Sent by Tanya:
The other day I was talking to my foreign friend about mobile phones in India. She was surprised that everyone here has a phone. It’s true that you can dial whoever you want and get in touch with anyone any time of the day, for a really low cost, but I went on to explain her a different problem with mobiles — and the mindset of people who own a mobile phone.
It seems that many people love to give you a ring — call it a quick “missed call” or “blank call.” Talking to her reminded me of an incident that happened when I was in college, and I’d like to share my story here.
Blank Phone Call From a Stranger
I received many prank calls from a husky male voice when I was in hostel. Calls coming through day and night was making things tough for me. It had continued for quite some time now and was turning to be quite a nuisance. I was trying to get an opinion on how to handle the issue from my teachers.
Later one day, I was busy looking at some books in my hostel, my phone rang for a couple of seconds! This call was from a different number. Frankly, I was quite engrossed and just another ring was enough to jolt me out of the deep hold. I couldn’t pick up the first call. However, this time I was attentive and waiting for the next call.
The second call was made, and I was greeted by a pesky voice at the other end!
The person asked if I was interested in personal loans. I was quite relieved and annoyed at the same time.
Relieved because this wasn’t the blank caller who used to call me every day. Annoyed because the call had hampered my concentration and I didn’t even need personal loans — it turned my mood sour. I thought even a simple reply to that call would be a waste of time, and just placed my handset back on the desk.
I heard angry muttering at the other end but the call went dead without me having to waste any more time over it. These unsolicited calls were beginning to take a toll on my frame of mind. So, this time I decided to take serious action.
I Blacklisted Calls Made from Unknown Number
The first thing that I did was handle the ‘unwanted’ telemarketers. A little bit of Internet research and I got to know about the heaven sent DND service announced by TRAI.
This service bars all unsolicited telemarketing calls and messages from coming to you. The DND service, which came into being from January 2011, even imposes penalty on telemarketers if they fail to abide by its rules.
In order to register, I just had to call or send an SMS to 1909. I knew I have to get in touch with the same number in case I wanted to lift the bar on telemarketers. I was informed that the request will come into effect within seven days. In addition, I can call the same number if I want to start receiving calls from telemarketers again.
The relevant SMS messages that I need to concentrate upon are ‘START DND’ and ‘STOP DND.’
I also tracked down the prank calls from the unknown male voice. For this I called up my carrier, Vodaphone’s call center. The staff informed me about their call block service, which was being available for a small monthly fee. This service, which they named as ‘call filter’, was available only for a monthly rental of Rs. 99.
Fortunately, any phone number can be blocked by calling their toll free number “*514#” or even 55144, which charges 50paise for a minute. And guess what? I have my peace of mind today and don’t get disturbed by unwanted blank calls anymore.