Friday, September 03, 2004


Couldn't resist this one. A friend of mine got a new cell phone number in India, and came up with an unforgettable number: 1234-SUSHIL (I have replaced the first few digits with some random numbers so that no one can give him blank calls. Of course, if you are on the lookout for a dashing, handsome, smart software engineer ..... you wouldn't be interested in this number anyway :-)) .... Sushil, please don't murder me for this!!!) Whether he got this number by design or choice, I do not know. If he got the number and then came up with this mnemonic, then ..... smart thinking Sushil. If he ever gives his phone number to a girl and she forgets it, there are two benefits. One, she can never say that she forgot the number for want of admitting that she is pretty dumb. Two, if she really forgets the number, Sushil knows that it might be time to graciously disengage.

Jokes apart, some of these 1-800 numbers are really interesting. In fact, it would be an interesting excercise to come up with an algorithm that takes any 1-800 number and finds a meaningful mnemonic out of it. You can verify the word that you generate against a dictionary.

I don't know if this phenomenon has started in India, but in the US, it is an unescapable part of life. It is pretty handy too. I believe the toll free numbers in UK are numbered differently. The outsourcing phenomenon has not left this area untouched. You could call a Dell toll-free number and you would end up in Bangalore talking to Srinivas, or similarly named gentlemen or gentle ladies. Some people use this to an undue advantage. I heard a case of a student in the US whose other half was at a service center in India. A toll-free number would ring the phone at his desk directly and they could talk for a long time, on an international call, free of charge!!!

Of course, I am equating a valid cell phone number that Sushil has to 1-800 numbers, which isn't fair. But I like the concept of mnemonic based personal numbers. How about 425-BUG-PARTH?


Avinash said...

It is hardly possible that Sush got this number by chance AND he figured out the mnemonic. The more likely option is that he asked for this number. Which for one shows that he learned a great trick from his stay in the US. Also it seems rather wasteful to go to the trouble of getting a custom number (possibly he might have had to pay for it) unless u intend to use it.....

Sachin said...

avinash, kya re.. u seem to doubt sus intelligence,
but on the hindside, the thought that sushil actually might have cracked the anagram never occured to me...
so i am guessing, more likely, what u said is correct and that sus custom ordered his phone number.

I surely agree with the benefits of having such number as parth nicely noted above, (irony is that while i am writing this blog, his comments appear below, i hope ya get what i mean....)