Research Analyst, with a mandate to cover real estate, but often strays into imaginary castles in the air. Women and finance is another of my interests, being a woman and all. I believe in rebirth and evolution into a higher life form (ala journalist).

Meera Siva

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| Updated on August 02, 2013 Published on August 01, 2013

Talking in public places is democratic

India is the world’s second largest mobile phone market in terms of subscribers, with a total of around 86 crore mobile connections. Even while sound bits on 2G scam is quietening, and even as mobile operator profits are not booming, one thing is certain – everyone is yaking endlessly on their phone.

Public speaking: Cell phone has become a necessity and we panic when we separate from it, it runs out of charge or talk time. It is handy when we have an emergency on the road and the quick reach helps many businesses such as taxis to offer better service. But there is a lot of compulsive non-stop talking, especially in public places. The conversations can be grouped roughly into three classes – cribbing, commentary and cuddling.

Call for complaints: My shameless eavesdropping indicates that gratefulness unfortunately has been woefully lacking. Cribbing therefore wins hands down in its pervasiveness and therefore needs some sub-classifications – help-seeking, victim-talk and anger-venting.

Agony aunt: These calls discuss a specific problem with a person who offers some guidance - college admissions, job seeking, real estate issues. Sometimes office and family problems are also discussed with an intention to solve it.

Remote emoting: There are often times big and insignificant woes discussed with an intention to pour out emotions. Woe-is-me is the theme and the rate of one-sided message exchange on office politics, in-law issues may even exceed speed of sound.

Angry birds: This is when a wronged person vents out their anger, to a third party usually. Altercations over phone also happen and so far, the side I have heard has ALWAYS been justified!

Commentary: In the twitter era, many believe that status updates have to be provided constantly to as many people as possible. Messages such as “I am in the bus”; “it is standing at a signal”; “I bought ticket”; “I got a seat” gets relayed to friends and extended family. This is prefaced with “how are you?” and “what are you doing”, though barely 30 minutes has elapsed since the last call.

Cuddling: While the complaints may stress you and trivial updates annoy you, the lover coochie cooing in public places makes you blush. More so if those at either end of the line have not declared their affection do not feel a secure connection.

Speaking with hand gestures and treating the public place as one’s own living room is not limited to any one gender, age group or economic section, it is very democratic. To not complain, but to have something to be grateful for - the phone’s ear piece that helps us with the most overlooked skill – to listen.

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Published on August 01, 2013
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