Testing testing

27 06 2007

Writing my first post from my mobile. I may edit it later.


Cell phone stories – Finale: Life without cell phones

19 02 2006

Ever wondered how it was like when cell phones did not existed? Life was so simple. And its not too long ago, guess that was not more than 5 or 6 years back. I could go out for movies and hang out with guys at college without the worry of getting that pesky phone call from home asking me to return home before its too late at night. Those were the days when there were no telemarketers. In short, life was simple!

I sometimes crave for those days. Sometimes when I go out nowadays I dont carry my cell phone with me. I know it drives my parents crazy but I want my space and freedom that I am deprived of by the cell phone. Someone once asked me if I am so bothered by that phone call from home why can’t I just switch it off? My answer was that if I have to switch off the cell phone, why carry it in the first place?

Cell phones have meant conveniences galore but it has helped people to creep on others’ privacy. It sometimes bothers me when I get a phone call in the middle of Spiderman2 or Rang De Basanti or whatever I’m doing. One instance is my lunch time. I literally keep my cell phone on mute during lunch and dinner time because I like to have my lunch/dinner in peace and it pisses me off big time if I get a phone call at that time. My friends no me all to well not to call me at that time. But what can I do about the numerous tele-marketers, and other people who call me up at random times. I guess I have learnt to control my temper.

Cell phone stories – Part 3 of 3: Buying a cell phone

15 02 2006

These days there are so many different models of cell phones available in the market that it has become very difficult to decide which to buy and which not to buy. Handsets that were in the range of INR 25000 to 35000 a year ago are now available for just 10000 bucks. And chances are that the price will fall further in the next 2 months. This trend goes on and on. A Nokia 6600 used to be a rage in late 2004 but it has now become so common that even a college kid flaunts it. It has now been replaced by N90, N6680/6681 and other models. And the ultimate handset to buy now is the Blackberry.

It was one fine evening that I went with a friend to a Nokia showroom. He was particularly impressed by my Nokia 6101 but was vary of the little memory available in it. My friend is a simple guy. He prefers to keep everything simple in his life. And he wanted a simple colour screen mobile handset. So we walked into a Nokia showroom and were greeted by an over enthusiastic salesman. My friend told him that his budget for the phone was 10000 and he wanted a hand set that could last him at least 2 years. Simple!

Out come a few big and small boxes. We see Nokia 6600, 6610, 6101, 3650 and a few other models that I don’t remember now. My friend started examining a phone. It was the Nokia N-GageQD. As soon as my friend picked it up, the salesman started speaking about its features as if it was all on his fingertips:

Salesman: Dekhiye sir, isme alarm clock hai, calendar hai, games hai, infrared hai, Bluetooth hai.

My friend: Ek minute sir! Kya main is phone se baat kar sakta hoon?

Salesman: Kya sir?

My friend: Kya main is phone se sms bhej sakta hoon?

Salesman: Of course sir yeh saare functions to har phone mein hote hain.

My friend: Thik hai, ab aage boliye.

I understood what my friend was asking for. He wanted a simple phone for his talking and messaging needs. That’s all. I later pointed it out to him that he quoted his budget as too high for such a simple phone. He ultimately went for Nokia 3120, which was a very cheap phone at just 4800 and it served all his needs.

The point is that why do we use a phone? Okay, let me talk about just India. A cell phone here in our country is just for talking and basic messaging needs. A typical phone user does not use GPRS or browse the internet on his/her phone. So why should we go for such expensive models? And it actually makes sense too because most of the discounts that are offered by the cell phone companies are mostly on the talk-time consumed or messages sent within the stipulated time frame. The more the phone is expensive, the more are its maintenance costs. Let’s leave aside a few individuals who can be regarded as bade baap ki bigdi aulad but for most of us, the cell phone is just a cell phone, a device that keeps us in touch while on the move. That’s it!

Cell phone stories – Part 2 of 3: Telemarketing

6 02 2006

Most of this blog is going to be in Hindi so English reading viewers kindly excuse.

The following is an excerpt of my conversation with a telemarketing agent:

Me: Hello?

She: Good evening sir.

Me: Good evening? What’s so good about this evening?

She: (ignoring my question) Sir, main Deepika bol rahi hoon ICICI Bank se.

Me: Kyon bol rahi hain aap?

She: (now perplexed) Kya sir?

Me: Maine poocha ki aap kyon bol rahi hain?

She: (now more perplexed by my question) Sir main ICICI bank se bol rahi hoon.

Me: Woh to aapne bataa hi diya hai, lekin aap yeh bataiye ki aap kyon bol rahi hain?

She: Sir maine aapko phone kiya tha apne bank ki kuch schemes ki jaankaari dene ke liye.

Me: Maine inquiry ki hai kya?

She: Nahi sir.

Me: To phir aapne kyon phone kiya?

She: Lekin sir agar aap inquiry karte to bhi aapko yehi information milti na jo main aapko dene jaa rahi hoon.

Me: First of all lady, aapne mujhko abhi tak koi information nahi di hai and secondly, information ke liye jab tak main inquiry nahi karoon tab tak aap mujhse baat mat kariye.

She: Sorry sir, lekin ab main kya karoon? Ab to maine aapko phone kar hi diya hai na.

Me: (exasperated by now) Madam, aap itni kam-akal hongi yeh mujhko maloom nahi tha.

She: (slightly pissed off by my remark) Kya sir?

Me: Arre simple si baat hai, aapne phone kiya hai to phone disconnect bhi to kar sakti hain?

She: (almost like realizing that this was common sense) Right sir!

Me: To phir phone katiye please.

She: Okay sir, ICICI Bank mein sampark karne ke liye dhanyawad.

Me: Hello! Maine aapko sampark kiya tha ya aapne mujhe sampark kiya tha?

She: (Realizing her mistake again) Oh sorry sir, have a nice day.

Me: Good bye

I think she must have worked previously for BSES Rajdhani Private Limited’s call center and must have got accustomed to saying ‘BSES mein sampark karne ke liye dhanyawad.

The net effect of this conversation was that I got her as pissed off as she had me by calling me unsolicited. And I wasted her phone call and one precious minute of hers. Not that it would go against her in anyway but still, I had the satisfaction of wasting as much of her time as she wasted mine.

Cell phone stories – Part 1 of 3: Ring-back Tones

2 02 2006

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:

Me: Hello!

She: Good afternoon sir, I am Vaishali calling from Idea Cellular.

Me: Yes?

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.

Me: Why?

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.