MIDWAY: Necessary evil

Tring... Tring!” The pin-drop silence is interrupted by a steady buzz of a cell phone. Vacant faces turn towards the sound. The cell phone owner steps aside and begins answering the call at the top of his voice as if the whole world was tuned in.

The otherwise somber environment of our seminar is disturbed in a similar fashion time and again. Our foreign guests, imaginably, look bewildered. Speakers throw an anxious look at the audience.

The one receiving the call barges into the room again and takes his seat, looking dignified and without an iota of shame.

He is not at all sorry or ashamed of disturbing everyone else while attending to his “all-important” call. I am sure many other meets and seminars have been disturbed by the blaring of the cell phones.

Mobile phones are more of a status symbol than a necessity these days. Anybody with a mobile is looked upon and respected in his or her society. If his phone rings when dealing with important issues, he becomes even more dignified. Seldom does he think what effect this has on others. Neither does he bother to turn it off or put it on silent mode.

Mobile phones, a boon of the 21st century, have made our lives comfortable by making it easy to get to people. It helps us make important business dealings in a trice and from afar. We can share our joys and sorrows with the people halfway around the world. For the ordinary people, it is of tremendous help at times of necessity. A status symbol or not, it does serve an important function.

Yes, I also understand that one might get important calls even while busy

in an equally important meet or function. But this does not mean he should disturb others by his funny ring tones. Instead, one can always put it on a silent mode and quietly slink away. In fact, one should let these precious opportunities slip through to show how gentle and civilised one is. So, in your next meeting, don’t let others give you is-that-your-phone-ringing-again look.

Perhaps this extract of Shakespeare from King Lear sums it the best:” The art of our necessities is strange/ That can make vile things precious.” Or is it the other way around?