Free Minutes and Public Spaces

One of the best things about cheap minutes and better connectivity is that people can talk to their near and dear ones anytime, anywhere. It is the unwarranted side effect too – especially when it comes to commonly shared cramped public spaces like a train compartment or a bus seat!

I was recently travelling in a train. We had a very early time of arrival (2am) at our destination, so we decided to retire around 9pm itself. Unfortunately for us two people (looked like local businessmen) boarded the train at about the same time and apparently had a lot of business to attend to. They sat there all night making loud calls and all kinds of noises – negotiating deals, getting someone’s kid an engineering seat in management quota, reeling out data of who clears which quota for how much money and more…

We tried requesting them to be a little quieter, to no avail. By the time we got down, he was sound asleep and snoring but I had learned a lot about negotiation and management quotas, not had a wink of sleep and was in a very sour mood. Left me wondering, shouldn’t there be an etiquette around using your “free/cheap” minutes in public spaces, if not, what is our alternative? Can there be an interesting business around charging more for minutes depending on “noise levels” around you – so that fellow travelers, movie goers etc. are spared the torture of being privy to the most personal and intricate details of someone else’s lives? What say?

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3 Responses to “Free Minutes and Public Spaces”


  1. 1 Anoop September 4, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Some people lack commonsense, an alternative would be for a fellow passenger to get down to the same level and make the guy shut his mouth, professionals may find it tough to get down to that level, so the next alternative would be to put up a board in the bus saying “quiet please” 1000 Rs fine if others are disturbed..If others still can’t stand the noisy guy, he should be evicted.

    Not to mention, I was in a train in South Korea and was loudly speaking to my mother over the phone, when the Ticket collecting lady asked me to lower my voice, and honestly I did cut the phone instantly, but I was only trying to ensure that my mom could hear me amidst all the noise, but luckily to me nobody here understands english..Not much anyway. 🙂

    • 2 Sreeja Iyer September 4, 2010 at 5:51 pm

      Actually, its not just strangers in trains, I remember travelling by the Wipro bus and day in day out, trying different ways to drone out a 100 people talking to 100 others who were not present in the bus. It is not necessarily their fault, it is just one of the side effects of the blurring of personal/public space as people work longer hours (mostly away from their hometowns) and wait even longer in traffic jams to get home

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