Black is indeed a depressing color but it is a color I love. But, despair and black seems to go well with my mobile phone. It is a black Samsung D500 and each time I look at it, it feels me with a kind of sadness which is hard to explain. It is not about the phone....it is not about the numbers saved in it but about the people who get connected at the other end of the line. A communicative device sometimes teaches you the value of relations and life and it is a lesson well taken as far as I am concerned now.
I used to be proud of my skill in handling people and keeping a consistent string of communication with my friends. With more than 500 contacts in my phone, it does seem like an endless channel of communication for me and I always felt that I would never feel lonely in my life. But, lately, I have come to understand that contacts on a phone-book are merely names which are a combination of alphabets. The greater significance of the person adorning that combination is lost somewhere along the way. For that matter, I believe that calling a phone number a contact, really explains the point. I used to talk to over 100 different people on my mobile, being the Relationship Manager of the company, in Hyderabad. You could see me walking with the phone to my ear, eating with the phone to my ear, typing on the keyboard with the phone to my ear and even probably taking a leak with the phone to my ear. I believed in the fact that my contacts needed to reach me without any sort of delay.
Now, that was almost a year back. After 6 months glued to the phone, I wondered if the mobile phone was becoming a part of my body. But in the past 4 months, I have been in Trivandrum, I constantly look at the mobile phone and check for any signs of life. At times, I need to slide it open to ensure that it is indeed on. One of the most busiest handsets had gone virtually dead in the course of a year. It feels more or less like my life though, which has almost fizzled out to a point of no existence. At this point of time, my mobile phone acts as a constant reminder to the stagnant life that I am leading.
Even though, I hardly get any calls, I do feel like calling up people every now and then. Sounds good enough but the bundle of paper that comes along with the bill listing my outgoing calls and the 4 digit figure at the "Amount due" column doesn't really look anywhere near good. With zero income and bulk expenditure through mobile bills, my financial future looks rather bleak now. I ask myself - "What is the point in calling up people who are probably considering the same more as a disturbance than as a friendly call?". The good thing or bad thing probably, about our social setup is that we are taught to be polite. So, no matter whom I call, except for a select few, nobody actually tells me that they are busy. They might be busy but then again it is not proper manners to tell that on the face of a friend who calls. It might be our upbringing, but that itself lays one of the first seeds of social hypocrisy. It in effect, dilutes the essence of friendship and brings it to the level of a forced acquaintance.
Before I wrote this next paragraph, I had casually picked up my mobile and scrolled through the contacts. Suddenly, they ceased to be numbers of my friends. They became a combination of numbers represented by a combination of alphabets which related to an individual with whom I had a definite acquaintance at some point of time. The moment I started looking at the complexity of that multiple level of connection, I realised that there was probably nothing that binds me to most of the people in the list except that our paths might have crossed at some point of time. This realisation really made me question my extravagance in trying to keep in touch with them through the mobile phone.
Out of 100 people I called, I can probably say that atleast 70 of them would have lifted the phone half heartedly with a scowl on their face which said "Why the hell is he calling now?". There maybe 15 others who might not have a scowl but again they would try to wrap up the conversation as fast as they can and in all probability, it would sound like a quizzing sessions where I become the quiz master. The next 10 would probably talk to me out of respect or love but would use the call as a chance to speak more about their life. In short, I pay money from my pocket to listen to their life. That doesn't sound very exciting and is more like going to the movie theater except for the fact there is no entertainment value for their life. The remaining 5 are the ones who probably care for me sincerely. But, the irony is that I tend to be very complacent with them and take them for granted. Either way, at the end of it all, I suddenly feel myself all alone. There might be a concerned friend in the legal field calling all the way from Delhi to check on my status or probably an MBA student from Cochin who discusses everything with me and wants me to do the same with her too. But, then again in an overall probability, considering the number of contacts I hold, the percentage level is rather extremely minute.
So, here lies the life of a Relationship Manager who seems to have endless list of contacts on his mobile and yet gets a call once in a blue moon. Is it because nobody has time anymore or is it because I was actually just saving numbers which were no less different from 911 or 100 - to be dialled only in times of emergency. I don't know. The sincerity aspect behind phone calls is a thing of the past and instead of sharing emotions and lives, the phone is becoming a mere communicative device for me. Now, isn't it ironic that the term "phoney" means pretentious or insincere? Did the phone have anything to do with the evolution of the word. Maybe not but somehow it feels so!!!