Do you remember the first time your dad has got a telephone to you home? It was not so easy as these days. You need to book your connections and wait for 60-90 days for the telephone to be connected. The lineman first comes home, examines the distance of the house from the nearest telephone pole. He then connects the telephone cable the next day. The cable will be hanging high up in the air.
At home we do the preparation of the telephone to arrive. Your dad must have purchased a corner stand or your mom must have woven a woolen cloth to cover the phone. The phone in 1980 were the dial type phones. If you need to call the number you need to keep turning the dial as many digits are there in the telephone number. It takes quite a long time to dial the complete number.
Do you remember your first telephone number? It use to be 3 or 4 digits. I guess most of them will remember your first telephone number. (Do you know your cellphone number today? Most of them do not know their own number :). ) It is after this that they started adding 2 to all the telephone numbers. My first telephone number was 4809. They continuously kept adding a 2 to the number it finally became 2224809. Today the numbers are 8-10 digits.
Not only the digits increased there was also technological enhancements.
1980s and before : All telephones had cables and there were dials to call the other number
1990s : The telephone was still cabled but the dials were replaced by number pads. People use to buy locks to lock the number pad for outgoing calls. With the lock you can only receive calls but cannot make any call.
2000s : The Mobile phone were introduced. These were not cabled but it had an antenna and the handset was quite bulky. It would weight as much as a brick.
2010s : This decade is for smart phone. The antenna has been removed, it is lighter, smaller and smarter. It is so much smart that they can even talk to you, make calls on your behalf, schedule your appointments, remind you, wake you up, connect you to you friends.
When you were kids, tell me know many of you have thought about looking at the person on the other side of the line while talking. If we ever think it would be possible? With cameras becoming smaller, internet becoming faster video calls are possible today. In the future, voice calls will be history.
Today every one can call anyone across India in just Rs 0.50 but in those days it was not easy. They were called Trunk call booking. You have to call the operator and give him/her the telephone number. The operator will connect you to the other person after 30-45 mins. There use to be multiple cross talks, the operator suddenly will get in the line and inform that we have consumed time and we need to disconnect.
It was very costly too. I still remember my uncle when he wants to make a Truck call booking, he will write it down in a paper in max 10 words like a telegram. Once he gets connected, he will read the words and disconnect the call. . Then came the STD, where we could call any place in India with just a code. Even then STD was a luxury. Today it is a necessity.
In the coming decade i am sure the telephones will be smarter. They can
- Bank for you, tell you your financial position
- Inform your spouse if you are late from office and inform who are all near you with the other phone near them
- Just by showing the telephone in-front of the retail POS machines you can make a purchase
- Just by showing the telephone in-front of the ATM, the ATM can recognise you and dispense the money with the ATM Pin
- Telephones will communicate with each other.
There will be one day when you loose your mobile phone, your identity is lost and others may behave as if you do not exist in this world.
This is a telephonic history dedicated to Alexander Graham Bell