Missed Call

From some ‘not so authentic’ source I have read that “Missed Call” is an Indian invention or discovery, not sure exactly where this should fit in. But realizing, how thrifty the idea is, it is very likely that this could be Indian. This should make us feel proud as a nation because we as a nation did not invent anything lately. By “invention” I mean conceptualizing, experimenting and bring the final product to a presentable state and tell the world “This is Indian.” No, we have not done anything like that in recent past.

When I was growing up in my village, there was no telephone anywhere around. Only public phone that was available was in the post office. One had to speak very loud, so loud that people at a distance of five hundred feet could hear. Sometimes I see that many old people speak very loud on phone, probably they still carry the legacy in their mind or they could be missing the “good-old-days”.

“Missed Call”, literally speaking was not there till mobile phones, which are capable of displaying the phone numbers of the callers came into existence. A missed call is made by dialing a mobile (cell) phone number and disconnect as soon as the first ring is heard.

This is now widely used by companies, institutions as well as by many political parties.

Many companies, when they launch a new product, they advertise something like: “Please give us a missed call and we will call you back to explain how our product works.”   This makes the caller feel good because he or she could talk to the company representative without spending any money, it is the company salesperson who would call him or her back and the expense for the call would be borne by the company. “Missed Call” is also used for opinion poll by many institutions to understand people’s mind. For example in a recent opinion poll conducted by an institution, people were requested to give a missed call if they agreed that “Capital punishment should be enforced for crime against women.”

Even political parties use this idea of “missed call” for many of their campaigns. E.g. a recent advertisement by the ruling political party was like this: “Please give us a missed call if you want to join us and want to bring back India’s past glory” or “please give us a missed call if you support vegetarianism” or “give us a missed call if you think Bhagavad Gita should be taught to every Indian irrespective of his/her faith.”

But this “missed call” as an idea was there in my village and I am confident it was there in every village in India and probably in many parts of the world as well.

Those days a boy used to study as long as his father stayed at home, no sooner had his father left for the office than he closed his books and went out to play. A mother, generally, never interfered into the study of her son; no sooner had her husband returned home from work in the evening than she would complain against the son about all the mischiefs committed by him during her husband’s absence and the father used to beat the son black and blue, quantum of punishment generally remained the same irrespective of whether his son had cracked some other boy’s head open with a stone or whether he had stolen fruit from a neighbor’s garden. Those days doing exercise was considered “wastage of time” but the endeavor of disciplining each and every son by physical means was definitely a good exercise. It was generally believed that harsher the punishment would be, higher would be the chance that the boy would become a better person.

Those days it was normal for a man to punish his neighbor’s son with the same enthusiasm as punishing his own son; it was only appreciated in good spirit and was never criticized. As soon as a father had left home for work, his son would come out of the house and would call his close friend and then would wait in the playground for him to join. But since there was a great likelihood that the friend’s father could still be at home, he was called from a safe distance by using some other name, which was mutually agreed upon. Otherwise the friend’s father would come out and would beat his son’s friend for disturbing his son during his study. When the friend, who was still studying under his father’s hawk-eye, would hear the voice of his close friend calling by that ‘agreed upon’ name, his physical body would be at home in front of the open book but his soul would be in the playground and the moment his father would leave for work the body would merge with the soul in the playground.

Hence the concept of “missed call with encrypted caller id” existed much before mobile phone came to market.

But the days of “missed call” are going to be over soon as we are moving away from “circuit switching” technology and embracing “packet switching” technology for all sorts of communications.

Author: Mintu Ghoshal

Follow him on facebook at mintu.ghoshal.9


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