LIFE

To be cell-shocked is the in thing

CAN WINTER BE FAR BEHIND?: The mist is back in Bangalore, and a girl and her pet soak in the sunlight probably to ward off the early morning chill. _ Photo: Murali Kumar K.

CAN WINTER BE FAR BEHIND?: The mist is back in Bangalore, and a girl and her pet soak in the sunlight probably to ward off the early morning chill. _ Photo: Murali Kumar K.  

RAO, THE periodical visitor to these columns is cell phone-shocked, to coin a new phrase.

The poor man is wondering why he joined the mobile telephony brigade, whose numbers were huge enough without him as a late entrant.

While he was groping with the techniques of sending SMS, there were volumes of these messages overflowing in his inbox. "SMS 456 for unique offer and prizes galore" read one that touted a new pre-paid plan. Another was for the service provider's fifth anniversary bash. Yet another was for instant move ticketing and the fourth was offering a low-cost plan for overseas calls.

After wracking his brains over this multitude of offers, Mr. Rao decided to delete them all and keep his inbox empty. One never knew, there could even be a serious message sometime.

His children fought over the correct ring tone for their daddy. Ms. Rao also pitched in. After a round of fairly animated discussion over the comparative merits of the latest Indipop tune, Kal Ho Na Ho, and a Western import, Mr. Rao decided to settle for innocuous ring tone with no musical pretensions. "After all we have a television set and two music systems at home" was his explanation.

The rest of the family did not buy that argument but decided to wait and give him more time.

One reason why Mr. Rao decided to go cellular (there, another new phrase) was because he was fed up with wrong calls on his landline, both at home and office. The latest in mobile telephony would probably spare him that bother, he fondly imagined. Nowadays he is not sure about that.

He gets calls meant for a Subhash somewhere, a Ganesh and an Amit and a Hussain Bhai and is on the verge of an identity crisis.

He complained to the service provider and was sweetly told he could change his number, with a payment entailed of course.

Although not particularly tech savvy, he learned fast enough about charging his phone and how to arrange a call divert when he need not use it and was close enough to a landline.

Or when he was under a shower or while sleeping. He does not forget his mobile charger all that frequently either. He has acquired a hands-free set of earphones.

At first he was conscious and feared someone may mistake it for a hearing aid. You will hear soon about Mr. Rao's further adventures with his mobile phone.

By K. Satyamurty

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