Electronic display at Egmore Station

What is it that makes the average Indian a cell-phone using monster each time he/she embarks on a rail journey? The Man from Madras Musings had ample time to ponder over this issue as he travelled by train from Bangalore to Madras recently. The prevailing atmosphere was extraordinarily like the charge of the Light Brigade, with phones to the left and right of MMM volleying and thundering. Clearly in booking himself on the train, MMM, like someone in the poem, had blunder’d (though why Alfred Lord Tennyson could not have spelt blundered like everyone else is a puzzle to MMM) and had to suffer the rest of the journey, which seemed to stretch endlessly, the train taking its time to cover even half a league, something that even the Light Brigade would have made light of.
Having all the time in the world, MMM was able to make a list of the common kinds of calls people make:
1. Announcing to several friends and relatives the achievement of boarding the train, with supplementary notes on the difficulties faced en route to station, and the quarrel with the porter.
2. A short while later, calling up friends and relatives yet again to tell them that tea and snacks had been served, complete with a detailed analysis of the samosa, the sweet and the packet of fried nuts.
3. Contacting friends and relatives each time a station is passed to announce with unbounded glee that that particular station had indeed been passed.
4. With the serving of dinner, a call to all friends and relatives to describe the bill of fare along with how distant the preparation was from the way mother made it.
5. There is a lull thereafter barring a few sounds to indicate that digestion is well under way. As the journey nears its end, the calling picks up in frequency and volume as each tries to outdo the other in giving instructions to chauffeurs, call taxi drivers, and booking services as to where and how they, the passengers, are to be picked up.
6. In the intervals between the above calls, there are plenty of other calls to discuss the most intimate of details in voices like foghorns – where the house and locker keys are kept, how so and so and such and such are trying hard for a baby and are now undergoing special treatment, how the holiday from which the passenger is returning was spoilt by the shoddy hospitality of the hostess, whose name is loudly bandied about.
7. As the train nears Basin Bridge there are calls once again with the hope that there should not be a halt there and when there is, yet another call to curse the railways for delaying arrival.
8. Lastly –a call to all friends and relatives on arrival to indicate arrival.
MMM could not help reflecting that the cell-phone is just around 15 years old. He wonders as to how people before its arrival managed perfectly well without it.