In a world that has been invaded by modern gadgets, the mobile phone may not be the most complicated one on view, but it is surely the most intrusive. Handy for sure, even life-saving at times, and excellent at never letting one feel alone, the cell phone is truly a symbol of our ‘connected’ times. Gone are the days when we used to search for a friend at a railway station, or used to wonder when a loved one would return home.

This feeling of being available 24/7 is unsettling, however, for many of us. Those moments of “doing nothing” are gone, for one tends to text-message a friend instead of staring into the sky, as one used to. This disease of being compelled to fiddle with one’s hand-set has certainly put paid to those peaceful times.

There are those who are very adept at using the little devil, and pride themselves in being able to utilize every feature it has to offer. A friend of mine falls into this category. Every time one meets him, he has a new piece, and does not fail to enlighten me about the exciting new capabilities that it has to offer. It enables its proud owner to email, organize, calculate, remind, play music, play games, and take pictures, store files, and record videos. I have no doubt that this he takes it to bed and to his bath. His wife is obviously unhappy at such unwarranted competition.

 Some others are more wary of these meddlers. They switch them off whenever they can (if they know how to). So potent is the little intruder, that it can start making all kinds of noises at the most unlikely of times. At conferences where silence is of the essence, one invariably hears “Jhalak Dikhla Ja” in full earshot of all concerned, leading to many a glare and a wince, depending on whether one happens to be the offended or the offender. At one such event one even heard the compere asking all present to check whether their neighbours’ phones were switched off, leading to many a mini-argument in the hall, before the compere hastily withdrew her directive.

What took the cake however was the total cacophony on a recent train journey. There were two worthies who were intent on outdoing each other in the loudness with which they spoke into their hand-phones. One was on about his wife, and was complaining to his friend endlessly about her lack of attention to his welfare.

The other was the fiery sort, and was intent upon scaring the wits out of his subordinates. His use of profanities became so profound that one or two courageous types actually requested him to lower his voice. That was the last straw for our loud-mouthed friend who was already on a short fuse. He turned his attention to the interfering parties in no uncertain terms. It took the entire set of passengers in the coach 30 minutes to subdue him!

My wife is the only person I have come across who is unruffled by any disturbance resulting from any mobile. She keeps her own set either switched off, or in silent mode, and never responds to calls from anyone! She claims that her phone is only to be used for her to call whomever she has to. Such bliss!