Tag Archives: Mobile Phone Etiquettes

Why don’t you marry your phone?

Yesterday, my corporate honcho friend, Jayant, went from being super-happy to being super-depressed, in a matter of two hours. And when he came crying to me, I told him it’s his own doing. He’s calling me insensitive but I want you all to tell me if I was right or not.

 Why dont you marry your phone

Yesterday he was all excited about going for lunch with an old friend, a girl he used to have a crush on, in school. They had lost touch over the years and Facebook got them back in contact. Their date began on a great note but soon the girl told him he’s being rude and left the lunch in-between. You know why? Because Jayant-the-stupid was texting on his cellphone the entire time.

‘What’s rude in that? I wasn’t talking on the phone, just exchanging some important messages,’ he asked me. ‘It is definitely not done if a human being around you has to compete for attention with a gadget in your hand,’ I said, knowing well that I, too, suffered from always-checking-the-cellphone-syndrome. But one day of being on the receiving end of this treatment made me realise how it feels when the person you’re talking to, is constantly typing away on his or her mobile.

It could be anyone doing it… your friend, your spouse, your colleague or even your teenaged son/daughter, and they may think that they are attending to something earth-shatteringly important … but you know what, it’s wrong and you should not put up with it.

Things have become worse with Whatsapp or BBM or imsg or some such nonsense that doesn’t even cost anything… or so you think. What it could cost you is your friendship, your relationship… or simply your basic manners.

Here are three ways of dealing with people who have a cellphone surgically attached to their hands:

Set a rule that your meeting with them will be cellphone free. Unless your friend is the Prime Minister of the country or an emergency surgeon, there’s no reason why he/she can’t put the phone in the bag for a little while. Actually, even the Prime Minister can. Cellphones have made it possible for us to stay connected all the time, they haven’t made it necessary that we do.

Constantly exchanging messages with someone remote only shows that that person or email is more important than the real conversation happening in front of you. And if that was true, you would not have been sitting here in front of someone else. And two-timing’s never right, is it?

2 Don’t carry on talking to someone whose eyes (and thumbs) are constantly on the phone. It’s wrong to be wasting your words on a person who may be uploading his dog’s picture on Facebook as you speak. If you stop saying anything, the person is bound to look up and in all probability, will say, ‘Go on, I’m listening.’ Just reply, ‘No it’s okay.

First finish what you are doing as it may be important.’ That usually gets the point across and they put the phone away. You need not be rude to a rude person, and there shouldn’t be any guilt in saying something that’s only logical. Just remember to be clear, not sarcastic.

Pick up your own phone and text the person sitting in front of you, saying something like, ‘Hi, sitting here and waiting for your full attention’. It may seem like a joke but would make them realise that others feel it’s the only way to get their attention and how that’s just not right, or acceptable. A final word to those addicted to texting or checking their cellphones all the time. I know you are itching to say that it’s necessary and you do it only because there are important work-related mails or messages to answer, which can’t wait.

Remember that this is how all addictions begin. We start out by replying to crucial messages and soon it becomes a habit for us to attend to everything on our phone instantly… even if it means forwarding a joke while you’re having a meal or a conversation with a friend who may feel ignored. And remember, the phone companies have a vested interest in giving the facility of typing out multiple messages in one go, but that should not make you forget that the very definition of SMS is Short Message Service, while we end up typing essays on our phone.

This time when you go out with friend, try ditching the phone instead of ditching human beings around you. Believe me it feels good.

Sonal Kalra will no longer be called ‘Phonal Kalra’, after this piece. She will make sure she texts this link to all her friends throughout the day.

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Graham bell must be in hell

Today's Viral Video - Must Watch & Share. Subscribe to My YouTube Channel.

Sorry, the mean headline is there just because it rhymes. Why would poor Bell uncle be in hell, though he must be writhing in his grave seeing how we turned his really useful invention into a portable version designed to exhibit a gross lack of etiquette. You know, I keep bumping into many of you who are nice enough tell me that you are big fans of this column. Today I’m seeking a favour from those of you who may be lawyers. You have to save me from the murder charge when (and note that I’m not saying ‘if’) I end up killing some etiquette criminals, especially those whose modus operandi involves a mobile phone.


I’d written about the exact same thing earlier but the latest outrage stems from an incident for the nth time when someone’s phone went off during a music concert I recently attended. The pianist had the patience to compete with the shrill Aa Ante Amlapuram ringtone but I felt like banging my head on the wall, seeing the blatant disregard some people have for basic courtesy. I would like to think of Indians as an intelligent species but it pains me to say that nowhere else in the world would people be so pig-headed when it comes to silencing or not using their cell phones in certain situations. Being addicted to phones, otherwise, is a universal phenomenon. Last week, Eva Restaurant on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles announced that it’ll offer a discount to those diners who would agree to depositing their cell phones at the reception while eating, so that they can enjoy the ambience, the food AND the company, in peace. What a lovely step, though I’m not sure if it work in India, with most of us having taken a ‘till death does us apart’ vow with our cell phones. Vaise you never know, discount ke liye hum kuchh bhi kar sakte hain. Anyway, coming back to the etiquette bit, I wonder if people do not realise that their phones could be a nuisance to others or that they do know it but don’t care, which is worse. For those who just don’t get it, I’ve decided to adopt the in-your-face and on-your-conscience approach, and have drafted a pledge. It’s my humble request to everyone who is sick of cell phone abuse to bring it to the notice of the offenders and urge them to take it.

I <name> take this solemn pledge that starting the Twenty sixth day of August, Year Two thousand and twelve, that…

— I shall discover and start utilising a facility called ‘turn on the silent mode’ which is available on every darn model of every mobile phone, before I enter a cinema hall, a conference room, a lecture theatre, a concert…and a place of worship.

— I shall enjoy the benefit of the doubt and not put a stamp on my foolishness by taking a call in the middle of a movie or performance and then loudly saying ‘sorry I can’t talk right now. I’m watching a film.’

— I shall not rush to take a call while I’m having a meal unless President Obama or Mukherji has confirmed in writing that he shall be calling at the appointed hour.

— I shall not justify my over-dependence on mobile phones by citing the ‘safety’ argument. I shall remember that most people did reach their intended destinations safe and alive even when cell phones had not been invented.

— I shall politely remind my girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse/mom that calling me every ten minutes to find out where exactly I have reached will not add to my speed of travel in any way. It may just, in fact, delay it.

— I shall not interrupt and insult an on-going conversation with a live human being in front of me by taking a call and starting another conversation with a voice from a distance, unless that voice happens to be that of the boss or the wife. Or the President.

— I shall not disturb friends and colleagues by incessantly pinging them on their mobile chats by misassuming that ‘jo tera hai woh mera hai’ also refers to their time.

— I shall not harass or emotionally blackmail friends by cribbing that they did not take my call. Also, I shall try to understand the logic that if someone has not answered my call for a reason, calling again the very next minute will not magically make them change their mind.

— I shall not celebrate my immense happiness at possessing a cell phone with FM radio or 2000 songs in the memory card by turning myself into a self-styled DJ in metros or buses.

— I shall not take punchlines such as ‘stay connected, anywhere’ literally and not keep updating Twitter/Facebook statuses by the minute describing the lovely breeze even as I’m sitting on the potty.

— I shall realise that God anyway shrunk my thumbs to half the size of the fingers and I can’t punish them further by incessantly punching on the keys just to please my BBM/ WhatsApp contacts.

— I shall gift myself and my family, a ‘hands-free’ hour everyday. And by that, I will not mean using hands-free headsets to use the phone. It would mean keeping the phone away and out of reach for an hour.

— Lastly, at any given point, I shall give more importance and precedence to people rather than gadgets in my life.

That’s it.

Sonal Kalra would like her calmness tips to be handy for you. She’s thinking of getting a cool mobile phone app for that. Oops.