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Turn it off, will you?

entertainment Updated: Sep 26, 2010 01:48 IST
Sonal Kalra
Sonal Kalra
Hindustan Times
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I’m going to kill some people and I’m using this column to invite volunteers who will partner with me. I’ve decided. Let us get our hands on a gun and shoot’em. No, not those who’ve made a royal mess of the Commonwealth Games. As pained and embarrassed as I am, like all Indians, about the whole shame-games-sham, I refuse to let it rob me of my peace of mind. Because, frankly, the world will not come to an end if the games happen or not; are successful or not; if the Australians think high of our ‘village’ or not, and if they will enjoy sharing their bed with Indian dogs as much as they do with their own canines or not. I’ve stopped to bother.

I’m directing my ire at another breed of people — the manners-criminals. Those who do not have the basic decency to conduct themselves in public, and should therefore be put away or put to rest. Permanently.

Last week, I went to attend a funeral. The mood was sombre as the dead man’s son got ready to light the pyre. The women were wailing. And suddenly, in between the wails, rang the words ‘munni badnaam hui, darling tere liye’. As the song grew louder every three seconds, the women stopped crying and looked up. The dead man’s son shot angry glares at the surrounding relatives to see who had pitched Munni against his deceased dad. And then they all collectively turned towards the priest, who by now was furiously patting on his dhoti’s pocket to shut his ringing cell phone.

I’m not exaggerating. In that one moment, the dead man’s soul would have thanked God for getting him rid of this world where people are clueless — both about manners and the fact that every damn phone comes with an option to be able to put it on ‘silent’ mode when the situation demands.

What the hell is wrong with some people, I want to know. You are blissfully engrossed in a movie when someone’s phone starts to ring in the cinema hall… and rather than disconnect the call, the person shamelessly decides to take it and proudly announce to the caller that he is watching a movie and can’t talk. Well done. Aren’t we all proud of such confident fellow beings, who’ll go ahead and do what they want, without as much as a thought or consideration for the others around them?

The I’m-in-love-with-my-ringtone breed also doesn’t spare hospitals, meetings, conferences, and of course, music concerts, which is a real shame, because to have a phone ring in the middle of a performance is rude beyond words— both to the artist and the audience. But some people just don’t get it.

Maybe after having spent a lot of money to buy the latest handsets, they don’t want to let go of an opportunity to flaunt the phone… or their precious downloaded ring tone, just because it’s interrupting someone’s peace or pleasure.

Well, I’d say that rather than getting stressed and irritated when someone’s phone rings at an inopportune moment, the calmness trick is in not tolerating the nonsense anymore and taking such people head-on. Believe me, there’s nothing that works better on manner-less people than catching them off guard with a straight approach.

Start a ‘turn it off’ movement. If you find someone whose cell phone is disturbing your valid right to peacefully attend a concert, movie, meeting or memorial, do not stop at simply throwing angry glances at them and feeling miserable from inside. Just go upto that person, look at him/her in the eye and without mincing words, say ‘turn it off’— loud and clear.

I’ve tried it. It works much better than trying to explain it to someone that their action is disturbing you. If they had the sense and intelligence to understand your reasoning, they would have managed to locate the ‘silent’ button on their phones by now. Right?

Sonal Kalra has officially started the ‘Turn it off’ movement. All those who want to join, can call her anytime. Her phone stays on, 24X7. Mail your calmness tricks to her at sonal.kalra@hindustantimes.com