Fun-filled, traumatic, joyous, troublesome, boring, cruel, pleasing, satisfying, challenging, tempting, misleading - yes Life is full of 'em - that is why life is so very SPECIAL - and yet the thrill is in "living" life! And all the accompanying ordeals are the frills attached with the thrills.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Trrrrring... Trrrring...

The penetration of mobiles into the nook and corner of the country amazes me no doubt. People get jittery, anxious, restless if they leave their mobile phones behind. Today, as I was reading this post, being the usual self I am, went into a nostalgic walk yet again down memory lane to recaptulate about the black, heavy telephone.

A pista green phone was the cynosure of our visitors' eyes back in mid 80s. We had got it from our abroad return. Back then, it was looked upon as a very 'advanced' phone - the only reasons being that it was a coloured one and had a key pad instead of the circular dial. Discussions would crop up as to how having such a phone would invite levying of an extra fee from the Telephones Department and so we had it covered with a cloth most of the time (how silly!).

Ofcourse the regular phone was the heavy black phone with a jarring trrrring trrrring ringing sound (ringing 'tone' would not apply or was not in vogue then). [Digression: During one of the "Pattimandrams" chaired by Dindigul I.Leoni many years back, he took a dig at the song "Telephone mani pol siripaL ivaLaa" (from the movie 'Indian') leaving it to the imagination of the audience as it how it would sound if a girl were to laugh which sounds like trrrrringggg trrrringgg. Obviously, what Vairamuthu would've had in mind then while penning the lyrics, was the sound of the new phones which somewhat relates to loud giggling]

A person had to be extra careful not drop the receiver onto his/her foot lest it should break - the foot I mean! And there was no tone dialing (or speed dialing). Each swirl of a number had a taka-taka-tak... echoing effect and no... there was no 'redial' option either on such dials. One just had to meticously keep rotating the dial, thereby testing not just the patience but the strength of the index finger as well!

Once, when I visited relatives in Cuddalore, I was amazed to see that the phones there did not even have the dial. Becoming desperately curious, I wanted to know how it worked. Well, simple... you just had to pick up the phone, a person on the other end would ask for a number and you would be connected! But again, no guarantee that the person-on-the-other-end would answer you right away. I seldom felt comfortable talking through such connections as I felt, without an iota of doubt, that my conversation was being tapped. Cuddalore had just 3 digit phone numbers in that 'era'.

An upheal task was to book a trunk call and you would have to thank God if you were lucky enough to have your call placed within a few hours. The process started with calling the trunk booking number, mentioning the place and the phone number, then the person gives you a tracking number. Then you wait, wait, wait! Lets say you book a trunk request at 9 pm, you might get a call by 11 pm - pretty impressive huh? And you thought the other person was talking from a well? No! its a trunk call remember? No wonder the oldies bellow with all their energies when it comes to talking over a phone. Once you are done with the call, you get another call 'confirming' that the call is indeed over. And you probably thought you just spoke for a minute and you get a whooping 80 Rs. entry in the following month's telephone bill! I think there were different classes as well - ordinary and urgent. Urgent was 3 times the cost of ordinary.

There was a day when we had booked a trunk request and since the message was already conveyed, we did not want a huge trunk call bill, so had the receiver put away to avoid getting the trunk call request through!

But the biggest advantage was there was no pulse metering - atleast for local calls. So a minute or an hour of talking all costed the same. Imagine when once owing to my absence from school, I had my friend dictate History notes over phone.

So people who still think India hasn't made great strides in anything.... THINK AGAIN!


simplemissie said...

Where am I? Everything has changed.The blog looks a little different now.

LOL! It's funny you had someone dictate of all 'history notes' over the phone during school days. The long lenghthy ,tiring notes...yawn

I still like those old dialling phones ,it's kind of fun but hardly able to see any such phones these days. My aunty had a blue dialling phone for quite sometime now it's all the walky talkies and ofcourse our very new--unable to live without--cell phones,they start singing instead of ringing.That too the song sometimes has an opposite emotion to what we would be going through...just imagine -you are in a serious meeting and it sings "Dhoom machale...."and your manager stares at you for sometime and says "All mobiles on silent mode please"

Waiting for the new movie "Love story 2050" ,for sometime we can imagine the next generation --well what will it be called's scary isn't it.But life's that way ...nothing lasts for ever...Change is the order of the day...oops ..."a line from my civics book probably"...I dont wanna think much ..I might weep...Grownups dont cry.

Ravi said...

Hi Sowmya,
How r u? Loooong time isnt it? Good to see someone liking the old phone. Yes, I really miss that heavy old phone. Had some sort of niceness attached to it though sleekness is 'in' now. Thanks for coming by after a long time and do keep visiting.

Vasu said...


That was nice to think back on the good old phones and yes India has come a long way and you rarely see anyone without a cell.

These are few good thinks the liberalization has brought to the common man

Anjana said...

hey found you online while browsing for nadi jyosiyam...can you tell me which nadi jyosisam you were referring about here-
please email me at

Ravi said...

Hi Vasu,
Thanks for coming by and your comment. Pls do keep coming!

I know of one naadi josiyam centre in Tambaram. But have not been there. Heard thru' friends only. Can get the address if you want to.

Indian Voter said...

Hi Ravi

Am pleased to say that I am back. I am sincerely hoping not to take any break atleast until the next General elections.

Balaji S Rajan said...

Hi Ravi,

Thanks for reminding about old Phones and the new technology. In early 70's we had phone in only one of our neighbour's house. Whenever their phone rang all of our neighbours used to rush to our gates to know whether it was a call for one of us. The owners received lesser calls than others. But they had lots of information about others personal matters. Ha..ha... This is a nice post and made me nostalgic as well. I have read it when it was published. I am reading it now again in the morning during busy hours. Now I will be thinking about this while I travel. So you have started my day.

Ravi said...

Thanks and I did read your latest post too as soon as I saw your comment (though this reply is a bit late).

Balaji Sir,
Yes, even when we used to solicit calls for neighbours, we used to ask "will you call back or do you want to wait". Sometimes our friends end up waiting for almost an hour during trunk calls. People even used to leave 1 ruppee coins though we would insist on not paying. Thanks again Balaji sir for your comment.

King Vishy said...

I love getting nostalgic, and u caught me there! :) Great post..

And BTW a million thanks for clearing a decade long doubt of mine.. only now do i realise what kinda telephone mani the song referred to :D

Ravi said...

thanks! btw, most of my posts are almost synonymous with nostalgia. And since you said you like the DD of 90s, you might want to check another old post of mine on DD News.

//And BTW a million thanks for clearing a decade long doubt of mine.. //

Hello... idhukkellam thanks-a?? Anyway, you are most welcome :)

Anonymous said...

hi ravi, rombha rombha thanks for your suppport & letting me know that she has removed the recipes:) right now i am grinning from ear to ear..v. happy, will start posting tomorrow & thank you once again:)

Priyamvada_K said...

You brought back telephone nostalgia. I remember how annoying it was to dial the old phones when some number kept being busy - tested the index finger, indeed!

History notes....hmmm. We had a history teacher who it was rumored gave marks based on how long your answer was. She even measured the length with a ruler, that rumor went :)


Ravi said...

Please don't mention it. This is the least possible from my end.

Welcome back. I remember seeing your comment for an old post, so guess this is not your first visit here.
Regd. history notes, there is another interesting legend about paper correction for such papers. One of them was SAD (System Analysis & Design). The evaluation, it is alleged, would happen by dropping the answer sheet in front of a stand fan. If the sheets fell straight down, 90+, if it flew away, Fail! Now what do you say for this? :))

Anonymous said...

sorry ravi for changing my blog name all of a sudden, but it is just for a short period of time due to a particular reason! To enter into the other blog, just go to my falooda post & click on the word 'bean thread noodles' & u will be taken to my other blog:)waiting to see u there & as soon as you r there, just leave me a word & i will remove the link !