Cellphones, I’m pleased to report, are set to cross the final frontier and enter swimming pools with the rest of us muscular, fitness-conscious types. There I was this morning, shark-hunting in my favourite Olympic-sized tank at the local sports complex, when a genuflecting assistant-like person carries just such a phone to the edge of the pool and deposits it into the waiting hands of an elderly lady contained therein.
Lady (after wiping her left ear dry with a hand-towel thoughtfully provided by the genuflector): Haan, bolo.
L: Arre, main pool mein hoon, pool mein.
L: Kya bol rahe ho? Lagta hai signal kharaab hai. Main pool mein hoon!
(Pause, during which two boisterous and ill-mannered boys splash noisily past a line of us)
L: Arre, paani ki awaaz kaise nahin aayegi? Aakhir yeh pool hai!
(Significantly longer pause, which raises my hopes that the conversation might finally be headed for more productive avenues)
L: Sweeming pool!
(Nervous-looking man paddling nearby requests lady to kindly remove the phone from pool region, “because if it falls into the water we will all catch radiation poisoning”. Or be electrocuted. Or something.)
L: Achha? Achha! Theek hai, bye-bye.
(Hands phone back to assistant, smiles winsomely: “She was just calling to say hi.”)
I envision a day when people carry cellphones in the little pockets in their Speedo costumes. Swimming goggles will come equipped with hands-free wires, face masks will become integral to swimming gear so that underwater conversations may be facilitated. Special satellites will be installed on pool floors in collusion with cellular service providers, permitting experienced swimmers to SMS their friends in the shallow end. Then the monopoly will be complete and years from now, as we sit in the movie hall and take calls from friends eager to chit-chat with us in between laps, we will marvel at the thought that cellphones were ever considered a nuisance.
[In other news, I watched two great films yesterday: Carl Dreyer’s magnificent The Passion of Joan of Arc, which has variously been described as “the most powerful silent film ever made”, “a masterful study of the human face” and “a historical document from an era in which the cinema didn’t exist”; and the Mithun Chakraborty classic Disco Dancer, which is none of the above but contains the famous “Jimmy Jimmy” song (which did so much to improve Indo-Russian relations), the always-edifying sight of Rajesh Khanna bobbing his head to the tune of a guitar, and many other delights. Will blog about the first film soon; in matters Mithun, I defer to GreatBong.]