“I will give you a missed call”
Here is another interesting tidbit from our India trip. First, everybody and his mother has a cellphone in India. I kid you not when I say that the porter (usually called “coolie” in Northern India) I used at Durgapur station flashed a cell phone. My guess of an average porter’s daily income is about $2 !!
However, what got my attention was some of the unique lingo in the cellphone culture in India. The most prevalent one is probably “Ekta missed call diye debo” (translated from my mother tongue – it means “I will give you a missed call”). You can understand my state of confusion in trying to find out how the heck is anybody going to give me a “missed” call? Don’t I decide whether the call was missed or not? 🙂 What if I pick up the phone when the call comes in? 🙂 How does he give me a missed call now?
Well, after some enquiring I found out that essentially this is a protocol to confirm a previously agreed upon event without paying the cellphone company. So, if I tell you that after I reach Calcutta safely, I will give you a missed call – it means upon reaching Calcutta safely, I will call you and wait for the phone to ring once and then cut it off. You don’t pick it up till it keeps ringing which presumably means I need to talk to you!!!
All this is designed to not pay the cellphone company (in India the caller pays but the receiver does not) for the call. And of course avoid the unpleasantness of actually talking to me 🙂 (who has all that time in India? 🙂 )
Maybe that is how the porters are affording their cellphones !!!!