Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Continuing with my series on the mobile phone……..

A colleague who was on a flight from Delhi and I (on a flight from Chennai) arrived in Mumbai airport at around the same time and were to meet up and take the same car to go to the other end of the city.

To locate him in the crowd, I sent an sms to his mobile phone, which was on ‘roaming’ mode in Mumbai. That meant that radio frequency signals from the transmitter of my phone had to reach the closest base station, get beamed to a satellite through a dish antennae, on to some switching station in Delhi, get re-routed to Mumbai over the satellite again and reach the receiver of his mobile phone through the closest base station. It all happens in a jiffy, but it has to take such a circuitous route. At least, this is how I believe it works.

He then dialed back my Chennai number. As I too was on ‘roaming’ mode, the voice signal from the transmitter of his phone had to be transformed into a code to reach the closest base station, get beamed to a satellite through a dish antennae, log on to a switching station in Chennai, get diverted to Mumbai and reach the receiver of my phone through the closest base station.

It so happened that the said colleague was about twenty feet away , had spotted me and was signaling to me with his right hand,even as he was talking over the mobile phone held in left hand.

Like me and my colleague, there were tens of people in the airport, hundreds in Santa Cruz cell area, thousands in Mumbai and millions of people in the world trying to connect and were jamming all frequencies and bandwidths and generally cluttering the atmosphere with electromagnetic radiation or whatever it is these things work on. If human beings had been provided with an additional sense organ to detect such microwaves, each of our brains would have suffered instantly from information overdose and blown its fuse.

The comedian George Carlin wrote in his book, “Brain Droppings” :

"Think of how much information, in the form of radio energy, there is flying through the air, all around us, all over the world, right now and all the time. AM, FM, UHF, VHF, shortwave radio, television, walkie-talkies, cell phones, telephone, satellites, microwave relays, faxes, pagers, taxi calls, police, sheriff, hospitals, fire departments, telemetry, navigation, radar, military, government, financial, legal. medical, media, etc, etc, etc. Trillions and trillions and trillions and trillions of electronic information flying around the world at all times. Think of that. Think of how busy the air is.

Now think of this. A hundred years ago there was none. None. No radiation at all. There was silence all around.."

Think about it.

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