Sunday, September 10, 2006

One Sunday morning, when the doorbell rang.....

I was absorbed in a nice juicy chitchat with a friend on my mobile phone, when the doorbell rang. Continuing with the conversation and holding the phone between my ears and shoulder in the manner guaranteed to give one a sprained neck, I opened the door.

It was the Cable TV guy who had come to collect his monthly subscription. He too had a mobile phone in his hand and was carrying on quite an animated dialogue with some other customer of his. Tilting his head as I had done, parking his mobile phone on his shoulder and barely making eye contact with me, he continued to talk on the phone, while pulling out a card from a folder, with his right hand.

I signed the card, took out my wallet from my trousers and handed him a five-hundred rupee note, while laughing over something my friend told me on the phone.

Now, the monthly subscription, for some reason, comes to Rs 355/- . So, the cable TV guy signaled to me with the five fingers of his left hand that he would like to have five more rupees from me, so that he could return Rs 150/-. All this while, his irate customer on the mobile phone continued to engage his attention.

He collected the five-rupee coin, handed over Rs 150/- to me and walked across to the next house to ring the bell – still mumbling something on his mobile.

I closed the door, returned to my sofa and carried on the conversation with my friend.

Much later I realized that the two of us had been talking continuously, yet not exchanged a word between us, while a transaction worth Rs 355/- had taken place.

A metaphor for our techno-obsessed times? Or a tribute to our multi-tasking capabilities?

4 comments:

Usha said...

Also a sign that we are less inclined to handle real relationships and are more comfortable to hide behind machines.
very good description of our times.

Raj said...

Usha, very true. I have travelled in a car once, where three of us were talking on mobile phones to different people, oblivious to the presence of each other in the car,

Lalita Mukherjea said...

Sheesh! I tend to ask after his aged grandfather's knee and such like. Cable Tv man coming to collect dues is a social event in my calendar. Maybe I don't get as many calls on my cell-phone as you do.

Raj said...

Lalita : Ha, that sounds quite Malgudian.Down with the cell phone, I say.