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Finally... surrender!

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Unable to withstand the pressure of not being part of the `mobile' loop, one finally gave in...

Tripat Kaur

Mobile phones have presumably become the lifeline of modern life. We can stay in touch, chat with our friends around the world and even click pictures with this new technology. But there are still some in the urban world, who have managed to resist the mobile mania. I belong to this fast diminishing tribe. "Why don't you just buy a mobile and then we can do SMSing! Even my dhobi has one, and look at you. What are you trying to prove?" is my colleague's constant refrain.

"I just don't feel the need to buy one. Anybody can call me anytime, and what about the innumerable calls from banks wanting to sell their credit cards, companies trying to sell travel packages etc? Don't you feel like throwing your mobile out of the window then?" has been my response.

Initially, I was very sure that I didn't want a cell-phone in my handbag or in my life. There's no need for another nuisance in life, was the logic. The thought that my bank, CA, tailor, consultant alerting me on a job opening and yes, dhobi also, can get in touch with me anytime or the idea of talking to my boss, while getting my daughter to do her homework, was simply not appealing. And was I not managing well without one before technology bestowed this tool on us?

But increasingly, without a mobile, one gets a feeling of not being a part of the loop, both at home and work. I rarely talk to my sister now, though we are in the same city. This is mainly because she likes to SMS and I obviously can't.

And people are very reluctant to call anybody on their landline number; yes it used to be the other way around some time ago. We hardly get any calls on our landline number now.

But now the advantages are becoming clear; for one, I need not pretend to my four-year-old daughter that not carrying a mobile is a virtue. Even she has a toy phone and regularly asks, "Both papa and I have a mobile. Why don't you also buy one?"

Moreover, one felt defensive whenever somebody asked for a cell-phone number. While earlier I was clear why I didn't have a mobile, now my response is clearly confused. "Uh.eh, I don't carry a cell. But I am planning to buy one."

With everybody in the circle... parents, sister, husband, in-laws, bus driver... carrying a cell-phone, it's tough to fight a lone battle, just like one can't fight a torrential rain or an avalanche. So, the tree finally falls. I have decided to buy a mobile phone this week... but with the rather weak resolve to switch it off when it's not being used... I can already hear my friends laugh at this one.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 29, 2005)
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