Phoning Home

I have a confession to make: I’m 26, and I’m old. I found out when I had a “remember when?” conversation the other day. The subject was telephones. When I was a kid, I was over at my rambunctious friend Jordan’s house playing Robo Cop.  Neither of us had a volume knob and were told to go play outside when our Robo Cop adventure got out of hand and Jordan’s dad had to make an “international business call.” This apparently was expensive enough to threaten my friend with no allowance if his dad had to repeat himself because of us making noise. I suggested we play secret agent, and Jordan kept his allowance.

Skip the awkward teenage years where cell phones were just starting to hit the market, and just after graduation when the first iPhone came out and come to today. I made an international phone call, via free wifi, to a landline. This is awesome. I didn’t have to pay a cent, the call was crystal clear, and it just worked. Amazing right?

The magic is a combination of Google Voice and an app called “Talkatone.” Google, being a good all powerful digital overlord, will give you a free phone number that links to your gmail account. Talkatone allows this to work on your iPhone.  It’s magic, like the Hogwarts kind.

Well, the telecom companies have a new trick up their sleeves. The voodoo-juju that allows for international calls to the US via the internet doesn’t work as a local telephone, so we use the local phone at our dorm. This may not sound like a big deal, I thought nothing of it until my third call to a friend of a friend here in Bangalore. Each time I called, there was some guy singing about something while the call was dialed. No big, I know many cell plans allow a custom song to replace your dial/ringing tone. Well, on the third call, I finally understood what was being said.

“When you have something to saaaaayyyy, say it the BSNL waaaayyyy…”

What the heck is BSNL? A code? Did I hear that right?

I hang up the phone and look at the receiver:

BSNL is the phone company!

Instead of a Ring-Ring, I had to listen to their advertisement. And now, I can’t get their jingle out of my head.

Why isn’t there an ad-block for real life?

+1 infuriating melody for Mike.


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