Thursday, February 22, 2007


Moi was stepping into his teens when he started using telephones extensively. Neyveli township has an internal telephone/communication system with more than 8000 odd telephones managed by NLC. About 4000 households are hooked through this internal telephone system that’s fondly called as “NLC fone “by neyveliets and the fones carry four digit numbers (moi’s NLC fone no was 7610). Though you can speak to other NLC fones free of cost, it had one disadvantage - This intercom-like system can only be used inside Neyveli and is restricted to the closed network.

Moi’s appa was given a “NLC fone” connection and that was when Moi started ta( l )king the world in his stride with his teletalk skills. He used the NLC fone for all known and unknown purposes in the world. Moi had more than 10 friends with whom he would talk daily over the fone. Imagine if he spends half an hour per call ( in call centre language – its “average call handling time of 30 mins”) and handles 10 calls daily – Man… its 5 hours on phone, that’s almost all his ”non-sleep” hours at home. No wonder why amma and appa, had several times, “kindly advised” him to stop the telecons and start concentrating on his studies. There were instances when someone from the exchange would interrupt the unending conversations “requesting” him to stop overusing the facility. He, undeterred by all these kind advices and requests, continued his "phone-a-friend" act. NLC fone and Moi were inseparable till he finished his schooling. It was a huge relief for appa and amma when he got into an engineering college far away from Neyveli– atleast his non stop nonsense on fone would stop.

His college days were exactly opposite to his school days as far as his telephone was concerned. Moi’s hostel had 2 floors with more than 50 rooms. But it had only one phone in the ground floor that had the outgoing facility barred. There was a ladies hostel/paying guest accommodation behind his hostel. Romeos from hostel had their Juliets residing there with telephone being the only means of communication during the nights. Parents found it difficult to reach their dear sons on the phone as the it was kept engaged 24x7. Be it day, night, dawn, dusk, IST, PST, GMT or whatever time zones you are in, you can find one of those Romeos speaking at the lowest possible volume with their respective Juliet. The phone room was in a pathetic state – understandably because it was actually the motor room which also served as a makeshift phone room. The room had neither ventilation nor a fan and only thing that circulated inside was the high velocity hot air that came out of the hairy nostrils of our Romeos. Till then, Moi was actually under an impression that nobody - living or dead - can beat his skill, stamina and temperament when it comes to non stop nonsense on telephone. It was a perfect déjà vu whenever he saw the phone room – some one or the other was on the phone speaking at his lowest possible volume. He was no more proud of his telephone speaking skills and slowly understood that he was “bacha”,” podi paiyan”, ( naïve , starter) if compared with all love struck Romeos when it comes to speaking on a phone.

It was during Moi's business school days, a new obsession – SMS took over the student community .Moi - student way BPL - was running with prepaid connection from Hutch that had “free SMS after 9 PM” bonus scheme. His Nokia 3315 was specially designed to serve only 2 purposes. 1) receive calls 2) Send and receive SMSs.He stopped speaking over the phone and started SMSing his near and dear and near and not so dear and everybody who owned a mobile. Thanks to the SMS culture, his eng noledj went in2 drain & da spl mistks ver praisd & termd as srtcuts. Moi had shrtcuts 4 al da wrds in eng and his typin speed was so fast dat ppl strted belvin dat Moi mus hav pased hier lvl in da SMS typin xam. It took long time for him to come out of SMS language syndrome and start writing his full name without using shortcuts. Though Moi hardly sends any SMS nowadays, he still would rank in top 100 in Chennai when it comes to SMS typing skills.

The first fully automatic mobile phone system, called MTA (Mobile Telephone system A), was developed by Ericsson and commercially released in Sweden in 1956.MTB, an upgraded version with transistors - weighing "only" 9 kg, was introduced in 1965 and used dual-tone multifrequency signaling. MTB was also commercialized and it had 150 customers in the beginning and 600 when it shut down in 1983. People who have been trying to reach Moi on his current mobile phone always doubted if it were one of those 600 MTB pieces. Infact, everybody knew that Moi’s mobile used the latest “no signal, echo enabled, and weak battery” technology. He gets all his important calls only when the mobile detected weak or no signal or at the time when the battery ran out of charge. When his mobile had both full signal and full charge, it promptly threw a soooper duuuper echo effect that dutifully created an acoustically brilliant cacophony. Friends who were lucky to catch a conversation with him, say that he is awesome on phone (May be, it’s their way of telling that he is dumb face-to-face).Moi somehow manages his calls by diverting them to his landline or his roomies phone.

For all who have been advising him to buy a new mobile – who knows, when he gets lucky to have a Juliet to make endless, meaningless conversations over phone , he might have a valid reason to replace his MTB with a better model. So, please get a Juliet for him or at least present him a mobile phone on his birthday!


Anonymous said...

En Anna..., think i should take a print-out - please get a Juliet for him - and send to home
- un anbu thambi

Priya said...

Hey shri.... Hats off.... I am becoming a fan to ur writings.. :-)

Kalakareenga super star..

Kumar said...


You can include abt our Neyveli-Chennai-Blore conference and the conference between you and guruji between ur phones to make a more impressive read.