderful, to live in those times. In the midst of simple joys and comforts of nature.

Well, the conches, don’t exist anymore. At least not as a communication tool. And definitely not to announce battle ! Pop corn fed pigeons don’t carry messages. And living life by the bell happens largely in prisons !

But think of the modern day mobile phone. Isn’t that a conch of some kind ? That which announces love, battle, news, net..what not ! A little stretched perhaps. But somewhere there !

There was a time, not very long ago, that a call on the mobile phone, used to cost Rs. 16/- a minute. These days, you can get by for months at that cost. Especially if you know of the “Great Indian Missed Call trick” !

The other day, the missus’s mobile rang. One ring, two rings. And stopped. The missus looked at who is calling, and didn’t pick up the call. But went about attending various chores.

Looking particularly puzzled, (which is a slightly different from the ‘perpetually puzzled’ look that the missus thinks is part of me), some sniffing around was done.

Only to find out, that two rings, at 9.00 AM, from the maid who comes to clean, translates to : “I would be late for work today”.

Not a rupee spent. Message conveyed. To simplistic minds like mine, this sounds like the Chinese Army exchanging war messages !

And when friends tell me ‘Give me a missed call. we’d come down to get you’, the mind leaps in amusement. For, my elementary mind works this way : “a call can be made. To miss it or not, is the receiver to decide. How can a missed call be given?”

But with a ‘missed call’ pact like that, what they mean is ‘when you call, i will be missing it…but i’ll get the message that you are here’ !

Zero cost ! Not that they are in abject penury. Or doing this blaming the economy. This has how it has been when Lehman brothers and the others were still standing.

So,if you are in India, and are wondering why call rates are going south, you know why. Don’t you! There sure must be many reasons. But, my elementary mind thinks only of the great Indian missed call trick!

With the vegetable vendor to the CEO carrying phone, of course, we have one of the cheapest call rates in the world. Take a look.

A glass of tea is Rs. 5
A glass of milk is Rs. 10/-
A glass of badam milk is Rs.15/-

But down there…intercity dialing. All India..is 1 Rupee !

Here is a Choice. Between a glass of milk and ten minutes of talk on the phone ! My elementary mind stays with the mobile phone.

For with calls, you can miss them, and still convey the point. There is no point with spilt milk. Not even crying. Hmm.

I rest my case.

22 thoughts on “Missed calls and milk !

  1. Neha says:

    lolzzz….ab me aur kya bolu, the post is damn hilarious…when you started it, I was wondering how u gonna fit in the miss call thingi, but loved the post and narration…

    “Great Indian Missed Call trick” – loved this…

    another nice thing to know that I am not the only person cribbing about puzzled look on my husband’s face…:)

  2. amreekandesi says:

    Nice one! I too had been thinking of writing about this amazing Indian cost saving mechanism!

  3. aativas says:

    one of my friends’ kid – an engineering student doesn’t like to be called a kid anymore – was staying with me. there was just a ‘one ring’ calls to her. i curiously asked her what it meant. it just meant ‘i rememberd you at this moment’ or ‘good night’ – something like that. i was amazed at their intelligence..

  4. Nice post and wonderful pics.

  5. Arunn says:

    its true… india has the lowest calling rates in the world…. to call from dubai to india is Rs.75 (6 dirhams) per minute and to call from india to dubai is Rs.6 per minute….. but u know, i get missed calls from india indicating me to call back from here…. wat a logic!!!!…. but believe me, the great indian missed call trick still works…. BUT THE OTHER WAY ROUND…..

  6. Intelligent shopkeeper I must say.

  7. sujata says:

    missed calls are a craze among the lovelorn youth. I ring means I love you. two rings mean come to the window three would mean i wont be seeing you as planned!! I am quite hawk eyed on such matters and worse than any sniffer dog..so ask me..i will give you the entire dope on miss calls..its all about understanding!!

  8. Lovely post man…badam milk..lol!!

  9. She observes
    this dicey world
    chewing the cud
    behind the man
    with the conchshell
    as he bravely competes,
    with mindless obedient
    departing in a rush.
    Far away
    the missus,
    glances and purses her lips.
    A missed call
    to tell her
    the milk van won’t come today.
    The cows
    are part of a bandh,
    the support
    price for electrons…

  10. ♥ Braja says:

    For me, the sound of the conch is still an often-heard call throughout the day….and I love it :))

  11. Very Intersting!

    The next time you get a missed call from it signals ‘I liked your post’


  12. cyber gipsy says:

    A person crossing the road gets hit by a loaded speeding truck. Bleeding all over and badly injured, just about to lose his conscious, he tells one of the people gathered around him, ‘ abey kya dekh rahe ho ? Ambulence ko ek MISS CALL de do ! ” and faints.
    I don’t know whether he is still alive or not !

    Even in African countries much poorer than ours, this miss call culture is missing – friends from Kenya, Tannzania and Botswana tell me.

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  14. loved your thought abt ‘missed calls’: indeed, never thought abt it before…isn’t it the receiver’s prerogative to ‘miss’ a call?:)

  15. Rush says:

    lol…STd calls @ re. 1…really neat.

    Ur post on conches and communication reminds me of mah school days…best friend anyatama (bong babe) and me used to go down to play every evening…and before that her mom used to have her evening pooja, starts with the conch and in 10 min…anu is downstairs ringing my bell. The conch was a reminder, its evening and time to play.
    They moved out of the building eventually, and so did our communication tool.

  16. nsiyer says:

    nice one, Kavi. Hilarious. When someone calls me and disconnects after one ring, I understand the miser is playing another sort of missed call trick. I dont ring back in such cases. I chose to miss the call.

  17. cyber gipsy says:

    /**The next time you get a missed call from it signals ‘I liked your post’ Vivek**/

    heh heh heh @ Vivek ! That one didn’t ‘miss’ the target. Hit the bull’s eye !

  18. You definitely major in the minor stuff Kavi!

    From now on we will refer to it as a missed conch.


  19. Aparna says:

    Missed calls have become part of our culture. In Bengal, there are songs called ‘missed calls’. Often I hear expressions like ‘ek missed call maar dena, main aa jaunga’
    I loved that menu card. Any day I would prefer to call up somebody than drink a glass of badam milk.

  20. Kavi says:

    Neha : Thanks for all the comments. I guess those puzzled looks are a part of married men !!! 😉

    Amreekandesi : Oh, so i stole a march ! I guess you would know best. The difference between voice mail and missed calls !!

    Aativas : Not having children of that age…this indeed is interesting. There seems to be a market for such things. Maybe the telecom operators must take note of these !!

    The Accountant : Ah ! Thanks. Welcome here !

    Arunn : Oh ! poor you. I can understand how it feels. To receive a missed call and being expected to call back. All the way from Dubai. So it extends beyond borders too.

    Hobo : 🙂

    Sujata : Oh boy ! oh boy ! oh boy. There seems to quite a science here. Phew ! You seem to know too many details…i guess i must befriend you more ! 😉

    NR : Thanks mate 🙂

    And a big thanks for the award too !

    Ugich Konitari : I take a bow. And i am going to keep taking a bow, every time a poem comes up in the comment box. And i wonder how you can so naturally come up with these…i wonder how much time it takes you…!

    Thanks once again

    Braja : Ofcourse, ofcourse. Yours is a different world. Indeed

    VSP : You have the last word on this. Or may i say the last ring !


    Cyber gipsy : The missed call folklore displays more than what it conceals ! And that instance was just hilarious !


    And you have friends there too..You are connected across the globe pal

    Naperville Mom : Indeed it is. Isnt it !! And the first time someone told me that..’Give me a missed call’ i wondered about that…!! 🙂

    Rush : The communication tools are many. The mobile phone operates in the modern day world in full glory.

    The conch dominates the temples these days. and perhaps mythological serials.

    Anjana: Thanks !! 🙂

    NS Iyer : thank you sir. The miser angle i didnt write about. I wonder how powerful a reason that must be. And i think, it must be quite a miser who does that…!

    Hmm !! 😉

    Sundar : 🙂 Yes. majoring in minor stuff is a major major indeed !!


    Aparna : Songs called missed calls !!! Phew. The land of Bengal takes things to new heights. Indeed.

  21. Swatantra says:

    Nice post!! There is a book on missed calls.. I too follow this many a times, with my friends and brother that when you reach give me a missed call.. or when i start i will give them a missed call..

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