The cell phone has been part of a revolution that the world is witnessing in the last decade and Goa hasn't been indifferent to this changing culture of an excessive speech medium. From the topmost honchos in the business world to politicians and clergymen upto the poorest labourer in the slums, all have fallen for the bait set by the delight of having your own cellphone.
While the utility of the cellphone is debated by many, given our happy existence in Goa before its introduction, there is a big school of thought which seems to think that the cell phone is a necessity and not a luxury anymore. It has been painfully experienced by those without a cellphone number, having been met with a curious look of " which planet do you belong?". The result has been that the cellphone has become an object of prestige and pride as much as it is of communication with the former surpassing the latter in terms of need.
In Goa there are many who have more than one cellphone. The desire of being connected with various networks is too tempting to avoid given the continuous churning of plans. Besides the Goan arms of the cell phone companies are continuosly on the prowl. Seeking new subscribers. Cold calls and tempting offers ( which all mean the same thing) are the order of the day in Goa.
In Goa, from the businessfolk to the fisherfolk, the cellphone has caught on like a deep necessity as if it was always there. However some places are finding it too difficult to handle the nuisance anymore and have woken up to the extreme need to do away with the disturbance. With the early part of the euphoria with the cell phone over and done with, there are new signboards put up in every office or establishment which have discovered the irritation quotient of the cellphone.The " please put your mobile phone off" signboard is more visible in offices in Goa nowadays than the "where is the toilet" sign.
So now cellphones need to be put off before entering many establishments which is a big relief to many in Goa .Imagine a dentist in Goa busy on your tooth and your most important call comes in and the poor guy has to wait with all his tools, and cement waiting for you to finish.
Or take the case of the doctor busy on a life saving operation and his mobile rings with his wife reminding him to hurry up to catch the next movie show. What if the mobile rings in a Goa church while you are attending mass and you scamper to find it in your bag and silence its deafening sound after many irritated eyebrows find you?
And imagine the appointment you get after hours of waiting for a bureaucrat in Goa and when you enter his cabin, your phone rings with an important caller at the other end and you are suddenly caught between the devil and the deep sea.
Mobiles have also been the curse of many accompanying friends in Goa who have had to bear the brunt of watching their friend busy on the cell phone with a caller for hours while they have to yawn and grind their teeth untill the "infinity" call does finally finish.
The cellphone has indeed changed our life in Goa. And I wonder how Goans will ever be able to live without a cell phone.