Those old days of STD/ISD/PCOWhen I see people talking over mobile phones as per their wish, convenient time and place I sometimes wonder "How easy it has become nowadays to stay in touch with each other, just a press of a button or tap on a screen at any time or place and you start talking with your dear ones". This also takes me down the lane to times when both mobile phones and landline phones were not so prevalent in households. This was the time when people heavily depended on STD/ISD/PCO booths.
In the market place or around your colony, small shops or outlets with a board displaying "STD/ISD/PCO" was the most common sight. These phone booths would be mostly deserted during day time but during the evening after 7 or 8 pm you would see a queue of people most of the times in the STD/ISD/PCO booths waiting to make STD calls. The reason was that in those days STD rates were reduced to one third or quarter during evening and night time slots by DoT (now BSNL). Some shops kept the phone in open while others had a glass cabin so that people can talk in privacy. People while making phone calls kept their eyes fixed on the display meter at the top which showed the duration of call and bill incurred minute by minute. It was common to hear people say "Ok now disconnecting the phone, the bill has already reached one hundred rupees".
It was interesting to observe a variety of people making STD calls in these booths and even if it was a glass cabin you could still hear what people were talking to some degree. There would be a son talking to their parents and giving them information about his college, exams or hostel life, a trader giving order of the goods to the distributor, a father or mother talking to their married daughter and not to forget an engaged boy or girl having romantic conversation with their fiancee in a soft tone without any concern about phone bill and many more such examples. It was common to see Impatience and anxiety on the faces of people waiting in the queue when someone inside the cabin talked for a long time.
This was the time when many people made fewer calls than today and had some frequency of making STD calls as weekly or bi-weekly and they waited for it eagerly. Times have changed now and with mobile phone in each person's hand, STD/ISD/PCO's can still be seen but have lost business and dwindled in number. Even if present they are deserted, and you would no more see queues of people waiting to make phone calls. But they may stay as a memory to cherish for people who have seen those days.