Monday, July 2, 2007

Beep... Beep!

What happens if you give an electric hair dryer to a bunch of monkeys? Not knowing how to use a technology can result in funny incidents and some times be quite disastrous.

Take for example, cell phones in the hands of Indians. Nowadays, every Indian has got one. An auto driver, rickshaw-wallah, and even a vegetable vendor! That’s great isn’t it?

Now, see what happens in a movie theater. Nobody seems to turn off their phone, and right in the middle of the movie, an annoying ring tone takes off. Instead of feeling ashamed or embarrassed, this guy picks up the call and starts talking right there. Whether it is a big conference or a big seminar, most Indians do not turn off their phone. Once, while I was sitting in a conference, one Indian senior head of some company incessantly kept talking on the phone causing inconvenience to everyone around. One of the speakers (an Indian from US) had to actually berate him to turn his phone off.

Why do we have this urge to pick up our phones no matter what we are doing?

I see people talking on cell phones while driving their cars, juggling between the steering wheel and the gear shift. Most often, these drivers are driving quite recklessly, narrowly missing hitting many people on the road.

I saw an old man on a two-wheeler, jutting into a main road from a by-lane and suddenly scrambling on the road while trying to take his ringing phone out of his pocket, completely losing balance, almost careening into an oncoming auto, nearly missing it, and then kept on driving with one hand, and using the other hand to talk over phone. This guy would have almost died, but I guess, picking up the phone right at that moment was more important.

I keep seeing so many incidents. People talking through helmets, and removing the helmets while driving, losing balance, and sometimes ending up in accidents.

I never knew that a ringing phone could be so tempting to so many Indians. It’s almost like a call from the lottery agency announcing your win.

Recently, a friend’s wife fell from a newly-constructed three storied building while she was frantically running down to pick up a phone that was ringing on the 1st floor. She was completely paralyzed from her abdomen down and is now permanently handicapped without being able to use her legs for the rest of her life. She was an excellent dancer and had just performed few days earlier to a wide audience. Her life has changed forever.

All because of a stupid phone ringing!