Close to a decade ago, it was the second day of the New Year and the first working day of the year. As usual I left with my wife on my vehicle even as the landline was ringing on. We diverged from a suburb of Chennai to different routes. When I reached office, I came to know that my uncle, who loved me most, had passed away and the message came on subsequent landline calls, minutes after I left home. I rushed to his house was the last to reach. I felt embarrassed. My wife, who had a mobile phone, got the news earlier and skipped office. Till then nothing else could compel me to have a mobile phone. I strongly believed it was not essential and would only make us lazy.
My wife and I converge at the same suburban location to would travel together to an interior part of the suburb. Though we opted for different modes of transport, one need not wait for more than 15 minutes. The EPABX of my wife’s office used to shut down at 5.30pm whereas I’d leave mine past 6.15pm. Sometimes, either of us waited for over half an hour. We wouldn’t complain, as I couldn’t be reached after office hours. Together we went home happily. When I was forced to have a official mobile phone by my boss six months later, it was like a man in jeans trying to come in terms with a dhoti.
It was the usual chores in the working days. I had to sit late in office. My wife called me on my phone to ask where I was. Having not informed her of getting late, I’d say I had just started though I was yet to leave office. As she was held up in traffic, she too thought she would reach before me. Between calls in transit, I learnt nothing improved in traffic jams. There were many unnecessary calls. Once I happened to be on time and my wife came 20 minutes later. I waited and waited, called my wife twice. I grew restless as I felt I was waiting for hours. As she came, there was an exchange of unpleasantries. The misunderstanding spilled over to the next day and the blame game for many more days.
Nothing good really happened after I had got a mobile phone. Patience was wearing thin. Today, most of us while leaving home are shocked when we forget to take the gadget along. We run back as if we have left behind a treasure, a duty not reserved for missing money or tickets.
The cellphone can be put to good use with its basic utility of incoming and outgoing calls. Else, while chipping away the user with radiation, with every upgrade, it decimates the alarm clock, calendar, camera, voice and video recorder. When it graduates to a tablet or smart phone, it even replaces a TV or PC. No one ever realises that the bright display could spoil the retina, the smaller fonts could diminish vision, headphone could send unwanted waves to the brain and speaker phones irritate those nearby.
Waging a war within myself on the pros and cros, I drove my vehicle to the gates of my home. It was late, the house was locked from inside and my Mom had put my little children to sleep. To reach her, I sent a missed call to her mobile phone, thus laying the foundation for putting to rest another gadget — the calling bell.