MY MO­BILE NUM­BER? NO WAY!

All those who delete hun­dreds of pro­mo­tional SMSs ev­ery week, for­get calm­ness. Here’s mis­sion: Do Not Dis­turb!

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Time Out - SONAL KALRA Sonal Kalra has de­cided to buy ev­ery­thing that’s of­fered to her via pro­mo­tional mes­sages. Feel free to bor­row an en­tire range of home fur­ni­ture, plus sized lin­gerie or any of the 2BHK apart­ments she owns on all high­ways in In­dia. Good deeds a

Have you ever felt the stress of not be­ing able to say no when you so want to? Ohho, don’t let your nasty mind wan­der. I’m re­fer­ring to that awk­ward feeling where a sim­ple, blunt ‘No’ would have saved you need­less stress, but there’s stress in even blurt­ing that sim­ple, blunt two let­ter word.

I feel this each time when, while shop­ping, the per­son at the pay­ment counter says ‘Would you like to share your mo­bile num­ber?’ No, wait, let me cor­rect my­self. All they sim­ply say is ‘Mo­bile num­ber?’, while look­ing at the com­puter screen with the in­ten­sity of a nu­clear sci­en­tist. Well, I don’t want to give mine. But, the last time I said this at a rather crowded high street fash­ion store, the guy at the counter said ‘Ma’am, it’s just for our records.’ “No, let it be,” I per­sisted. ‘Ma’am, it’s needed for mak­ing the bill.’ I know for a fact that as per law, his store could ab­so­lutely not man­date it that I pro­vide my phone num­ber for billing pur­poses. But by this time, the peo­ple in the queue be­hind me were get­ting im­pa­tient and I ended up blurt­ing out a mo­bile num­ber. A mo­bile num­ber, mind you. Main bhi dilli ki Punjabi hoon, ju­gaad pe toh life chal rahi hai. So I’ve made this rule to give my mo­bile num­ber with the last digit in­creased by one. That way I don’t even for­get what num­ber I gave if some­one were to ask me to re­peat it. Al­right, don’t give me that look. I know it’s un­fair to the poor per­son jiska num­ber is dif­fer­ent to mine by just the last digit. But mere saath kaunsi fair cheez ho rahi hai. Ok, won’t do it from now on. Will fig­ure out some other ju­gaad. But hey, the prob­lem is real, ain’t it?

Do you eas­ily agree to shar­ing your cell num­ber while shop­ping? If you do…why, why why? Look, I’m not re­fer­ring to sit­u­a­tions where you give out your num­ber to iden­tify yourself as a mem­ber of their lucky-youare-alive-and-can-af­ford-to-shop­with-us club or some­thing. I mean at those stores where you are buy­ing just a roll of toi­let paper and pay­ing cash for it. Wa­han bhi mo­bile num­ber maangte hain aaj kal. And it’s not long be­fore your phone is flooded with ad­ver­tise­ment SMSs where you are of­fered ev­ery­thing from a 3BHK flat on the high­way to pills that’ll en­large flat b***s in flat seven days. Nahi chahiye yaar. I signed up three years back for some­thing called a ‘Do not Dis­turb’ registry started by the Gov­ern­ment. Aaj tak nei­ther have they un­der­stood the mean­ing of the phrase, nor has the po­lite girl who tries to sell me an in­sur­ance pol­icy ev­ery Wed­nes­day re­li­giously for the past two years. When I dis­cussed this with a friend who spe­cialises in con­sumer rights law, he told me that when I give my mo­bile num­ber will­ingly to a store or at a web­site, their pro­mo­tional mes­sages au­to­mat­i­cally by­pass my right to not be dis­turbed. So­cho, so­cho how much my shop­ping is dis­turb­ing the guy whose mo­bile num­ber I give ev­ery­where. And …ahem…the mes­sages I get also tell me that who­ever is giv­ing my mo­bile num­ber at the stores isn’t ex­actly sav­ing up for old age ei­ther. So what do we do? In the in­ter­est of the na­tion which has not wanted to know any­thing since Arnab quit, I have com­piled the fol­low­ing tips.

Dial 1909 from your mo­bile num­ber and do what the lovely voice at the other end tells you to. When it comes to choos­ing be­tween ‘par­tial block’ and ‘full block’, choose the lat­ter. Don’t worry, it’ll not block mom-in­law’s calls (you wish!). This is just to en­sure that you are for­mally regis­tered with TRAI’s DND. Jis Jis ney DND ko Do not Dis­turb ki ja­gah Delhi Noida Di­rect samjha, raise your left hand and make it land with some force on your left cheek. For those who are cu­ri­ous, a par­tial block al­lows you to choose if you want calls from tele­mar­keters from the in­sur­ance/credit cards/real es­tate com­pa­nies. Those who want these calls, raise your right hand and re­peat the in­struc­tions, with the left cheek changed to right.

Now that you are regis­tered un­der DND, if you still get pesky calls/mes­sages from those you don’t wish to hear from, you can lodge a com­plaint by send an SMS in this for­mat: COMP TEL NO XXXXXXXXXX; dd/mm/ yy;hh:mm; short de­scrip­tion to 1909. Here, XXXXXXXXXX is the num­ber from which you have re­ceived the un­so­licited pro­mo­tional mes­sage or the sender code (in case of bulk SMS with­out a num­ber). The next two are date and time at which you re­ceived the un­so­licited mes­sage or call. At the end, add a short de­scrip­tion of the call you re­ceived. e.g. COMP TEL NO 9800000XXXX; 12/02/17; 16:45; DieLate In­sur­ance Ltd about in­sur­ing my left jaw.

The tele­com op­er­a­tor is li­able to take ac­tion and re­spond to your com­plaint. If they don’t, you can call them and lis­ten to half an hour of Mozart’s 25th sym­phony which is their new gift as you hold the call. C’mon, learn to be thank­ful…it’s toll free.

Haan, for the shop­ping re­lated thing that I started out with. Do know that it’s ab­so­lutely your right to refuse to share your mo­bile num­ber at any store if you don’t wish to. Any means any. If a fancy girl at a fancy store asks for your num­ber in a fancy ac­cent…even then. It’s their job to ask, it’s your right to refuse.

As per the law, even e-shop­ping web­sites can’t force you to share per­sonal data other than what’s nec­es­sary for pro­cess­ing the or­der, but a lot of web­sites don’t let you pro­ceed if you leave the mo­bile num­ber field blank. You can choose to re­port such web­sites. Or else fill up just about any num­ber in it, but then jiska num­ber un­in­ten­tion­ally de doge, uski kaafi bad­dua lagne ka chance hai. That’ll be un­cool.

If you are the nicest per­son in the uni­verse, have Raja Har­ishchan­dra in di­rect line of an­ces­try, and there­fore can’t re­sist shar­ing your mo­bile num­ber each time some­one asks you, take heart. There are free apps that claim to block pro­mo­tional mes­sages. Now I’m not sure if the same apps won’t end up sell­ing your de­tails to tele­mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies. In­dia hai. Kuchh bhi chalta hai.

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