In the great land of India, we add ‘Ji‘ as a suffix whenever we want to address someone or something with respect. Like Modiji, Rahulji, Soniaji, computerji and so on.
Then in India there are other usages of G, more unparliamentary than the names above. Let’s leave that for a different, more A-rated story.
As a former military pilot, ‘g’ also signified to me the quantum of acceleration one needed to generate for aerial combat or aerobatic manoeuvres. If you were unable to generate the required ‘g’ for, say, a ‘loop’ or ‘barrel roll’, your Top Gun aerobatic manoeuvre could end up looking like a single-fried egg, sunny side up in the sky. And your adversary will then proceed to have you for breakfast.
In mobile telephony, like in aerial combat, you need the right G if it has to be of any use. If G isn’t up to the mark, your smart device can go round and round like an aircraft that has entered an inverted spin. The results can be equally disastrous, see. Imagine dropping a call when your wife is dictating you a grocery list. Or when you are reaching a climax in a WhatsApp chat with your online friend and the network suddenly decided to walk out on you like your old flame from college.
Sadly, here in India the customer experience in G has been a bundle of slowly escalating lies called EDGE, HSDPA, HSDPA+, and now 4G. Fancy terms that barely paper over the insidious dichotomy between promise and product. Good-looking, smooth-talking models promise you ‘high G’ experiences that take you to the edge of ecstasy before pouring cold water on your loins. A bevy of service providers sprinkle random jargon all over and then leave you like a flat-spinning aircraft.
Today, life in India has become a constant struggle to find the right network – not of people but of mobile signals. Even Mobile Number Portability, meant to facilitate network-disloyalty and reduce switching costs for the user, changed little. After all the effort, it’s like leaving a sinking ship into a leaking lifeboat.
It is 2018 & I don’t remember the last time I made a mobile call without a call drop. Is it just me? WhatsApp-calling sometimes comes to rescue like a lissome lifeguard from Baywatch when my Indian ship of dreams is breaching its hull on the rocks of ‘lightning-fast 4G experience’.
Lightning-fast my ass! Sometimes I wish lightning would strike those cell towers. But there aren’t enough of them, I am told. So they escape while you don’t. The 4G experience today has come to mean a wicked choice between Sasha’s Airtel challenge that leads you up the garden path, Vodafone‘s pug-marked ‘wherever you go, our network will fall off you’ experience or an Idea whose time just doesn’t seem to come.
Along came the Ambanis with their mega ‘Jio‘ promise. A mass exodus from other networks to Jio started like the great migration of wildebeest in the Savannah. Me with my Airtel 4G connection felt lost like little Simba in the stampede scene from Lion King. Until my friends told me that Jio is just old whine in a new sim card.
My phone’s memory is filled to capacity with multiple numbers of the same people as my near and dear ones doggedly continue their quest for better network. There are at least five ‘Dadus’ on my phone. My father-in-law went from being Dadu to Dadu BSNL to Dadu New, Dadu Jio and now he’s Dadu Jio Final. Nothing final about that either. I still can’t talk to him properly. And no, not because of in-law issues. It’s the network, stupid!
So if you find people drifting about randomly shouting ‘hullo hullo” into their phones, you know you are in India. Where once there were cozy corners for lovers, there are dark corners in the corridor where you hang around with the slim chance of completing a conversation before the network deserts you. The piece-de-resistance in this ‘game of phones’ is that, like unrequited love, one always gets all the wrong signals. The five bars on which our life has come to hang goes from ‘strength five’ to zero faster that you can say “Jio mere lol” 😛
Quick, let me send you this blog before Airtells it like it isn’t and Vodaphoney makes me look like a novice without a better Idea.
Hullo! Somebody please bring back landlines and trunk calls. Even if you sometimes get wrong connections like ‘Cutts the Butcher’ in Captain Haddock’s Marlinspike at least there’ll be a human voice at the other end. That’s way better than staring at a rotating ‘chakra‘ buffering unto perpetuity.
All you network providers, please donate some money from your 4G scams and etch that epitaph on my tombstone – “All he wanted to do was talk”
©KP Sanjeev Kumar, 2018. All rights reserved. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views are personal.