Can somebody explain to me what’s the purpose of ring-back tones? For the record, ring-back tones are known as Hello Tunes/Caller Tunes/Dialer Tunes in Airtel/Hutch/!dea slang. But I don’t really understand their purpose. What pleasure am I deriving by setting up a song for my callers to listen to, when I am not able to hear it myself? The only plausible reason for this service could be that the phone companies can rake in all the moolah by providing a useless service to its customers. Sample this – they charge INR 30 per month to activate the ring-back tones, INR 10 to set a new one, and INR 6 per minute to select a tune of your choice from their menu by dialling their premium number.
I too had set a ring-back tone some months back just to try out this new service for a month or so. Well, I realized that it was not giving me any pleasure except that I was getting some nice compliments from people I know. But there was one incident that was worth more than a smile. Here I am to write about it.
In the middle of something important, I was interrupted by a phone call. A look at the number on the screen told me that it must be one of those pesky sales phone calls. My immediate reaction was to cancel it and divert it to my voicemail. But don’t know why, I decided to take the call. Here goes my conversation:
She: Good afternoon sir, I am Vaishali calling from Idea Cellular.
She: Sir please don’t mind it but I have to say something to you.
Me: (thinking – what now?) Yea, what?
She: Sir, your dialer tune is so sweet!
(It turns out that she had listened to my ring-back tone that I had set in those days to the title track of the film Hum Tum)
Me: Why thank you!
She: (now coming to the point) Sir, are you interested in a new phone connection?
Me: No thank you ma’am.
She: (realizing that she’s done) Okay sir, have a nice day. Sir, I will call you again but please don’t take my call.
She: I want to hear your dialer-tune again sir.
Me: Okay, I will not take your call.
The way she wanted to hear my ring-back tone at the expense of my peace pissed me off. The next thing I did was to turn off my cell phone for a while. 10 minutes later, I switched it on and immediately got a text message alerting me of a new voice mail. I promptly called up my voice mail and heard her voice again. She was like, taken by surprise at the sudden call divert. Apparently, she called me hoping to hear the title track of Hum Tum again but was visibly shocked to see her call being diverted to my voice mail. And I heard her shocked expressions go something like, “Sir, I am Vaishali, remember sir I had talked to you some time back? Sir, I want to hear your dialer tune again. Sir please suna do, please suna do please please please please!” Oh god! It was hilarious. I mean, the tone of her voice was so funny that I laughed my guts out.
That indeed made my day. I decided to mess around with these sales people who call me up sometimes even at odd hours. One such incident will come up in my next post.