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""My mother-in-law is in Kuwait. Like everyone, she has lately developed the urge to pour her emotions into the all pervasive, slim & trim, ear to mouth resuscitation avatar called the mobile phone.

Hold it, feel it, caress it, croon into it, make loving noises to it, play with it but don’t live without it. You’ll end up like the poor little lost schoolboy feeling completely vulnerable without the soothing feeling of the ubiquitous lollypop in his mouth. I always used to wonder as to how St. Agnes college girls will manage without the proverbial ice candy in their mouths darting sharp glances at the motor bikes whizzing past them on the road. Now, with one hand on the mobile phone talking nineteen to the dozen, they don’t really care for the present day dare devil showing his road skills. Talk of how technology has replaced a tradition followed religiously by every Aloysian over scores of years to catch the eye of the fair Agnesian damsel in Bendur.

Coming back to the in-law topic, I have been told rather unceremoniously that if I don’t get one of those thingy’s, I will end up being an outlaw. Not that my exalted in-law has a million dinars worth of business to conduct on the phone or talk to all and sundry in Kuwait. She simply wants to be part of the crowd moving about aimlessly in life impervious to anything around, doing the ear to mouth job everyone does these days. Try I did to show her some of the innumerable mobile phone caused car crashes in Kuwait and one of my redundant bank account balances but to no avail. I even implored her not to be a statistic of one of the most common categories of Kuwait, but all pleadings fell to deaf ears until my wife gave me one of her if-you-don’t-shut-up-you’ll-get-no-dinner-tonight looks.

If you can’t beat them, join them. In Kuwait, I don’t think there is anyone I know, a point zero zero one percent of the total population, who does not own a mobile phone. Except my mother-in-law, but then again she’s on a visit & not truly a part of the population survey that was conducted a year back. However, the question of to give or not to give will not arise as I run the risk of turning from a valid resident of Kuwait into a visitor if I don’t give her a mobile phone soon.

Mobile phones these days come in all sizes & shapes. Picking one up is more difficult than choosing a mate in the matrimonial columns. The posting can run like, "Fair & slim, multitasking enabled, from a reputed family, worth double digits" Did I say a groom? Nah, I am talking of a mobile phone. While my phone has the old 1.3 mega pixel VGA camera, the latest boasts of 5 mega pixels, business card scanner, video phone and what-nots. Talk of advanced technology so you can even give back to the person in church praying next to you disturbed by your phone ring as, "Hold it moron, God’s calling me directly"

Habits never change in human nature. They get concealed by layers of deceit & artificiality which when peeled away shows true colors in glaring light.  Men always have a weakness to compare power & might. In the olden days it used to be weapons, harems or riches. Isn’t it evident when a group of guys sitting at a table whip out their mobiles with abandon placing them neatly in front of them that says so plainly "Look, lets compare to see whose thingy is the biggest of all". Women are more discreet however. So discreet that it takes twenty rings for my wife to realize that the buzzing is emanating from her hand bag and not from the person next to her. It does not matter for a woman if the ring tone has remained the same since the last five years.

On the subject of driving while talking or talking while driving, one sees most of the offences are committed by the guys in white and blue or to be precise, brown in this country. Misshaped car crashes, shapeless side bumpers, broadsided doors, all remain mute evidence to the cacophony of the mobile phone. Even the hands free system might cause accidents because as research has proved, talking while driving dulls the senses that cause precious delays in split second impact crashes. Forget trying to catch the attention of the girl in the next lane while you are yakking to your mate on last night’s party. You might wake up to your office colleagues offering you condolences on the hospital bed.

My next adventure to the mobile shop is to buy a phone that has a camera, is simple to use, foldable so it looks small but big enough so it can impress the neighbors. In-laws are very essential in the survival of the fittest game and hence need some effort to go the extra kilometer to ensure a rosy future. Along with the gift wrap, I intend to advise my mother-in-law with some words of wisdom of never interrupting a conversation with a real live person to answer the mobile phone, unless of course she decides to become a transplant surgeon which exempts her from this rule.

Then of course, the next day she would receive the full bill for the mobile phone I had gifted her. Hello, hello ? the line got cut!

Author: Merwyn Machado- Australia

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