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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chp 271. The long and short of phone numbers

When I went home recently for my sister’s wedding, we cleaned up our house real good, including a couple of places that had been untouched for years. And guess what I found lying among the cobwebs behind an antique cupboard?

- My dad’s old designation card!

Lolz. Check out the phone numbers!

Man, those were the good ol days. Just four digits! Now all landlines are 7 digits in Aizawl and 8 digits in Mumbai, while mobile phone numbers are 10 digits. How many of us can actually remember a friend’s phone number when he tells us verbally for the first time? We always need a paper or mobile phone to take down the number, right?

Forget new numbers. It took a long time for me to remember my own mobile number (of course if people ask me why I don’t know my own number, out goes the classical retort: “Dude, I don’t call myself up”.)

But back in the days of 3 digit and 4 digit numbers, remembering a phone number was a piece of cake.

Our dads and grandpas were really fortunate. All they had to do was approach a girl and ask, “Hey babe, can I have your number?” and she’d be like, “heehee… its… 412.” And our stud with bellbottom pants and dirty comb sticking out of his back pocket didn’t lose his composure at all. He remained cool as ever because he needed neither pen nor paper to write down that number. 412. Memorized.

And can you imagine how dialing a wrong number must have been like back then?

“Hello, is this John?”
“I’m sorry, I think you have dialed the wrong number.”
“Oh! Isn’t this… 14?”
“No, this is 15.”
“Oh my apologies then. Wait a minute… 15? Albert?”
“Dude! This is Mikey. Phone number 12.”
“Whazzaaaa Mikey!”

Ah, the bliss of not having to memorize much.

The biggest pain about 10 digit mobile numbers is that, apart from the fact that it is already such a long number, there are certain species of people who keep changing their mobile numbers, as if it’s fashion or something that must be changed with every season. Yeah I can name a few regular visitors to my blog who are like that too, but I won’t, lest they change their numbers again

One fine day, you suddenly receive an sms from an unknown number that proudly says – “This is my new number”. And you’d be like, “Who the hell is this?” because many smart people smartly forget to mention who they are in such text messages. I’m sure you would have received such an sms too. I usually reply, “And this is my old number”, while many of my friends simply reply “ok” and then delete the sms.

There are a few phone numbers I have memorized, but most of them were during the days of expensive call rates. Remember those days you had to pay for incoming calls? Hehe… Those days, even though I had a mobile phone, I always dialed my friends from a PCO, and when we called certain numbers too many times, our fingers immediately followed the rhythm it is used to.

Yup, if you ask me what is A’s number I may not be able to tell you, but if you give me a phone, I will dial her number correctly. Force of habit indeed.

But now, we simply press our friend’s name on our handset, and voila - A call is made. Some of us even “say” the person’s name to make the call. Maybe in the future, all we'll have to do is think that person's name, who knows.

And before mobile phones entered the Indian market, we all carried that small diary, where we wrote down all the landline numbers of all our friends and cousins and crushes. Lolz. But unfortunately, technology has killed the little black book, because it is not necessary to have one anymore.

Now we no longer stand in front of an STD booth (sometimes in a long queue) waiting for our chance to call up our beloved long distance girlfriend/boyfriend. And yes it was extremely pissing off to stand in line for more than 30 minutes and when our chance finally came - the person we called was not at home!

Yes. Frustrating indeed, but hey, those are the memories we will never forget. Now we spend all our spare time, trying to memorize lots of 10 digit numbers that change frequently. I must say I prefer the good ol days in many ways. Days when only one house in a particular locality had telephone or TV. You can’t deny it; those days were extremely fun and memorable.

Cheers. This is me signing out before I get more nostalgic.


mnowluck said...

lol.. eh who smsed me with "This is my new number ? :P

illusionaire said...

Who? :P

dr_feelgood said...

Very old Joke.
'What's Adam and Eve's phone number?'
'281' ( Two Ate One )

Alejendro said...

Depends on the owner of the number... there's this one gal who gave me her number, it was 14 digits (not from India) I haven't for that number until now.

aduhi said...

And then there are the people who constantly lose their phones and change their number with every new phone, and the ones (esp folks in Mizoram) who have two to three numbers and you have to dial all the numbers before you could finally get hold of them..

illusionaire said...

@ dr_feelgood: lolz. By the way, do you think Eve would be jealous if Adam received a phone call? She'd be like, "Who are you speaking to? And why are so many of your ribs missing?" XD XD XD XD

@ Alej: I am shocked!!!! Not because the number is 14 digits, but because a perfectly sane girl actually gave you her number! :D

@ Aduhi: lolz. My sister in Aizawl has four mobile phones with all different networks because of the network issue there. Its so funny watching her walk around with four phones stuffed in different pockets :D

Eveline said...

My mobile phone keeps changing quite regularly but my number has been the same for the longest time! I'm quite ol' fashioned that way. And might i add it's a pretty simple number- easy to memorize and remember... maybe you'd like to try it. :P

Anonymous said...

Ours was 8301. lung i van ti leng reuh ve :-)


Sekibuhchhuak said...

Ni dawn tak e, kan venga phone nei hmasa ber te number chu, 1 ( one ) :-D Khat khat kum kha ni ta in ka hria :-))

I pa chu avan lo lal ber ber ve. Tihi chuan, Neihbawih bel a in huan pawh ka hria :-)

illusionaire said...

@ Eve: I would love to try it, except I dont know the number *wink*.

I too once had an easy to remember number back in B'lore. I could spell my name with the number. Unfortunately I no longer have that number.

@ Pi Blek: hehehehe... mi lung tih leng hi a nuam eeee. :P

@ Seki: lolz. Neihbawih lam te engtin nge i hriat ve a? Huan a ni tawh lo. De-addiction centre ah kan siam daih tawh.

Anonymous said...

i must be really old 'cause our first number was just 2 digits - 29. sometime back in 70-71 when i was a kid. it was such a novelty back then that even basic phone etiquettes such as saying 'hello' on picking up the phone were, i think, unknown to us when the phone was first installed. because i distinctly recall my dad picking up the phone with the words '29 speaking' (i.e. 'two-nine speaking', not 'twenty nine speaking' :). hehe. at least my dad didn't start a trend there. imagine going '9-8-1-2-3-4-5-6-7 (or whatever) speaking' every time you pick up the line :)

Pixie said...


Classic retort: "Dude, I don’t call myself up!!"

And yea, I STILL remember the old number we had! ;)

Soooper post!

Banno said...

That made me nostalgic too. :-)

Alejendro said...

Yeah, Sengman, I found out later that she was kinda hooker.. :-P

illusionaire said...

@ ruolngulworld: lolzzzzz. Yeah imagine people going like that when they answer the call. A whole minute wasted. hihi. 29. Boy thats really old :D

@ Pixie: hehehe... sometimes its hard to forget certain things in life that matters :D

@ Banno: :-) I miss those days.

@ Alej: "kinda hooker"??? Either one is a hooker or one is not. You can't be... "half-half". :-)

toy soldier said...

Thlak fo loh hi a thra, phone no hi chu, trul beek te ah lo chuan.. :)

illusionaire said...

Hahaha.... no comments :D

Nahai said...

Very insightful.