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Not sold on the cell

D.V.Srinivas

Dec 9, 2004

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“Why the hell don’t you get a cellphone,” my
friends scream at me. I would like to scream back, “Why
the hell do I need one”, instead, I try to reason it out
as calmly as any civilized person should. Believe me; it is tough
to be civilized. No wonder civilizations started around rivers…
so that one could cool off by jumping into it during such testing
times.

My superiors join these screamers in enquiring if I could be
reached during non-office hours. I smile patiently at them (a
trick I learnt with my kids, having to deal with two at a time)
and convey that non-office hours are meant for home and hence
I do not want to be reached. “But it is just to ask you
some little thing.” I am too old to fall for this line.
“Like – come to office for 10 minutes?” I think
wryly.

Coming from a place where it is a status symbol to own electronic
gadgets and what-have-you, my friends back home too think I am
an oddball not to grip this push-button menace. “Do you
know the number of features that a cell has?” they ask me.
A hangman’s noose also has a number of features, depending
on where you use the rope. Poor chaps. But not to sound condescending,
I tell them that I am just waiting for the next model, with “more
features”. But it is so inexpensive, they argue. Again,
coming from a middle-class background, I cannot comprehend how
Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 can be termed ‘inexpensive’,
apart from the monthly horror called a bill.

Another “home truth” which goes against going in
for a cell is my sons’ enthusiasm in biting into anything
available. Their teething troubles are actually biting into us,
with our TV remote, chair leg, books, newspapers showing telltale
signs of a Milk Tooth Attack. Coming to office with a finger bitten
or a cheek scratched has lost its novelty even with my colleagues,
they just glance with one eye at my half-closed eye and think,
“there goes the walking tether”. I don’t care…
as long as I have my forefinger to dial the number, why should
I?

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