Friday, May 09, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "Telephone"

I think it’s an overrated appliance, the telephone. I’ve very rarely had long conversations on it – partly because I’ve never known what to say beyond whatever was required to be said, and partly because my grandfather would keep an eagle eye on me (and a ferocious frown on his face) to monitor the length of the call. It didn’t matter whether I made the call (increased phone bill) or took the call (no charge to phone bill). To him, it was all a waste of time.

To my lasting regret, much as I wanted to flout his autocracy by gabbing on the phone for ages, I couldn’t – I never was one for small talk. Considering that my granddad was the sort of person whose phone conversations were about as long as it took to say “Yaaru? Ellam sowkyama? Vera onnum illaye? Vechchudatta?” (“Who’s that? Is everything fine? Anything else? Ok, shall I put it down?”), I guess it’s not surprising that I ended up so tongue-tied myself. Nature AND nurture. Ha.

I have a cell phone now, but I rarely use it to speak to anybody – other than essential calls, that is. I don’t particularly like texting, and I absolutely loathe the texting lingo (especially when it’s carried over into emails and letters). Now that I drive, I carry my phone for emergencies (like when my car stopped dead right at a busy roundabout and I had to call Pete for help). It’s useful if I’m meeting somebody somewhere and need to ask directions, or let them know I’m running late, or whatever. I’ve also taken a few photos with it, since Pete went to the trouble of getting me a phone that has an excellent camera. I use its alarm function to wake myself up in the morning. Sometimes I play tennis or golf on it. Even more rarely I listen to the music that’s been uploaded on to it. And that’s about all the use I require from my cell phone.

I know how all this sounds, but I’m not a Luddite. Honest. I have nothing against technology or using it. I just don’t find a cell phone as essential as, say, my computer. Man, I would go crazy without a computer and my emails and the Internet!

One last thing... ever since I heard a song from the movie Indian which begins "Telephone dhun mein hasne waali" – literally translating to “She who laughs like a telephone ring” or perhaps "She whose laugh is like a telephone ring" - I’ve wondered what she would have sounded like. I mean, there are so MANY ringtones for cellphones, apart from the various songs and tunes and whatnot. Even the old-fashioned dial/digital telephones didn't (don't?) all have the same ring sound. So… would she be trilling when she laughed? At what pitch? Long or short rings? Would she get louder with each successive laugh? And how would anybody put up with more than a second of listening to that laughter without strangling the b*tch - er, woman? Most of all, what excruciatingly stupid lyrics for a song!

12 comments:

meerkat said...

that song has the worst lyrics. the second line being something like melbourne machli machalne waali. from the movie indian wasnt it. i vaguely recall a portly aged kamal cavorting with two younger beauties in the movie

i agree with your sentiments about cell phones to some extent. i hate being enslaved to it and being available all the time to answer calls on it. it also gives people the excuse of being tardy as long as they call or text to let you know that they are late. great way for bosses to harass their charges.
meera

Granny Smith said...

I share your love of computers, but I dislike talking on phones of any sort although are necessary at times. But when my car stalled in a situation somewhat like yours, there were plenty of people offering me their cell phones to call for help.

I like the glimpse of your grandfather.

GettingThereNow said...

Oh so THAT is what the first word of that song was! Never could figure it out - after all, who laughs in telephone dhun??

I HATE cellphones (and I carry TWo -one personal and one given to me by the company I work for). We rarely use all our free minutes. I mostly use my cellphone (personal one) for alarms and reminders. And the work cell phone is used to check emails from work.

chronicworrier said...

I'm so incomptent at making small talk too! So much so that I repeat the same lines of your thatha's everytime I speak to my mom :-(

Oh..we (all us classmates..we've had major discussions on the topic)totally knew what the (annoying) dame's laughter'd sound like..multi-triings of the andhakalathu telephone :-D

GreenishLady said...

Games, music, camera - it seems I use even fewer features on my phone than you do. I agree with you that text-speak is horrible. People laugh at me because I still capitalise, punctuate and spell messages properly when I text. Can't help it!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'm seeing a lot of us online who aren't big telephone users. I wonder if there's a correlation there; I bet there is. And yes, I'm too much a purist for Text Speak.

LAK said...

Yeah, those were really stupid lyrics--God knows what the writer meant!But my kids say I laugh like our washing machine's spin cycle, so who am I to quibble!Do see my take on cell phones, writen a few years back:
http://lak-inprint.blogspot.com/2006/12/cells-bells.html

Anonymous said...

I switch off my cellphone during weekends and if asked why, I simply blame the battery for being down! :)

texasblu said...

I have a sister and one friend I will spend time with on the phone. I used to be faithful about calling back, but I'm not so great at that either anymore.

Now the computer... that's a different story! When I found out the hard drive had crashed and I was going to have to go without for a few wks, I freaked!

Anonymous said...

Hey, I beg to differ. What are those telephone cons u have with me, if not long!! Or is 1 hour too less for you;-) Guess who...

Anonymous said...

FYI, original version of that song is"Telephone mani pol sirippaval ivalo..." Go figure what Vairamuthu meant with those lyrics...Me again

Anonymous said...

Hey, come on... an hour-long(ish) phone call once in two months or so surely isnt what you'd consider over-the-top? :) Besides, it's with you - champion talker :D

- Shyam