Random: on cell-phones and such

Posted on October 10, 2010


A long time ago, one of my friends, was telling me about the time when he took off without informing anyone for a trip into the city. His absence, which was not pre-mediated so much as a spontaneous decision, ended up becoming a source of anxiety for everyone who knew him. The rumours started going haywire. “He’d been depressed the other day. You don’t think…”

He returned to class the next morning only to be flooded by an avalanche of worried rants and advice on countering depression. One friend even wrote him a detailed letter on how much he meant to him and how he was not alone in the world.

All I can kept thinking after he finished his story was how impossible this scenario could be today

“Where were you?”

“Do you know how worried we were?”

“Couldn’t you have told somebody where you’re going?”

Ever had one of these conversations with your parents. Most likely not in the last five years at least.  Unless you have been living under a rock and are unaware of the concept of the cell phone- that magical device of hyper connectivity, the one that starts going off the moment you step out of the two kilometre radius or break your curfew by a second.

If you’re like me and reading this in an ominous slasher movie voice, you know what I am saying when I say- ‘They always know where you.’ What’s more? ‘They always want to know where you are.’

Cell phones are not just cell phones. They are human GPS tracking chips, the technical upgrade to the Marco Polo game. They are to parents, the apparently mysterious vault of secrets where children conduct CIA classified correspondence, which must be probed and questioned every time the text message alert comes in.

“Who was that?” What was it about?” These are not the paranoid questions of controlling parents, but the almost unconscious enquiries of the normal ones, who don’t even realize how tiresome it is to have to report the mundane contents of conversations. Try and blow them off and then they automatically assume you’re

up to no good. Be vague and they press for details.

What is it about cell phones that make the most rational and easygoing parents so curious and sometimes neurotic? It is not like they ever ask to read your emails, or to monitor your interactions or ask for an hourly report on what you’re up to. No, but this frustrating piece of technology in some strange way makes them feel like they’ve been excluded from your life; ergo the need to monitor it.

In other news, my cell-phone services have been barred since yesterday owing to me consistently ignoring every message since the last four weeks asking me to submit my documents at the nearest showroom.

I don’t feel terribly inclined to do it and have gone a whole day without fretting over who might be trying to reach me, this is even after the service providers promised me free talk time if I would just submit my goddamn papers.

There’s no hurry. I seldom get calls in any case, e-mail being my preferred form of communication.  I really don’t like talking on the phone so much and I have a decent landline that I can always use, if should feel any irresistible need for vocalizing anything over the airwaves.

Maybe I’ll give it a couple more days before I march myself over to the nearest ‘relationship’ centre. Till then, all my cell-phone is good for is to serve as an alarm clock as I struggle to rev myself up for my early morning work day.

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