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 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.

Music. Not to the Ear !

The evolution of technology has brought about a revolution in the way we live our lives. Examples galore. Post offices, Greeting cards, Diskettes, Video Casette Players ( VCRs / VCPs ) etc.

Add to that list : Simple Ring tones !

Over the past couple of months, i have been privy to some rather strange ring tones. Mobile phones these days, come with de riguer features of being able to create / download your own ringtones ! And sometimes people use it so very well, that you want to grab their mobiles and throw it in the Mumbai flood !

Sample these :

a. We are in the middle of Dasavatharam, the now popular Tamizh movie. Time is in the vicinity of midnight. A mobile goes of. Not the usual ring, ring…. But ‘Kausalya Suprabatham…’ Loud and clear ! The guy picked up the phone and spoke. ( I seriously think it was an ardent kamal fan waking up people). That aside, you get the point.
Suprabatham for ring tone !

b. ‘Excuse me boss. You have a text message’. Says a message tone. For some reason, the junior most keeps getting this message, essentially so in the company of the senior most. In the loudest volume possible. That could be hidden agenda there too !

Babies wail. Movie stars croon. Dogs bark. Buses Honk. Elephants trumpet. Politicians Howl. Singers talk. Cows chomp. Friends chatter. Micheal Jackson says ‘Dangerous’. Football fans singing. Geese cackling. And other unexplainable ‘sounds’.

Imagine such strange noises emanating from deep down. I mean trouser pockets. In the middle of a conversation. Or worse, a presentation to a potential client. Imagine you standing there and finishing with a flourish, ‘Gentlemen, this is the most innovative product of this century. when do we get the cheque ?’ And there goes a ring tone. Of dogs barking or cows chomping. Or worse, a song like ‘ You cant touch this’ !

While ring tones help distinguish yourself, these take things too far. Especially if you bring them to the conference table !! And especially so if you set them to go off at the highest volume !

Many years ago, a colleague played a prank on another, who we shall call John. John had left his phone unattended. This colleague picked up John’s phone and barked into the phone.

‘” John, pick up your fu***** phone.”
‘” John, pick up your fu***** phone.”

He then proceeded to set it up as a ring tone and left the phone where it was. John came back to the cafetaria and in a pre-planned quiet moment, a call landed on Johns mobile which promptly translated to

‘John pick up the fu***** phone’ !

Momentary perplexity confounded John. It took longer for him to realise that it was his phone after all. And an eternity for him to understand what hit him ! Well, well, well…those were times.

I drew inspiration to write this after reading about a new ringtone that adults cant hear. Only children can !!! Its just above adults listening frequency. Read it here ! They call it the Mosquito Ring tone !

The world is moving to a strange tune. And i am not sure if it is music. Especially to the ear !