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KRISH ASHOK
TECHNO BABEL

Krish Ashok is a blogger, humourist, techie, columnist, liitle bit violin player, lot of fool-player.

Plan to surprise your wife? Trust mobile operators to ruin it

here is no liberty without the right to privacy, you might think. But the Indian definition of liberty is essentially others right to take liberties with your privacy. And I'm not even speaking about SMS spam and telemarketers who want to sell you platinum credit cards. I'm speaking about situations where you believe you have some privacy but in reality don't. You see, knowing that you are naked and roaming the streets of a city is one thing, but wearing clothes and not knowing that every one else on the road has X-ray glasses is a real problem. Let me give you an example.

Let's say you wanted to surprise your wife by secretly making a trip to Bombay and buying her some choice haute couture from Fashion street near Churchgate. Let's also assume you wanted to add to that sartorial present, the gift of gourmet food in the form of Vada pav from Churchgate station. Now some of you might think that buying your wife some cheap knockoffs from Fashion street and junk food from Churchgate is not the most romantic thing, but I disagree. I believe (and this is only my opinion) that women value the effort you took to make a special gift, not the value of the gift in terms of rupees. If she likes Vadapav from Churchgate station and you live in Chennai, making a trip to Bombay just to get her Vada Pav is infinitely more romantic than buying her a diamond necklace. But I digress. Let's get back to the X-ray glasses problem I spoke about.

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There is no liberty without the right to privacy, but the Indian definition of liberty is essentially others right to take liberties with your privacy.

ow, in order to make a secret trip to Bombay, one needs to buy an air ticket, and to buy an air ticket, one needs to supply a mobile phone number. Apparently in today's world, it's almost as if the Earth will ask for your mobile number before it allows you to breathe its air. So I supplied a mobile number. Theoretically, I could have supplied a fake one, but then one does take risks of theory on the practicals of getting from point A to point B, which, in our country, is mostly a non-trivial task. But supplying ones mobile number to a website is essentially no different from getting the Prime Minister to announce it during the Republic Day speech. All of a sudden, all manner of Bombay-related ticket discounts start bombarding your phone. But even that isn't the bigger problem.

The bigger problem is when, after all manner of surreptitious machinations, you actually get on the flight and reach Bombay. Your phone now "welcomes you to Maharashtra" a few thousand times through SMS. OK, you might think, but that's nothing. You had better pick up every phone call that comes your way, because if you miss one, a pleasant female voice will inform your wife (who is trying to call you for something mundane) that you are currently not reachable. In Marathi. And unless your wife is American, which genetically predisposes her to be unable to recognise any language other than English, she will know what's afoot. And your vada pav and fashion street plans will essentially go down Mahim creek. Remember what I told you about gifts to women. Effort and Surprise are both required. The element of surprise is practically Hydrogen in the Periodic Table of Romantic Manoeuvres.

So if you are planning a surprise gift for your wife, do not expect the labyrinthine mechanisms of call directing between multiple mobile providers to be in sync with your romantic notions. They are out to spoil the surprise by revealing your location, down to the nearest linguistic boundary, in this glorious nation of ours.

 
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