Many years ago – when getting a telephone connection from the never so reliable Department of Telecommunications (DoT) took months, if not years, a dead phone implied an infinitely extended coma and a call meant one call irrespective of the time talked – we got our first telephone. And almost immediately followed the first cross connection, in fact a multi cross connection. It was always entertaining to pick up the phone and listen to a girl complaining to her boyfriend about his lack of interest in her, housewives on with their desperate gossip and the best part was that I had the option of intervening into their discussions with my point of view. This went on for sometime until someone pissed with my juvenile suggestions on how to improve their love life used his connections in the DoT, the phone went dead and didn’t resurrect for long.
Hearing what others speak incites the eavesdropper in us. Even the most inanimate of discussions will hold the listener’s attention for some time, if he/she happens to overhear that. The chances of someone else overhearing seems to be great, therefore you often get to hear in films and outside, “We shouldn’t be discussing these things over the phone,” “Deewaron ke bhi kaan hote hain” (even the walls have ears). If someone is bugging a politician chatting with an actress, the politician should be worried. His worry has brought out of the closet many other suspected victims of phone tapping. “My phone is being tapped,” is the next status symbol after Z-category security.
Their phones being tapped, stingers lurking with their hidden cameras, their online activity possibly monitored – it sometimes feels good being an unknown Indian. In gratitude of this realisation I will not grumble the next time when I get late for work because a VIP is taking his granddaughter to the zoo to look at the monkeys.