I was born in an era when having a landline phone in a house was a matter of pride and honour. Generally, only senior government officials and the rich ones had phones at home. Middle-class people could only dream of it.
There were thousands of applications for the landline phones in the telecom department, but they had no meaning unless you had someone known at a senior post in the department.
I remember when we had to make an STD call, we first had to make a request at the nearest STD PCO, and then after two to three hours they sent a message to us via a person saying your call has been connected. So, you may conclude that no one could even think of making an ISD call.
Finally and luckily, in 1997, we got our first landline phone. The phone was treated like a new family member and was placed in the drawing room. It remained silent for most of the time and everyone felt excited when it rang.
Now, making a phone call became easy not only to our family but also to our neighbours. Actually, having a landline phone gave us a little bit of trouble too. There would be a sort of queue in front of our house in the evening to make a phone call.
Then, there was a major development in the telecom sector -- the cordless phones. Everyone was surprised how come the sound could travel from one place to another without wires. Everyone wanted to experience it. People who had got these new phones usually talked while walking just to show off. As soon as cordless phones got popular, they were replaced by mobile phones -- a revolution in the telecom industry.
The earlier mobile phones were quite bulky having a small black antenna at the top. In those days, not everyone could afford a mobile phone as the user had to pay high mobile tariffs. One had to pay even for the incoming calls.
Now, the times have changed. Thanks to the competition among mobile phone operators, from a gardener to a rickshaw-puller, everyone owns a mobile phone. In fact, India is the second largest telecom industry after China in terms of the number of subscribers.
The current high-end mobile phones, termed as smart phones, are used not only for making calls, they can do a lot more. In fact, making calls has become the secondary function of mobile phones. A recent survey showed that smart phone users pay least time to making calls in comparison to other functions like Internet browsing and gaming. Actually, these phones have become more powerful than our personal computers.
We indeed have come a long way in the telecom field. Maybe after a few years, one would be writing a similar article beginning, "Once in the era of mobile phones…"