Once not so long ago, I had a phone whose ring tone was fixed. I mean, I did change it once or twice, but I always went back to the favorite notes of 'Roadhouse Blues' on my so-called rudimentary phone in monophonic tunes. It suited my office best, and hey! I could recognise it no matter what. I was used to it. So that ring tone remained for the almost-3 yr tenure of that phone. Recently when my present phone was being reformatted, I had reverted to use of that old phone (whose only fault after those long 3 yrs was a battery that gave out. The keys are just as shiny and new, though the surface scratched - but then nothing worse could have happened to it) and the ring tone was so soothing and non-obtrusive, I missed it on return of my jazzy do-it-all smartphone with real-life music (dont mistake me, I love the features of this phone).
Infact, sometimes the symphonic music uttered by the new age mobile phones leaves the owner quite at sea - they look mesmerised by the music, only to realise from the dirty looks of near-at-hand people that it is their pockets emanating that sound. How sweet the ancient 'tring tring' sounds in such circumstances.
Infact in the initial days of cell phones there was a popular joke:
'In a crowded train there was a sound of a phone going ring-ring. At once 10 people took out their phones and said 'hello''
This problem was avoided effectively in offices by employing individual ringtones. Interesting length and tone variations ensure that the obsequious ringing remains individualistic. However, the same is difficult to achieve in a public environment with varying tastes in music of different people.
With customisations, it is now almost a matter of standing to have a specific ring tone. The higher you go, the lesser the 'funkiness' of your tone. Reverting to a muted version of the age-old ringing in most cases, or close relatives of it. However, the most interesting tunes can be heard on the extra-loud phones of the office boys. The latest music, the jazziest tones and the most jarring on the nerves, downloaded by extra payments are on their phones. Ringing of these phones in the quiet office environment does not wierdly enough make them feel out of place, like any usual person feels, but in fact makes them feel happy in a covert manner...or so it seems. Its almost as though they are delighted to let people know of their music tastes, their spending power, and above all, their popularity.
Sounds have an interesting effect on people. Notwithstanding the nature of the sound, the first impulse of anybody within earshot is to look at the source. It does not matter whether the original sound be a cry, a sentence, music or just plain honking. The human mind is attuned to listening as well as to react to anything heard. Yet, it is to phone ring tones that we seem to have become so immune that sometimes we cannot even recognise our ring tone.