Disclaimer: Any resemblance to me or any of my friends is purely incidental and intentional.
We belong to the 80s era. Belong, not as in born, but as being young and prone to affairs. Amorous affairs. Those days we did not have mobile phones, messaging devices or other gadgets to nurture our affairs. No encryption of letters. No deletion of data. Things were open to scrutiny by parents and all. We lived in Analog world as compared to Digital world of present day.
Here are few of the instances of working of Analog Affairs.
Scene 1: Public pay phones.
Boy stayed at home. Girl lived in hostel. Hostel had a payphone which was operated by inserting two coins. One phone for so many incumbent girls meant long waiting in queue during peak hours. So half an hour slot was fixed late in the night so that there is no rush and they could talk to each other at leisure. One night the girl failed to call. The boy kept awake all the night waiting for the call, which never came.
“What happened?” he went to the hostel early in the morning to enquire. “I am so worried.”
“I did not have the coins.” She replied.
“What? That’s it?” one night was lost for the want of coins.
The guy and his close friend bunked classes and went to market. They visited each and every shop and street vendor and managed to collect hundred coins in those days of change shortage. Coins were then neatly gift wrapped in packs of two and presented to the girl before night.
This was the Analog equivalent of today’s mobile recharge for girlfriend.
Scene 2: Landlines.
For convenience sake, multiple phones were connected to the same landline at home. Thus, phone would ring in drawing room and all the bedrooms simultaneously. Many a times, whenever the girl called and was talking to the boy, mom would pick up the phone in the other room and quietly listen to the whole conversation. She would bring up the point, if any, after few days and the boy was kept wondering who is passing the information to mom.
This was Analog equivalent of phone cloning.
Scene 3: Telephone bills.
After graduation, girl shifted to other town. From there she would call the boy everyday over STD. Girl’s dad picked up the next telephone bill from the letter box and almost had a heart attack. “What happened? Are you alright?” Girl’s mom panicked looking at the expressions of the father. “These bloody telephone guys have added someone else’s bill to ours. I am going to the exchange to get it rectified.” He said. Four hours later he came back with a detailed bill with one recurring number that had contributed ninety percent of the bill. First thought to come to his mind was, may be his wife is having an affair, but thankfully she had no clue about the number. Only other person in the house was the girl. Confession was obtained. That put an end to the calls.
This was Analog equivalent of tower location and call tracing.
Scene 4: Letters.
Whenever apart, writing a letter a day was the norm. It would take at least three days for a letter to reach its destination and that much time for the reply to reach back. By the time reply was received, many more letters would be dispatched. Sometimes it was difficult to relate the reply to original message coz of the time gap. Most of the times, letters were taken out of the letter box by a parent and placed on the table. Parents usually played cool but had all the means to count the incoming letters, open and review the contents.
This was the Analog equivalent of digital parental control.
Scene 5: Declined proposal.
The boy wrote a romantic letter to girl of his dreams. All friends encouraged him to hand deliver the same. He went inside the hostel and called for the girl. She came out to see who was there to meet her. “Yes?” she asked the boy realizing that it was him who had called for her.
“This is for you.” He offered her the letter.
“What is this?” she asked. May be she could guess what was coming, from the recent behavior of the boy.
“Have it.” He again proffered the letter.
“I don’t want it.” She said and went back to her room.
The letter and the sorrow, were buried in many rounds of beer.
This was Analog equivalent of ‘Blocked’.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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