Funny life, Holidays, India, Just rambling

The Telephone Nostalgia

When mobile phones were introduced in the market they were seen as an improvised and modified version of a cordless telephone with certain unseen and unheard of features.

From being the ones adhering only to the basic purpose of their conception (making and receiving calls, an address book for contacts and having an easily operable and usable technology) they’ve surely come a long way. They now store images, songs and videos and have an ever increasing memory with the help of memory cards. They provide you with cameras, radio and voice recording facility. I can go on and on. But this post is not about the umpteen positive and/or negative effects and after-effects of mobiles. I intend to speak about the time when there was no such concept as a mobile.

The first memory of a telephone I have is that of a heavy black instrument (rotary) we had at our place. It had a dial in front of it, the typical sorts we had back then wherein one had to insert a finger/pen/pencil/spoon in the hollow above the desired number and roll it upto the end point. We kids were warned to be careful with it since the receiver too was not easy for us to handle. I remember the excitement of us kids when it went all trrriiing trrriiing and we ran to answer the phone.

The Telephone Nostalgia_avibrantpalette

Years went by and the form of the telephone evolved into sophisticated light-weighted sleek models which gave way to press-in buttons and redial, call waiting and address book facility. Not only this, they now give you choices for ringtones too. Answering machines are an added feature. The uses are plenty.

One thing however which has not and will not evolve is the way people talk and answer on phones. Telephone etiquette surely has few buyers. Even now, at my Mom’s I had to answer to people who were ranging from pathetic to downright rude. Here go some of the conversations:

Tring Tring……. Tring Tring…. Tring Tring

Me:  Hello!
Some Aunty *sounding surprised* (why??): Who is it?
Me: You tell me!
Aunty *Very stylishly brazen*: I’m Mrs. Shah, can I talk to Mrs. Agrawal?
Me: She can’t come to the phone right now. Can I take a message?
Aunty *Uncertainly*: I’m not sure I can tell you. I’ll call back later.

Aunty hangs up. I’m bewildered. Can’t I take down a message properly or these people are discreet the Osama way??

Tring Tring……. Tring Tring…. Tring Tring

Me: Hello!
Some Aunty : Hello…is this Varsh?
Me *Happily*: Yes Aunty…How are you?
Some more banter on how, when, where about me and her.
Me: Mom’s not at home. Is there some message for her?
Aunty: I wanted to invite her at my place for a party. *Accusingly* But you’re at home so probably she won’t come. Just tell her I called.

Aunty hangs up. I’m feeling incredibly insulted. Do I need her permission to come to my place???

And finally!

Tring Tring……. Tring Tring…. Tring Tring…

Tring Tring……. Tring Tring…. Tring Tring

(the call gets disconnected before I can answer it)
Tring Tring……. Tring Tring…. Tring Tring

Me (running to get to it) *Breathlessly*: Hello!
A hoarse voice: Can’t you pick up the phone?
Me: Huh? Who is this?
Mean Uncle: Now you don’t even recognize my voice?
Me *Uncertain*: I’m sorry I’m not getting you, who is this?
MU: I’m the so and so of your so and so who live in Amravati.
Me: What? We don’t have anyone in Amravati!

No points for guessing that it was a wrong number and I realized it only after my head had started spinning wildly because of the family tree the man insisted I should consider. Needless to say, this time I hung up!

I know of many people (me included) who prefer mobiles over landlines. They are easy to carry and enable constant contact with anyone at all times. It comes with its baggage though. It’s not a rare sight to find people screaming loudly into their phones in public places due to bad network or even going overtly mushy and embarrassing people around them. What more, even wrong numbers on mobiles are common now! Whatever the mode, I’d suggest people conduct themselves well and let others be too.

What say? Have any such hilarious or punishing incidents to share?

32 thoughts on “The Telephone Nostalgia

  1. You speak of the one vice I truly have!!! ie mobiles and gadgets!!! As a kid I would be terrified to answer the phone to strange disembodied voices in the other end, when my parents were unavailable!!!Now that fear being long gone….I am now a mobile freak…..always in the lookout for the best in the market……….right now the proud owner of the Motorola Milestone (which I got from Delhi) since my city hasn't heard of it yet!!!

  2. @Vyazz: Cool…I've added you to the list of my gizmo freak friends :)Honestly I don't have any such fixation…I only like to have a good camera phone so I can get pictures of my son as and when I want 🙂

  3. I am still smiling at those wonderfully narrated conversations :)Loved the one where the aunt says, your mum won't be coming home just cause you were at home.Keep up the good work :)Cheers!!

  4. LOL … When wil ppl learn :PI got a wonderful wrong no. call too. He called me and asked me y I hd called him 😉 I hd nt called any such no. Then he used all possible swear words and finally when I told him I will complain to Police, he sent me some 10 msgs telling it ws his mistake etc..etc..!!

  5. Lol! Funny conversations. I must say I still prefer the landline to the mobile. I think with the mobile phone people expect you to be there all the time! I had a friend that recently called me when I was at work (and when my phone is on silent). She left 2 voicemail messages and tried calling 4 times…and my voicemail calls me back…I eventually checked my phone after I got home and there were about 16 missed calls! And my friend asks me later…what if it was something urgent (which it wasn't) and I felt like saying there was a time when we weren't available 24×7…

  6. @Swaram: I don't see people changing anytime soon dear…even after using a phone for years together they can't have basic manners :(Your example is so funny!! Something similar happened with my mom-in-law…the guy warned her he'd go to the police…she voluntarily accepted…and he gave up 😛

  7. @PB: How true…more often than not mobiles are like a hindrance…people think you'll be at their beck and call…if its important one can understand…but like your friend did…people take you, your time and your work for granted…that cannot be accepted!

  8. @Comfy: Yaaa…people made calls only when it was necessary…the concept of missed calls was unheard was a kind of status symbol…now even maids have mobiles!! Talk about exclusivity!!

  9. The pic of the black instrument brought back memories! I so agree with the mobile phone menace. Before the advent of these gadgets, people made conversation in public places, even if it was just about the weather, but now, everyone is either screaming, whispering or cooing into them, everywhere!:)

  10. @zephyr: I miss those days too…conversations meant a lot back then…on phone and off it too…everyone seems to be so busy with mobiles now…people have caught on 'Mobilomania'!! 😀

  11. Hi. First time here.Nicely written with wits and humor.Enjoyed reading it. Phone etiquette is one thing people lack and not to speak of bizarre and loud ring-tones. Once I would get wrong number calls on my mobile from the same person. The funny thing was he spoke only Bengali and didn't understand a single word of it. Finally he realized this and gave up 🙂

  12. Oh I remember that heavy phone we used to use at our neighbour’s house. Then the receivers became lighter with those speakerphone wala phones… Best is mobile. To each their own. So if we fight with our neighbours, we don’t to make up with them only to use their phones hahahha

  13. Your post has made me nostalgic and like you I also have many funny incidence to remember of that kind when landline was a part of our day to day life. I feel, though we had made much technological advancement but we all miss those old days of simple but beautiful life.

  14. Yeah, wrong numbers are common on mobile phones too! With landlines I hate it when people call and ask me to recognize their name from just their hello! I mean they aren’t Amitabh Bacchan to be recognized with just a namaskar!

  15. Oh, I still remember such weird conversations that turned hilarious, courtesy, those landlines. Things were more funny when landlines with caller ID came. Loved the narratives you’ve shared

  16. Oh, this was so nostalgic. I am sure all of us will have similar stories to tell and yet absolutely loved our landline days 🙂 Loved reading this.

  17. Oh I so very much miss those telephone era especially the rotating one. You are absolutely right in saying that phone has evolved over a period of time but people using them have’t…phone etiquette is something which needs to be taught.

  18. oh, you have brought alive the memories of the good ole days.
    i remember the big phone and the whoosh whoosh of dialing each number.
    Indeed, those times were freer, something worth adding to our daily lives – keep that phone away and be in the moment..

  19. ha ha those were some funny conversations! But I remember our old rotary phone – black and formidable. I even remember our first phone number! and I loved picking it up! And then the hours spent on the phone when I was a teenager! Now I am totally down the nostalgia lane!

  20. While the change in technology has been a boon but can also be a trouble maker at times. I dislike that the entire human interaction has come down to just a click of a button, be it through calls, msgs or social media. A small handy device has our world in it.

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