Friday, April 16, 2010

A Well Connected Generation

Lady Gaga released her new music video “Telephone”. When the lady decides to sing, you thank “You- Tube”, promptly download her video and contribute to the one million hits she gets. For the faint-hearted there’s always an “official clean version available”.

Long, long ago the telephone was used to, well... just talk. The invention of this device is mired in controversy and a confusing collection of claims and counter claims. When we were young, life was simple. We were told Graham Bell invented the telephone, we didn’t question it. The closest we came to a controversy was Marconi and his radio (it is alleged that our own Jagdish Bose invented the radio but was too lazy to go and file a patent). We now have Google and a million idle scholars. We are no longer sure of anything in this world.

Coming back to the telephone, it was an ugly instrument and the numbers had to be dialled (Nowadays my husband just barks a “Call John Mathew” on his Blackberry). Getting through was half the battle won. People spoke, they complained, made polite enquires. Cross connections were the rigueur de norm, intermittently a love story blossomed. I heard my first Nazia Hassan number on my phone courtesy a friend who played her hot new track for me. The cordless phone soon made its’ debut. We could now walk around the house, go up and down the stairs and discuss the hot new guy who had just joined college.

The 90’s ushered in the telecommunication revolution. The telephone became cellular. For a few years it was a status symbol. I have witnessed people having imagined conversations on their mobile, only to have it ring a few minutes later. My dad often used to run his car over his device. No, he wasn’t testing it for resilience. On their way out of the car, the mobile would drop off my mom’s lap where she would keep it for safekeeping. She had yet to get used to its size.

People found new uses for it, when they were bored they would make hoax calls and occasionally get arrested. Then there was this exciting new feature called texting. Furiously texting creatures were fast becoming part of the city’s landscape. Couples were breaking up on the phone, much awaited movie storylines were getting leaked and circulated, pathetic jokes were getting forwarded. We also started getting harassed by telemarketers. Everything from credit cards to would-you-like-to-support-a-few-causes is being promoted through the phone. The MMS feature heralded a sleaze phase. Voyeurism was now scaling new heights.

My mobile is an extension of my arm. It stores and plays my favourite tracks, I sometimes click photos with it, use it to surf the net, check my mails and text my buddies. Occasionally I use it to make phone calls and keep in touch with the men in my life (the milk vendor, veggie guy, gas walah and the husband). On our recent trip to Copenhagen, the GPS feature came to our rescue in zeroing on the Railway station exit nearest to our hotel. It saved us a long walk and, believe me, it’s not easy when you are lugging two mammoth suitcases and a couple of handbags (the Rays do not believe in travelling light).

Shoaib Malik gave a new dimension to this ubiquitous device. He went ahead and had a telephone nikah, suffered amnesia and made a miraculous recovery. If people can use the phone to flirt (ask Tiger Woods), serenade, break-up, why can’t they use it to marry?

Recently a blogger friend of mine typed an entire post on his device (his mobile). So what will people think of next? A phone that gives you a back-massage, tames your frizz and has an inbuilt pepper spray?

What a brilliant thought! I’d better hurry and file for copyright. I wouldn’t want the origin of my path breaking ideas to be mired in controversy and confusion. At least some things should be crystal clear to our future generations.


  1. that was so true and raised a laugh too!
    love your thinking!

  2. That was very witty post. I rarely use my phone and now don't laugh at it. :)

  3. Thank you, magiceye. You make magic with your lenses :)

    Nethra : And disconnected is good. It's such a wastage of time.

  4. Haha, this is great, I want another very practical service from my phone. It should be able to guage my body heat and smell and go into an alarm/vibratin mode as soon as it senses that I have forsaken it somewhere and like a petulant child lead me to it with cries..That's the only imaginative/possible method I could device to ensure that I don't lose any more phones ever ever again!!!

  5. Complicated, why don't you just hang it from your neck or clip it to your loop?

    Btw my daughter has this adorable caller tune,that screams for help like a petulant child.

    "Somebody help me pleaaseee..I have been kidnapped"

  6. That's a ringtone I should have...:) I have lost enough bracelets, chains and what nots to know that no kind of lock and key system is a fool proof device to ensure I don't lose stuff...I think its a gift to be naturally woolly-headed..:)

  7. Try installing a closed circuit camera that follows you around :)

  8. Earlier Manicured hands were the attraction - now the brand of your extension is the focus (Cell Phone) sometimes a reason for grudges against the husband/boyfriend for not presenting the best, latest, coolest gadget.

    only if this amazing imvention could go to work, wish birthdays and anniversaries, raise disciplined kids et al while I enjoy a quiet vacation with ice tea (or margaritas) in Pamjgani!


Psst... let me know what you are thinking.


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