I hate ring tones. Seriously my serious passion is to pick a person who is terribly excited about his/her ringtone and rip them apart saying that they aren't actually cool because of the ringtone but in fact they are very nauseating. Ringtone has become a nuisance to such a point that in my previous work place, I shifted from giving angry glares -> to saying "tch" loudly -> to saying "c'mon man! what the hell". While Indians aren't certainly the only offenders in the mobile phone etiquette, given the nature of the money that is in our hands now and our population, we could certainly be the biggest.
Imagine this! This is very common in India. In a meeting when somebody is giving a presentation or convening a meeting, it is very common for one or many of the attendees to (a) not put the mobile phone in silent mode, (b) pick the mobile phone when it rings, (c) allow it to ring loudly, (d) pick the phone up, bend slightly down, cover the phone with his hands and groan into the phone "haan bol...mgoandsns cacdjsk..edjda". The part where he closes the phone with his hand, bends down and begins to make funny growling noises is an indication that he is showing courtesy to the fellow meeting attendees. I'd rather that he just talk loudly into the phone. According to me he has no manners anyway. The growling with closed hand just makes it worse. Initially I thought, how the hell the presenters tolerated such in-courteous behavior. Then in one meeting the presenter's phone rang, he stopped the presentation and said "haan bol! koi problem nahi... I will be home by 7:00". This is so regular. I am not even exaggerating a little bit.
I have blogged about this before but nevertheless, I'll say it again. Loud ringtones of the latest songs is not cool. Its obnoxious and often irritating. I once asked a very offensive collegue, how different the loud ringtone was from bringing a stereo system to work. Seriously think about it. Cell phone play movie songs, they play them loud. Stereo system plays movie songs and play them loud. If the "time period" of noise is the difference, I can play my stereo system in short bursts once every 5 minutes. Furthermore, most of the idiots would leave the phones in their cubicle and it would cry and scream its heart out until the person at the other end dies.
I'll tell you why this is especially obnoxious. Let us assume you have invited me for dinner to a restaurant to talk about something very important. And exactly at that same time (as our dinner appointment time), I commit to another friend that I will call him and talk about Ganguly's captaincy issue. So what do I do? I bring that friend along to the restaurant, say "hi" to you and talk to the friend continuously. The friend doesn't eat, he just sits there and talks with me about Ganguly. You obviously can't talk to me because the other guy is there constantly yapping away. Now remove the cricket-friend and replace him with a mobile phone. I am still talking to another person and not caring about you. How does it make a difference if I am talking to an actual person sitting there or into an instrument. It is all the same. I am ignoring you in both cases.
Reminds me of a time when I was interviewing folks. One girl was partiularly nervous during her interview. But she was reasonably/hire'ably smart. Suddenly her mobile rang in the middle of the interview. In her nervousness, she did not know how to react, she literally tore open her handbag and some how managed to shut the thing up. Normally, I would have rejected her and asked her to leave right that moment. But I felt sorry for her and let it go. In about 2 minutes the darn thing screamed again. I told her "you might as well pick it up". She picked it up and it was her husband asking her if her interview went well. What kind of a stupid husband would call his wife at a time when he knows her interview is going on to check if everything was well. Anywho the mobile phone warnings has scared me suffeciently and i either (a) keep my phone switched off most of the time or (b) have put it in permenant silent mode, preferring to check missed calls and call back people later. You would think after all the warning, students would haave learned to behave. In a corporate presentation last week, I saw a person talking with a corporate recruiter, his cell phone rings, he cooly picks it up, stops it and continues talking. My eyes were popping out and so was the recruiter's.