A fortnight without cellphone calls


Can you imagine a day without getting a cell phone call or SMS?  Difficult, right?

I had a chance to experience a fortnight without this when I made a business trip to US for two weeks.  My company did give me a choice - a local cell phone or a calling card.  I chose the later.

I took my cell phone with me to US. Of course, it had no signal once I landed in US.  I saw the battery running out rapidly, as it tried to get a signal in vain. After a day or two, I realized I could do one thing that stopped it from doing that - turn the "Flight Mode on".

You will ask me why did I have the phone running. Ah, it was a smartphone. Besides the call, it did a few other things - alarm, music, camera to name a few. And internet (through wi-fi).  Since both my office and hotel had wi-fi, I could use the phone to do stuff on the 'Net!

In fact, the phone saved the day on my first day at work, when I reached my office at 8 AM and found myself facing a locked door.  My phone picked up my office wi-fi and connected to it (using the same credentials that worked in India).  I could then connect through Skype to a colleague and tell him about my predicament.  He then called someone inside the office, who opened the door for me!

I found the need for a phone which could receive/make calls when I had to meet up with friends.  I had to take a local train to a station a few miles away and then had to be picked up by a friend. I could call my friends, of course - from the hotel before I started.  Luckily my destination station had a payphone from which I could call my friend to let her know I had reached.

This was not the case in another instance, when I met up with another friend in a restaurant.  I reached early and could not find a single payphone anyway in the vicinity.  I realized that cellphone had made pay   phones redundant and put them out of business - even in US!  I could distinctly recall more payphones 10 years back.

More than the voicecalls, imagine the relief from SMS - most of which would be spam.  As if we did not have enough spam emails!

It has been a welcome break and it will end the instant I land in Bangalore over the weekend.  Let me enjoy till then!

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