The mobile phone market is growing in leaps and bounds. And owing to the number of brands flooding the market, there is a phone to suit every budget and every pocket. While this necessarily is not a bad thing, the trend has some annoying repercussions. Having a cell phone is no big deal, but when it comes to mobile etiquette – that is simply non-existent.

A couple of days ago I was watching a play. Now if you are a regular theatre person you would know that they specifically request you to switch off your cell phones or select the silent mode, before the play starts. This is so as to ensure that the actors do not lose concentration and focus because of cell phones ringing. It’s a very simple request, not at all difficult to follow. But five minutes into the play, somebody’s phone started ringing at full volume and it had an annoying movie song as a ring tone. The ringing continued enough to cause the actors on stage to halt their performance, with the lead actor once again requesting people to keep their phones on silent. Much to the chagrin of everyone present, as soon as the play resumed it was interrupted again by another phone ringing.

It was not only a dampener for the actors, but also those present. How difficult is it to keep your phone on silent? I understand that one would not want to switch off their phone, but can’t you at least leave it on silent? After all it’s only a matter of couple of hours! But no. You will find such annoying people every where. Be it at a play or even in movie theatre. I remember this lady sitting next to me at a movie theater had her cell phone on silent, but insisted on taking every call and then gleefully announcing to the caller that ‘I can’t talk with you right now, I am watching a movie’. My question is why pick-up the phone at all when you know you can’t talk to whoever it is right now?? You don’t need to pick up the phone to say that, simply send an SMS!

What people also fail to realize is that the mobile is a personal communication device and you’d rather keep your conversations private. But sadly that’s not the case. I take the train to work every day. And if you are a Mumbaite you would know what the journey is like, especially during peak hours. At times you have to really fight for space so that you can at least stand on your own two feet. As is the trains, especially the ladies compartments are noisy enough, add to this people speaking loudly on their phones. Some cribbing about their mothers-in-law, some b*tching about their co-workers, some having fights, some romancing with their boyfriend etc. All this gossip can give the tearjerker daily soaps a run for their money.

Inside voice please

Inside voice please

And it only gets better. The next best thing to talking loudly on your phone is playing radio or songs on the speaker. You must have come across such people and they are not limited only to trains. I have even come across people walking on the streets whilst listening to music on their mobile phone in speaker mode. It’s rather amusing to see people holding the phone close to their ears so that they can listen to music. While walking it’s easy to keep a safe distance from such people, there is no escaping them in crowded trains. Especially, if they have some cheap low end phone with really bad sound quality, one that hurts your ears because it’s so shrill. Many of them refuse to use headphones despite of being politely asked to do so.

A friend has come up with a brilliant solution to tackle people like these and trust me it works quite well. If they refuse to listen to use headphones to listen to music, she simply plays music on her phone on speaker. Now you should know that this female is a punk rock music fan. Cacophony of the sounds from the resulting fusion is enough to drive people crazy, as well as at the same time it effectively sends out the message quite loud and clear, no pun intended! Try it, it works…

Tags: , , , , , ,