It was a cloudy afternoon. A slight rain had washed over the city and the clouds were threatening to burst (Though as is usual every year, they did not). I was slowly making my way towards my house trying to stick to that 'non-existent' footpath, jumping over the small puddles of water that had formed and trying to avoid the numerous holes, mud and garbage. That short stretch to my home literally felt like crossing the fabled 'Seven Seas and Seven Mountains'. I was cursing the fate of the poor Chennaite, having to endure such troubles, when a voice rang out slightly behind me, near my right ear - "Chee, Poda Panni" (you pig !). I was startled. Who would scold me like that in broad day light and right on a busy road !
I turned around and noticed a woman, about 30 yrs old, leaning on the gate of a house and giggling looking at something straight ahead of her. The fact that I'm standing right in front of her, looking at her, did not seem to register in her mind at all. "Did I suddenly become invisible?", I wondered. Again, she went on talking, "Nee Eppavume Ippadithaan" (You're always like this).
For a few seconds, I stared stupidly at her, not realizing what's happening. Then it struck me. She's actually talking to someone (probably a boy friend or husband) on her mobile phone. She's using a Bluetooth headset, which is covered inside her hair. For anyone passing by, it appears as though she's addressing them or as though she's talking to herself.
Of late, I've been noticing so many such instances where people are walking on the road, seemingly talking to themselves. Our roads are full of 'Mad' people talking to themselves !!!
Mobile phones have invaded every minute of our lives. Now, with the advent of smart phones, we're spending more time with them even when we're not speaking to anyone. The concept of privacy is almost gone. Work - Life balance has also taken a huge hit. Many bosses and even companies expect their employees to be reachable 24/7. People have become so addicted to mobiles, that they get a compulsive need to get up in the middle of the night to check their emails. They don't really bother about what they're speaking, where they're speaking or who else is around the place.
Today, we were having lunch in our office cafeteria, when I noticed a guy speaking on his mobile and carrying his plate to the washing area. He didnt have a hands-free set. So, all his actions - placing plates in the wash area, opening tap and washing hand (only one hand), drying one hand with paper towel - were one-handed, with the other hand tied to his mobile !!!
But this is nothing compared to another 'mobile' experience that I had, a few months back. I was in the office rest room answering nature's call, when another guy in the stall next to me got a call, on his mobile. If it was me, I would have just cut the call. I hate answering mobiles in the restroom. But this guy chose to answer it. It appeared to be a casual call from a friend. After the initial greetings, they started talking about 'general' topics. They went about discussing the Syrian Catholic Churches in Kerala, about some rituals conducted by some priest in one such church in Kerala and from there jumped to the Communist ruled Kerala government and then about some thing else.
Now, what more can I say to point out the 'Mobile' invasion - A Mobile phone discussion on Syrian Catholic Churches in a Rest Room !!!