Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hardly any answering machines!

If you have gotten used to the answering machines in other parts of the world, it will take you a while to get used to the never-ending ringing on the other end of the phones here in India. Typically, there aren't any answering machines. Surprisingly, the cell phone services do not include the answering machines by default! In fact, my hub got the answering machine service for his cell, but nobody left him a message because they were not used to it! So, he just went ahead and cancelled it. Sometimes, it gets a little frustrating, because you just have to call back the person when you could have just left a message.

Interestingly, there's this concept of 'missed call.' (Some of you reading this may be familiar with it.) Typically, if a person is at work or some place where s/he has access to make 'free' calls, people call her/his mobile and let it ring once and cut the call. That person then realises that s/he has had a missed call from a so-and-so and calls the person back from the 'free' phone and now both can talk without having to pay for it from either ends! Amazing use of technology!


Nags said...

That's a nice post. It reminds me of lot of negative things - hassles I went through whenever I called customer support department of a bank, cellphone company, cable company, Internet provider, Washing machine repair, Geyser repair etc...I am not going to write it down here because this blog looks more like 'Postives-Centric'. Let it be like that...may be it's good that way.

During 2001-02, many companies were in cost-cutting mode and I remember even in our company they had restricted free-phone (outgoing calls). Only certain level and above had the outgoing call facility because of the 'Missed Call Menace'. I think by now, things are back to Normal (I mean, people are back enjoying the 'Missed Calls').

Ravi said...

This missed call concept / working is totally unique to India & Indians. There was a report ( TOI / ET ?) recently about this phenom.

One of the idiosyncrasy that defines us as a nation? Sudhir, have you 'missed' this? ;)

silkboard said...

I find the missed call way faster than checking voice mail and then calling back the person in question :) Really. Answering machines at home upset (call connects, so money!) or confuse (are you really home!?) callers.

Usha said...

Perhaps the caller Id facility is more useful than an answering machine?
Missed calls are also useful to youngsters staying away from home to indicate to parents they want to talk to them - and then the parents can make the call and pay for it!
I agree with you on this annoying way people call and never leave messages even when the answering machione is on - in such cases I assume that it was just a casual call and dont call back.

Chitra said...

Nags, pl don't hold yourself back. It will be good to hear your view in full.

Ravi, I am sure it is. Trust us to find a loophole! :)

SB, I like answering machines. It has its pluses. Otherwise, we have to call back even people that called a wrong no.

Usha, you are right about youngsters and missed calls. Didn't think of that one.

Pradeep said...

You are right Chitra. Plus many don't know the etiquettes regarding telephones.

Prashanth said...


One of the main reason for Answering Machines not having caught the fancy is that most families in India are still sort of Joint family system and there is only 1 Landline to call on. Also, we arent maybe used to leave a message to a machine which we may or maynot want everyone to hear about.

Missed Call maybe a unique concept in India, but it isnt just to save on the Money. Afterall, call charges nowadays have dropped so much that it doesnt pinch the pocket. Insead, many persons give a miss call to ask the other guy to call back when he is free. Afterall, the calling party cant have a idea about what the other people is doing at that point of time and the call in itself shoudn't become a Nuisance. Recently, I came across a article where the CII chairman (forgot his name) said that whenever he wanted to speak to Sunil Mittal (Head of Airtel), he leaves a miss call :).

Veena Shivanna said...

BSNL does provide the answering machine facility but the instrument they give by default don't have any way of checking it out. If you can configure the other instruments(imported cordless ones?) they it would work fine.
Still here people are not used to it. I had recently set it out & certianly it was too confusing for folks, they hardly say 'hello hello' and a beep sound.
Once I had even heard a 10 minutes phone call recorded in the answering machine! (after the call goes to answering machine & if people still continues to pick up the call)...
I remember few days years back when BSNL guys gave an option to make local calls prefixing 95 for all cities within 200 mts radius, but reduced the pulse rate from 3 minutes to 1 minutes as compared to STD, people were still thinking this as cheaper or else they used to wait till 10:30pm to speak in 1/3rd rate!
Earlier telephone was a necessity, later became luxury & it now its just another toy! I still remember those days when my dad used to book trunk calls! good old days...

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