The Man from Madras Musings was a witness to the whole thing and so you can take it as being the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. MMM was in the driveway of a commercial building parking his car when he noticed a man walking down the drive, his attention completely riveted to his cell phone, which had just indicated that he had received a message. In the process of reading and replying to it, the man did not notice a car coming up the drive. The driver’s attention was equally diverted to his own cell phone, through which he had just sent a message and was in the process of checking if he had a response.

The end result can be imagined. There was a screeching of wheels and the car came to a quick halt, narrowly missing the man who was walking and reading his messages. Which was all to the good, for if the car had not halted, the man’s life would have come to a complete halt. The two, driver and pedestrian, looked daggers at each other for a moment and then burst out laughing. It transpired that they were sending messages to each other all the while! What was forgotten in all this was the fact that there could have been a near fatality that was luckily avoided. In the end, it was MMM’s sang-froid that was affected.

There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, wrote the bard, but to continue with that quote, MMM has to say that cell phone users in our city rough-hew the process quite a bit. Guardian angels of our citizens must be having a full time job rescuing their wards from sticky ends caused by the cell phones.

That said, MMM has been spending quite a bit of time pondering over the various people who use cell phones while they are on the go. There is one variety that uses what is called the hands-free. The equipment here is of two kinds, one is a pair of headphones and the other is a small electronic gadget that is worn on the ear like an ornament and goes by the name of blue tooth, by which MMM does not mean a poisoned denture. Either way, be it headphone or blue tooth, it keeps the user’s ears eternally busy, though the hands may be free to do other things such as driving, and also sending messages. This variety of users gives us the impression of indulging in soliloquy, while they are in reality involved in a deep conversation, oblivious of everything else.

The next one is exclusive to the two-wheeler who is law-abiding to the extent of using a helmet. The shield for the skull is not so much used for protection as it is as a convenient receptacle for the cell phone, which snuggles up to the ear. That way conversation can be carried on merrily.

The last variety is the worst of the lot. Both car and two-wheeler users belong to this group. They keep the phone between the shoulder and the tilted head in order to carry on conversing. The head is ever at an angle so that the world is seen from new perspectives. As for the body, particularly if it is on a two-wheeler, it is at a completely opposite angle. What with the two-wheeler by itself leaning in a different angle, such people give us a full understanding of what Picasso was all about. The only positive in this is that the user cannot send messages. MMM is, however, quite sure that technology will soon find a way out.