Cellphones have become part of our life; so much so that an ad campaign shows the mobile phone craving for a man’s attention – through urgent ringtone – even when he, with his would be wife, are taking rounds of the nuptial fire (agni), or attending a funeral, or a class in a college or even in the library. Together with the cellphone have come various styles of attending to the calls or talking on the phone. I am listing out some that I have observed. You can add to it in the comments below.The queerest of them all is what I call the Jain wayof talking. This person has the hand in front of his mouth, covering his trap, half his face and extending it to the cellphone at his ear. He or she is convinced that if they don’t direct the sound energy from the mouth to the ear, the phone and hence the recipient won’t be able to catch it.
Then there is the man who feels every phone conversation is a public address. He walks up and down with his phone at the ear and is loudly discussing transactions with the third party. He is totally oblivious of the crowds around him; however, they can’t be so oblivious of him thanks to his irritable pacing and taking for granted that people around him would be totally interested how much he gets out of a truck full of old gunny bags.
I just love this style: the phone rings and the man or the woman looks around as if betrayed by the ring. He or she then picks up the phone furtively and goes to the corner of the room like a scared puppy and talks into it like a prompter in a play.
|Pic courtesy: zyozy.org|
Then there is the one more used to the olden day (early twentieth century) phones that had an earphone stuck to the ear and a microphone attached to a wire in front of the mouth. So, in memory of this style (at that time a necessity) he or she alternates the cellphone to the ear and the mouth. For example, he puts the phone directly in front of his mouth, mutters something, and then quickly takes it to his ear to catch what the other party has to say.
I am rather amused by this inimitable (for me) style: in this the person speaking on the phone sticks it between his shoulder, neck and ear and then goes about doing other important things such as skinning a radish or shelling peanuts with both his hands. Most often than not he has a lit beedi in his mouth that he puffs at without the use of his hands. And just when he is comfortable with doing all the three things, the other phone in his trouser pocket rings. I keep imagining this guy working in a circus or playing a number of instruments together like Vinod Khanna in the Hindi movie Amar, Akbar, Antony.
Then there is the one who can only be called ‘lambi race kaa ghoda’ (Long race horse). He knows that his conversation is not a matter of minutes but hours. He not only keeps putting the phone to alternate ears, but, even in the same ear he keeps shifting the angle to match with whether he wants to hear or talk or even to emphasize a point.
You have seen and heard of the person with ears plugged and a wire going to the trouser pocket or speaking through a bluetooth device. However, none of these are for the eternal lover. He walks past you as if talking to himself whilst in his pocket is the cellphone on speaker. He describes everything to his girlfriend including rain, guy almost falling off a bus and the lovely puppy eating the ice cream cone thrown away by the rich-kid. He is also in a perpetual trance and, if it is not for the kind hearted old woman, he’d walk straight into the open man-hole.
This man is rich, very rich. He is a Telugu from the rich East Godavari district. He has any number of latest models of cellphones. He has one on his left ear, another on his right and one in the hand on which he is playing Angry Bird. Next to him his three daughters, two sons, his wife etc all are doing the same on their phones. You don’t find it funny? Well, niether does the air hostess who had made a fervent announcement to switch off the cellphones before the take off.
|pic courtesy: textually.org|
Then we have this girl. The cover of her phone resembles a cassette or a pencil box or a giant eraser. You are amused that she can talk to such objects but she is carrying on a conversation as if it is perfectly normal for people to talk to an eraser.
We have the group cellphone. On this phone first the man talks and then throws it to a woman at the other end of the railway compartment and shouting to her, “Mata ji kaa hai, tumhaare baare mein poochh rahin hain.” (It is from your mother enquiring after you). Just when you pity the couple for not getting a seat together on the 6:30 PM fast from Churchgate to Viraar; she throws it to their son tring to edge himself closer to a man about to get down, with, “Vikaas, beta, mata ji ko pranaam kar le” (Vikaas my son, pay your respect to your grandmother). Before, Vikas can throw it to the rest of the family, you get down at Borivali after having endured long-distance telephony.
We also have this guy who takes his phone everywhere whilst talking, even to the toilet. It appears that next they will have a cellphone that dispenses toilet paper.
|Pic courtesy: best-choice-tech.com|
Then there is the man who feels it is totally the fault of the cellphone that life is treating him bad. Hence, he directs all his anger on the phone, screams, shouts, waves it angrily as if to throw it. For him the biggest crib in his life is the phone – his biggest enemy. People around him pity the makers of the cellphones. He could be used in the cellphone companies for carrying out endurance test of the phones.
I end with this guy who could have been a director in a movie. He builds the scene on his phone and includes you as the other actors (extras) in the movie. He gives you directions like “Shhh” and even asks you, “Sala samajhta kya hai apne aap ko?” (What does he think of himself?)
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