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Why I got myself a mobile phone

In my early years I was rather scared of the telephone; that was long ago! In those days telephones were a novelty and I don't remember having ever picked up a telephone until after I had passed out of college. Nowadays, I feel amazed, and even downright stupid, when I see toddlers playing with mobile phones.

After completing studies and finding myself a job, there was no escape from this instrument. Initially, when I was alone in the office and the telephone rang, it scared me stiff! Whenever the telephone rang, it sounded like a fire alarm to my ears!

Gradually, I overcame my fear and the good old telephone became a part of life. Many years later, came the age of the mobile phones. Yet, I did not buy a handset for a long, long time. It was only when I was transferred to a different city that I thought about getting myself a mobile phone to stay in touch with home. In fact, I wouldn't have purchased a mobile phone but for an embarrassing incident.

One day, I wasn't well and did not feel like going to the office. But I had to communicate this to my boss. I did not own a phone; so, I went to a nearby shop that sold all kinds of things, from stationery to chocolates and cigarettes. There was also a pay phone; but it was not a coin-operated one, the user had to pay directly to the shopkeeper after making the call.

I went to the shop, made the call, and walked out. The owner screamed after me, "Hey you, hey you. Come here."

The manner in which he screamed would have brought all the policemen to the spot under the impression that there was a robbery. I was bewildered.

I returned and asked him the reason for this outcry.

"Who is going to pay for the call?" he asked, his nostrils flaring in anger.

Oh boy! I had completely forgotten that I had to pay him for the call. Believe me, it was a genuine mistake. I had become so used to picking up the telephone at will in the office and making calls without having to pay for them, that it had become second nature.

It was a matter of just one rupee, and I would not have avoided paying it. Believe me. It was very embarrassing; there were a few other customers at the shop at that time who eyed me as though I was out on parole! I smiled sheepishly and tried to explain that it was a genuine mistake and I had no intention of cheating him. I was not a complete stranger to the shop-keeper as I had occasionally purchased a pen or a soap-cake or something like that from him. Perhaps it is for this reason that he did not say anything more. But, then, he did not have to say anything more .... His eyes said it all! "Yes, I know people like you very well," his eyes seemed to say, "I haven't managed a shop all these years without having learned to recognize people who lift things the moment you turn your back to them". The few customers who were there also had that all-knowing look on their faces.

I handed over a one-rupee coin to the shop-keeper, stepped out, and made straight for a shop that sold mobile phones!

Some useful links for
your career:

  • Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
  • IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
  • Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
  • Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
  • Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
  • IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
  • Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
  • Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
  • Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
  • Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
  • Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
  • Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu