By Mr. Monish Kaushal
Feb 6, 2019 at 04:30 PM
Alexander Graham Bell gave us the ring tone by inventing telephone at the age of 29 in the year 1876. On March 3rd 2019, Bell would have turned 172 years in the era of smart phones.
Alexander Graham Bell's notebook entry of 10 March 1876 describes his successful experiment with the telephone. Speaking through the instrument to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, in the next room, Bell utters these famous first words, "Mr. Watson -- come here -- I want to see you."
90 years later in 1966 for the first time I used AG Bell's discovery at Bareilly, where my father was posted. Telephone in India at that time was meant for the selected few in any city. We never had phone at home .This instrument which I used for the first time was installed at my relative's place in Bareilly. He was the Dealer for Escorts Tractor and Motor cycles.
We had gone to do a long distance call. Unlike today there were no STD booths. The procedure to book a call was simple (complicated in today's norms). Pick up the receiver and wait as we hear the sound of a ringing bell in the receiver. At the other end, a telephone operator would pick up and asked for the number. After noting down the number the operator would then ask “Any PP?” (Particular Person). We would provide the name of the PP. The next question from the operator was “duration of call please?” Generally it used to be in the multiples of 3 minutes or 6 minutes. We were to be charged accordingly. Operator's next question was, "urgent or ordinary call"? Normally we would book Ordinary call since the rates were half of the Urgent call.
It would take an hour or more to get an ordinary call matured. Sometimes we had to wait for hours together to get the call. The time factor also depended on the distance. The longer the distance, more time for the call to get matured. However if we wanted to get the call immediately, then we could book a Lighting Call. As the name suggests, it was instant but we had to shell out 10 times more money than the urgent call.
Lighting call was done only in extreme emergency. Whenever we booked a lighting call it was more official in nature. But we ensured that we were surrounded by couple of staff, friends, and visitors in order to create an impression on them that we are booking a lighting call.
Once the call was through we would get a call from the operator and then it was thunder and lightning with lot of excitement. We would shout at the top of our voice, talk very fast (since the time was running out), pass the receiver to ensure that as many people could talk and in order to make the best use of our talk time. Once the call was over, there was a great relief and the atmosphere was upbeat. Getting a call matured was a feat in itself.
Today when I look back I realize we have taken a quantum leap in terms of phone technology but we have lost out on...
Excitement...Enthusiasm... Exhilaration... Enjoyment ...and the Anticipation of a call getting matured