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    Volume 9 Issue 2 | January 8, 2010|

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This Nuisance must Stop


The virtues of the mobile telephone are well known and appreciated. The ability to remain connected to near and dear ones, and would-be near and dear ones, come to mind. However, of late, mobile telephone companies are taking advantage of their knowledge (of our cell numbers) and taking this 'keep connected' mission beyond civic sense even by jungle standards.

Talking about jungles, one assumes they have put up towers even in the Sundarbans. That would be very helpful for people attacked by man-eating tigers to climb up and save their lives; because to remain connected with their near and dear ones the network would have to be efficient. But the first condition of that predicament is that one has to be a human first, and tigers are pretty choosy. Worst news is that their taste is not gender sensitive. The silver lining (!) is that their species is the most threatened.

Mobile telephone companies are rather inquisitive and personal. It is possible that at 2 am in the morning your sms alert will sound, you would obviously want to know what it is that is so urgent, and the words at the push of your 'read now' button would unveil the company's profoundest desire to learn whether you would like to get the latest ringtone from some Indian movie of a foreign language. And this is a Bangladeshi operator, licensed to operate in Bangladesh, in Taka and not Rupee.

You are in a serious meeting and the mobile set is set to 'vibrator' mode. Your body shakes because the receiver is in your pocket. You take out the set from a tight place, and while pretending to be attentive to the proceedings press the 'show now' button to see what the message is all about. It's again that operator, intruding on your privacy, disturbing you, making you inattentive to some serious business and asking you whether you want to know about the latest in lehenga that is available in this and that outlet. Your body shakes again, this time because your scruples are attached to your body.

Present technology available to the common user does not allow a choice between receiving and not, and so the alert could sound in the oddest of time with the most inappropriate of messages.

You can choose not to read news in the papers, you may switch a channel to avoid listening to a narration or seeing something that affects you, but the mobile telephone is up to that mark only when you switch it off. But that is not on because someone important (never a mobile operator) may want to convey vital information, something like an emergency.

As if our operators are not making enough money already, what with the Bangalee's favourite pastime and full time too being talking, why this need to make money at the expense of a subscriber's privacy and peace of mind? Just because a business house has paid any amount does not give the operator the right to send sms after sms day and night to its subscribers, who also have paid.

The sensible and polite thing would be to stop this nuisance at once. However, if money is still biting them to bring in more money, mobile companies could advertise in newspapers and in their monthly bulletins telephone numbers for various purposes where we could send sms IF we required, say a ten percent reduction on a three-piece bridal suit, although one could have been married for fifteen years.

Somehow, the rate of irritation caused by an sms is directly proportional to the depth of the night. The real bad ones (I think the patrons survive on cheap call rates) usually come after midnight when you are really not interested in some Khan's frolics with some Zinta or Kaif or Basu. I will not promise I learned all those names only from text messages, but they keep you updated. More woefully, there never is a word about our Salamat eyeing Suparna or Sukanya. No bells? They are our future artistes. Yeah! Also Nobel!

I must however end with commending the same operators for providing excellent service otherwise, and for sending us via sms patriotic messages that make sense and appeal to all of us.

Psssst...the last paragraph has been added so that they do not cut me off. I would become blind.


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