Tuesday, August 30, 2011

On not answering the telephone!!

I looked at the watch as I woke up from the deep slumber. The eyes struggled hard to focus at the mobile screen which lay next to my bed innocently with the screen lighted. Damn! Just 1.25 AM. What a time to be woken up from a sleep when you were enjoying a nice dream!!! The culprit was the message “Best Property deals in Gurgaon…. blah. I would have hit the guy on his head, if he was around. This was disgusting.

The pestilence has grown by leaps and bounds and every day I spend a few precious minutes to clear all such junk messages sent at unearthly hours. I am sure the story is no different for most of us.

On Sunday, after finishing the domestic chores I settled down to enjoy an afternoon siesta when the phone bell rang and I was rudely woken up. ‘Sir, This is Swati from XYZ company ‘she blabbered in a sing song voice’.

‘Yes, what do you want’, I asked.

‘Sir, this is regarding a life insurance policy, she continued”

‘Sorry, I am not interested; I cut her short and disconnected the call.

The privacy of life has been intruded as never before, since the mobiles came into being. There is a bombardment of messages and calls at the most odd times. I am sure William Plomer who penned the humorous article’ On not answering the Telephone bell’ would have died several deaths had he been alive today. There were times when the mobile calls were extremely costly of the order of Rs 16 per minute in late 1990’s as compared to the present day. Possessing a mobile phone was a real luxury and those who carried it were envied. Even then calls would come at an odd hour but would be regarding a compliant or an outage which required urgent attention and we never complained as it was a part of the job. Missing a call was like committing a sin! That was the difference!

Now, I empathize with William Plomer, as to the reason why he strongly detested the telephone, typewriter and a car, and how he could live a happier life even without these gadgets. Next he recalls a typical scene when a telephone rings when we don’t want it to. Either when we are asleep or in the middle of a conversation or going out or taking bath. On these occasions, he suggests, that we should not be tempted to pick it up. Whatever may be the nature of the news it would anyway reach us.He strongly believed that it is a possibility to manage without telephones as in case of an emergency, the good or bad news would still travel. Equally absurd is the fact that we say ‘Hello’ to a total stranger. Since our names are printed in the telephone directory, our numbers are available to everybody. This gives rise to the possibility of unknown people calling us at all odd hours.  He added the remarks of an actor who said that if he were to be in lonely island. He would prefer to carry with him a telephone, bury its wires in the sand and derive great pleasures of watching it dead.

The gen now would however mock at William Plomer as the mobile handset gives the power of being liberated. One can send messages across the globe, indulge in photography or video shoot and exchange with friends, chat ,and remain 24x7 connected to social networks. So what, if some ‘peeping toms’ indiscreetly shoot the amorous escapades for the voyeuristic delight of their friends. The professionals will swear by their Blackberrys, as without them their office would cease to exist.

William Plomer was not essentially against machines, but he was certainly against man’s undue dependence on them He was dead against the domination of machines over man and I feel likewise.
This is to remind us that the only thing permanent in this world is ‘a change’.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, readers can truly relate to this annoying situation! Hope this type of calls will be controlled in the future. Thanks for posting this interesting piece.