"Missed Call" Syndrome

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It struck me that sometimes a habit is established so well in our sub-consious that when we act in a certain way neither do we realise it nor do we find it outside the ordinary. Only when one's attention is especially directed, does one probe regarding the reasons. The telecom providers' plight never occured to me earlier nor the differences in communicating amongst various other cultures or countries! But the more I read regarding the subject, the more questions I had...

The Headlines in Times of India reads "Indians Pro at giving missed calls", The Telegraph says, "Missed Call Mania", and according to Business Standard, "Missed call virus bugs telecom firms." These Headlines range from the years 2006 to 2009 and along with the headlines even Indians seem to be consistent in being rated the #1 country when it comes to using the "Missed Call" Facility.

We have come a long way since the time mobile users were charged for incoming calls in contrast to the present where currently we are charged according to every second that we talk (Thanks to Docomo!) but mobile service providers have still not been able to convert the missed calls into paid calls. The student plans, corporate plans, CUG plans have although helped a small percentage of the conversion but the transformation has not been significant enough to remove the crease from the brow of the Airtels, Vodafones, Reliances etc. In India, missed calls is not all about saving that extra penny but rather it has been established as an encoded message customised according to the reciever.

The various "uses" of a missed call may be as follows: When a person is leaving the house a missed call acts as a signal for the other to leave the house; a student might use the facility to inform his parents to call him back; a tourist might give the cab driver a missed call as a signal to bring the car to the decided destination; a planned missed call maybe used as an excuse to get away from a situation; the number of rings also denote different messages. It is even said that due to Sunil Mittal's hectic schedule, when an urgent message needs to be communicated to him, he is given a missed call to convey the need to prioritize the same! 

It is true that the cost-effective and time-consuming nature of the Missed Call has helped it sustain longer than expected. It is evident that this facility has been refined with time where there is a clear transition from simple to complex messages being conveyed with a ring or two or even three! Although these codes can be interpreted in infinite ways, for the group using the facility amonsgst themselves these codes are established and well-defined. It is a habit that has dissolved well in the Indian culture and the cellular providers are finding it difficult to seperate the molecules.

"Should I give you a missed call when I post my next blog?" :)


roopali said...

I agree with you. I had never thought this befor. But actually I do give missed calls to my Dad and brother everyday. The missed calls mean that I am free now and can to talk to them all.

This is a very small thing but its true according to what you have written that we have got so used to giving missed calls to each other with a special meaning attached to it. And I think that I am going to continue with this habit of mine forever, let VODAFONE, my cellphone service provider try its best to convert my missed calls into recieved calls.

shane raj said...
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