Monday, March 12, 2012

The Cell Bore

The last week I had traveled to a town nearby in an AC chair car. I was happy to have been allotted a window seat. It allowed me a tryst with nature throughout the journey or at least till dark fell. What I hadn't recokned was that I had to make two people at my side get up every time I needed to move out. Well, that had me trapped as I didn't want to inconvenience them too often.
In one of the stations, I started hearing loud songs from a mobile phone. I was engrossed in reading my book and was irritated by this unwanted intrusion. And as this was an air-conditioned coach, most of the sounds and smells remained entrapped. I looked around but couldn't find any source close by. It was only after an hour of enduring this nonsense that I got an opportunity to get up from my seat. As I walked along the corridor, I found that the source of the songs from a mobile was not from an irresponsible youngster but a woman well into her forties. I couldn't really contain myself and told her off. I mean, you want to listen to music, why compel the entire compartment to also listen to the ill-chosen selection. She had the grace to switch it off.

This incident reminded me of an article I wrote nine years back when the mobile phone hadn't intruded as much into our lives as it does today. Even then, I had found it irksome to be rudely interrupted in my work by those ring tones. And in a closed environment, they ring out louder. Had attempted a humorous jab with the article below which was circulated in our in-house magazine:

The Cell Bore

Was thinking of this for quite some time now, decided to be proactive, and write this —
You are seriously at work when there goes —Riiiiiiiing!!!!! Startled, you try to locate the source….and find the cell happily ringing, nay singing...If it is a Zeenat remix ‘chura liya’ somewhere; it is Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘kal ho na ho’ elsewhere. The favorite in our office, though, is ‘sare jahaan se acha’. (at this point, patriotic fervor surges through the nerves and sinews impelling one to stand to attention and salute in the direction of the ringing, singing cell). It may be ‘suprabhaatham’ (the Lord’s wake up call) at 3 am at Tirupathi, but it is ‘ kousalya suprajarama…’ throughout the day for some of us (our wake up call?). While walking through the office, it is like a symphony merrily ringing (singing) away. I mean it is ok, after all, if we had the picnics like we used to have last year, but now, we mean business, friends (this is to be understood as being said with a reprimanding finger).
Please, oh, please understand that a mobile phone has a sensitive microphone capable of picking up a soft voice. Some people, perhaps subconsciously worried that the party on the other end is severely hearing impaired, double and triple their volume. If he wasn't one before (I mean severely impaired) they make sure he is one by now.
The gaze that the loud, obnoxious ring tones, and an obnoxiously louder voice attract is NOT the admiring wonderment variety — masquerading thus is a barely concealed, disdainful smirk. If you don’t believe this, watch the reactions of people near the cell phone bore when the voice or the ringer is too loud.
Shouldn't the goal be to communicate effectively without any body else noticing?
The unconscious, unconcerned, unmindful, unperceptive, and unaware cell phone bore seems oblivious to the discomfort that results with the intrusion into others’ personal space as he raves, rants, gushes, jabbers, blabbers, prattles, and splutters into the phone as if no one else around him matters!
Dear cell bores, spare others this agony by keeping at least ten –twenty feet away from the nearest person. They need their personal space and want you to respect this need.

PS: This article does not contain any fictitious characters, is based on real life incidents, and written with intent of malice towards one and all!