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Dial A for accidents

Did you just send a message to your boss that was meant for your girlfriend? Ruchira Hoon on mobile faux pas.
Hindustan Times | By Ruchira Hoon, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 08, 2008 11:29 AM IST

Public relations executive Nidhi Kapoor couldn't understand how her mother had found out that her boyfriend and she shared an intimate relationship. She'd hidden all possible evidence that pointed at their illicit liaison until she saw her phone bill. In the throes of passion, she had dialled her mother's number by chance, who in turn had heard every single moan and sigh.

"I must have forgotten to lock the keypad on my mobile phone. And I suppose when we were fooling around, I accidentally hit speed dial," says Nidhi, "She must have heard everything, since the cal11asted for over 15 minutes."

If that sounds bad, imagine what brand manager Deep Bansal went through when he sent a rather raunchy innuendo-filled message to his boss instead of his current flame. The next morning there was a stern note on his inbox from his boss, asking him to meet her.

Turned out they were both called Shivani. "To think of all what I had written in the SMS and the language I had used, it still makes me feel awkward and to top it all, I didn't even know I had sent it to her," says this 28-year-old. "I really had to work very hard to get back into her good books."

Calls gone awry

Fortuitous diallings, disaster SMSes, and erroneous calls - these were accidents just waiting to happen. With mobile phones getting savvier and much more complicated to use, tales of phone catastrophes are never ending. Pick up your phone and a number punched in here or there accidentally could result in the most unexpected turn of events.

And so embarrassing that you'd definitely want to dig a hole and bury yourself in it. So, what do you do when your phone decides to read all your messages loud and clear, since you forgot to turn off the Voice SMS Reader? For starters, you can pretend that you didn't hear it at all.

"I'd just bought a new phone and in the middle of a very serious meeting, it read out an entire message that my colleague had sent criticising my boss," says account manager Shaumik Chakraborty. The message went something like this: 'If I see that bald head walking around like a pompous ass, I am going to tell him what I really think of him in the choicest of swear words that I know.'

While this sounds really demure, in reality it was punctuated with a number of Hindi profanities as well. "Luckily the voice had a thick Yankee accent so no one could figure out what had been said. Everyone was startled, and I just pretended to look as shocked as the others," While ignoring such goofy accidents could work your way just about once in a while, people with touch screen phones have a harder time.

Art director Praveen Jacob's experience with his HTC Touch phone has made him swear off touchscreen phones forever "Not just once, a number of people have called me back and told me that they've received calls from me at all odd hours," he says. "I must have picked up my phone to send an SMS or perhaps even change the setting, but thanks to the touchscreen, I kept calling people by mistake."

Damage control

Caught in a situation like this, drunk dialling an ex may not seem like such a bad idea. So what's the best thing to do when such an uncomfortable situation looms large?

First things first, it's important to read the manual of your cell phone in order to eliminate chances of error "You should know how to activate or deactivate all your phone's features," says tech expert Neelanjay Mishra. "If you don't like your messages to pop up on your preview box or your phone (like the Motorola phones) so that random people don't read them, it's essential to learn to turn these things off."

Next, he says, that many people often forget that all phones come with the option of locking the keypad after sending an SMS or making a phone call, so it's essential to make sure that the keypad is locked. And if all else fails, sending a quiet note of apology explaining the situation always, always works well. "In this day and age of technology, everyone understands these errors. And so it's best to send a rueful message and get over the embarrassment."

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