via Daily Prompt: Urgent

How the communication revolution has made the word ‘urgent’redundant!

It was 1979.I was working as a telephone operator then in a telephone exchange.I was manning the record section.It was 07.00 p.m.Reduced tariff period began at 07.00 p.m and ended at 07.00 a.m the next day morning.It was the festival season too.There was heavy traffic.I responded quickly to each call.

‘Trunk Booking please.’

‘This is Villupuram 2574.Please book a trunk call to Madras 247454.Please make it Urgent.’

I booked the trunk call in a separate trunk call ticket, in which I also ticked the Urgent priority.The Urgent trunk call would have priority over the Ordinary call.The charges for the urgent Trunk call would also be double the rate of the ordinary trunk call.If a subscriber booked a lightning call, it would be charged eight times more than an ordinary trunk call and it should be disposed of within 15 minutes.If I connected a trunk call when the call was nearing 3 minutes, I would caution the subscriber, ‘It is nearly  3 minutes sir, do you want the extension?’ The subscriber would respond, ‘ extend please.’When the call was over, I charged it for either three or six minutes duration.When there was a heavy traffic especially in the festival season, even an urgent trunk call would get delayed for 30 minutes to 60 minutes.

Two decades later, with the onset of revolution in electronics and communication engineering, mobile phones flooded the market.All the manual Trunk Telephone exchanges were closed.In the beginning of 21 st century, the then younger generation did not know about the trunk calls and they were in total oblivion of the priorities such as urgent or lightening.In fact, they have switched over to ultra modern mobile phones such as smartphones, periodically improved versions of iPhones with multitasking facilities and features

Similarly, the telegrams whose mere arrival was dreaded as a death message was abolished recently, since the people  are no longer in need of those accursed strings.

Thus with the onset of communication revolution of the 21 st century, the manual operating system of the old and outdated telephone exchanges was totally dismantled. Hence, the people of those days no longer remember urgent priority and the word urgent itself belonged to the bygone era.People have entered into the ultra modern age regardless of their age.What they use are ultra-modern mobile phones and they are more used to missed calls, chats, and selfies.


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