Man versus mobile


It looked innocuous enough, sitting there on the shelf in the showroom. Sleek, shiny, and smart. Who knew there would be an evil mind lurking beneath that cool exterior?

The salesman stepped up with the practised ease of an old conjuror, and launched into a smooth spiel about its impressive, expansive range of capabilities and functions — the latest android OS, the smartphone to beat all smartphones, god of GPRS, multimedia magician, saviour of mankind. Touch and you shall receive. Or send, share, spread, as the case may be.

By the end of his little speech, it seemed the only thing this geeky gizmo couldn’t do was cook the dinner and walk the dog. The wily salesman’s bending over backwards trying hard to look sincere, savvy and servile all at once, worked.

So the credit card got flashed, the signature got scribbled on the dotted line, and the deed was done.

And you walked out, quite pleased with your judicious purchase, proud owner of the latest, greatest thing since beyblade. “Ha!” said a little voice that seemed to emanate from the bag you were carrying. Or, was it just your overactive imagination?

And then began the war of Man versus Mobile, Intelligence versus Artificial Intelligence, Good versus Evil. Yes, the mobile was positively evil. Mean, malicious, malevolent. It delighted in cocking a snook at you at every given opportunity.
On a long-distance call with your brother in the US while pretending to be in a business discussion at work?

That’s the moment the damn thing will decide to switch to speaker mode. Expecting a desperately important call from a client and wondering why he hasn’t still reverted? Oh, wait, there are three missed calls — the phone had gone into silent.

Chatting with a friend for the last two hours, indulging in some harmless character assassination of all common acquaintances? The phone decides you’ve spread enough ill-will in the world and decides to disconnect you. All of its own accord. Its own free will. And with a nasty chortle accompanying each such machination. It’s true, I swear! I’m sure I’ve heard it.

I mean, aren’t we supposed to be the superior beings around here? Are humans not controlling the planet anymore? What’s the world coming to??? How can you expect to keep your kids in check if you can’t even manage to control your cellphone?

The list of cruel deeds perpetrated by this devious device is endless: when the call is important, the battery will die on you. When that unforgettable (and unrepeatable) Kodak moment presents itself to be captured on camera, it will hibernate. And when you try to quickly forward those critical details to someone just as they’re about to start their meeting, it will go into a slow, languorous loop. And chortle.

It’s a Chinese conspiracy, I’m telling you, to destabilise India and slowly the world at large. It’s a plague unleashed upon the world, far worse than the Bubonic plague. It’s a curse that has us all in its horrible vice-like grip with no hope of escape or redemption.

But wait. All is not lost. If the phone can be smart, humans can be smarter. I’ve come upon an equally devious solution to beat the thing at its own game. Now, every time the cellphone rings, I run and quickly note the number flashing on the tiny virulent screen and disconnect the offending object. Why? I then use the landline! Now then, guess who gets to say the last ‘Ha!’

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