In a fixed line fix

Modern life is not as conducive to social interaction as it was in the past. In bygone days, people would drop by casually. Now visits are more formal. Elaborate arrangements have to be made before stepping out to meet people. For one thing mounting work pressures are to blame. For another, crowded roads and traffic snarls are truly daunting.

On the plus side, the rapid strides in communication technology make it easy to connect with people, anywhere and anytime. The mobile phone, though a menace, is useful to contact people. The screen alerts users to missed calls and helps them call back. Text messages are a boon when users are unable to take calls. They are also an easy way of keeping in touch. I am not a votary of the mobile phone but admit it has its uses, especially in emergencies. My fixed line has caller ID facility which is most helpful.

It lists the telephone or mobile phone numbers of those who called in my absence so I can return the calls — and I do. Once, when I was out of the house, my fixed line displayed a long list of numbers. I settled down in a comfortable chair. Then, religiously, I  returned every call. The first was from a bank. It wanted to offer me a loan. The next was a travel agency. It wanted to inform me about customised holidays at ‘reasonable rates.’ Then there was a property developer. He wanted to entice me with deluxe apartments or a villa, if I preferred it. Next was a cable operator. He wanted to sell me a DTH connection. This was followed by BSNL. It urged me to take advantage of the latest, high speed broadband.

I was getting a little tired of answering these unimportant calls. Should I stop? What if a call was important? If it was and I didn’t return it, it would send me on a guilt trip. So I plodded on earnestly. At the very end, a dear friend of mine came on line in response to my call. I was thrilled to hear her voice. She was in Bangalore for a short while and wanted us to meet. When such is the case, when someone told me she called and called but there was no answer, I was a bit puzzled. It was strange that only her number went unnoticed. So I double-checked but no, like Macavity, it was not there. Was my caller ID getting selective or was it being discriminatory? Or was there a simple reason not apparent to me? I have yet to figure it out.

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