“PROLIXITY is not alien to us in India,” admits Amartya Sen in his essay “The Argumentative Indian”. “We do like to speak.” He supports his contention with quotations from India’s classical texts, but it is also borne out by India’s phone habits.
The average owner of a mobile handset spends 471 minutes (almost eight hours) on the phone each month, and sends 39 text messages. Those numbers do not capture other, more ingenious, uses for the device. For example, autorickshaw drivers will tell passengers to “hit me with a missed” (ie, call my mobile and hang up before I answer) when they want to be picked up for the journey home. Such tactics dent the phone companies’ revenues. They now earn under 300 rupees ($7.50) a month on average per subscriber.
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