Wednesday, 29 April 2015


Grazia India, April 2015


In today’s modern times the cell phone has emerged not just as the seminal communication device, but also as a remarkably effective barometer of character. Everything one needs to know about the moral fibre of a person, one can learn by their public cell phone etiquette.

At this point in human evolution, one would think we all have enough awareness and common courtesy to understand the basic tenets of considerate cellphone usage. Unfortunately, there are far too many lost souls who have fallen prey to the sin of Pitiful Phone Protocol. There are those that don’t disable the clicks on their keyboard, purposely choose to have that annoying whistling alert tone, and even those that eschew headphones and, instead, play music on their phone’s speaker.

Yet, by far the worst perpetrators of this sin are the following...

Native habitat: Airport lounges, security lines, shuttle buses, elevators and premium aircraft cabins.
How to identify them: The businessmen and executives who feel they’re so important, the world should know it. They’re the ones repeatedly being asked by harrowed stewardesses to disable their devices. Even though they will eventually and reluctantly turn off their phones, so indispensable are they, that barely has the landing gear made contact with the runway on arrival than they resume bellowing stock transactions, legal negotiations and marketing plans into their Bluetooth headsets with the same fervour one would plan a military coup.
Suggested penalty: Covered in banana oil and locked in the gorilla enclosure of a zoo with a particularly amorous primate.

Native Habitat: On the treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes of health clubs.
How to identify them: Usually the entitled wives of the Travel Talkers who, the minute they step on a cardio device have detailed gossip sessions with their friends, berate their domestic staff and complain about their husbands to their mothers loudly on their cell phones. They will glare at you defensively if you shush them and rebuke any attendant who dares to direct their attention to the large sign in front of them that says NO MOBILE PHONES ALLOWED. Perhaps they believe tongue wagging and jaw flapping counts as cardio? A rare treat is when they become so involved in their conversation that they miss a step, stumble and get bucked off the treadmill like a rider off a temperamental horse.
Suggested penalty: Locked into a laughing stock in a public square and pelted with the very rotten vegetables they were, earlier, chastising their cooks for bringing home from the market.

Indigenous habitat: Dark, quiet cinema halls.
How to identify them: The most heinous of cell phone offenders, and the reason I refuse to go to a public movie theatre. They are the ones who think nothing of taking and making calls, reading and sending texts and checking Facebook every few minutes throughout a film.
Suggested penance: Unfortunately, if one has reached this stage, there really is no hope for rehabilitation and, like with a rabid dog or a crippled racehorse, the kindest thing to do is to just put them down.


  1. Haha! I love how you included a "suggested penance" part so that we can do something about this. ;) yet again another entertaining read.


  2. I wish you had added some more categories too. Loved your writing, wish it was a little longer.

  3. I quit the gym for the very same reason. Now, I enjoy quiet outdoor walks. That suggested penalty works well when your list of perpetrators is short. Unfortunately, there is this entire cattle class that seems to behave in a similar manner.
    Another social mishap I take most offence to ( totally unrelated): people who borrow books, don't return them, and then try and make you the guilty party for asking! Those guys should be bludgeoned!
    (or) This is my dream: Form a new country and recruit only those who follow the rules of etiquette and have a fine sense of decorum.

  4. Haha @ the military coup, banana oil and rotten vegetables references. Mr.Khanna, always delighted to see your posts. I hope there is a book coming out some day. We can have a combo of a 'boutique actor/writer'.



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