Fact number 1
whiiiirrrrrr whiiiiirrrrr. (That’s my cell vibrating to indicate an incoming call). The CLI shows no number which is what happens generally with international calls.
Me thinks: Arrey! who is it remembering me after so long from pardes.. could be S, R, P …
Me says: Hullo!
Caller: Mein … (in a rather dramatic style).
Me thinks: oh!..so dramatic.. this could be only S (S is the only one who would do something like this.. slightly change his voice and start off in a dramatic way). Oh! the caller is introducing himself..
Caller: Mein….. Atal Behari Vajpayee bol raha hoon..
Me Thinks: Oh! so I am the chosen one this time! hmmm.. I think Shekhar Suman sounds better than him, himself!!
Mr. Prime Minister: Meine picchle paanch varshon mein kayee kaam..
Me does: The electronic equivalent of swatting a mosquito buzzing in your ear. Cut the damn call.
Mr. Prime Minister.. stop telling what all you have done. If you are really interested in calling me up, make the communication duplex. And to think abt the money that goes into all this faaltu propaganda.. couldn’t you have used it somewhere else? How about actually enhancing the communication infrastructure here, instead of clogging the already congested networks with your unsolicited calls. Have you forgotten the anti-spam laws that you laid down yourself? Or is the Prime minister pre-pardoned from all crimes like all other politicians?
Fact number 2
Scene buildup: I am totally kadka. I have to head for my optician and I know that it’s gonna burn a hole of at least 2K in my pocket. However it is necessary. I also have to drop in a cheque of my credit card payment for 3K. Since there’s hardly any money in my account and I have already issued a number of cheques, don’t know how much it leaves me with. I am driving and there’s no petrol in the car. My wallet also has barely 200-300 bucks.. out of which I decide to sacrifice 100 bucks at the petrol pump. I also need some cash to do more shopping this very month. This requirement’s the result of being born on the end of the financial year. (Yes, this is not a subtle hint but a very big one). In other words.. my monetary status would put paupers to shame.
I drive down to the petrol pump and instruct the attendant. Suddenly some chappie comes up and says a little apprehensively, ‘Excuse me Ma’m’.
Me says: Yes?
Chappie drawls: Ma’m … Could you do me a favour…
Me thinks: not another sales man.. i don’t want any credit card, insurance or any of those damn things.
Me says: what?
Chappie drawls: Ma’m…. actually I left my wallet at home in a hurry. And now I don’t have any money. Could you lend me some?
Me thinks: Don’t tell me!! Haven’t I heard this story already..(smirking internally).. How can ppl even *think* that this is gonna fetch them cash?
Me says: look, I hardly have any cash in my own wallet… am getting petrol filled for only 100 bucks!!
Chappie drawls: Please ma’m .. trust me.. I am a well educated guy from a good family. I am telling you the truth. Please help me ma’m. I am like your younger brother.
Me thinks: Yech.. that’s why god spared me any brothers.. esp the tight t-shirt wearing, ear pierced kinds..
Me says: look, why don’t you ask these petrol pump attendants? after all they have a lot of cash.
Chappie drawls: Ma’m their employer is not here.
Me argues: see, there’s some chap, he seems to be their boss, go ask him.
Chappie drawls: No ma’m I have already asked him. He’s not the employer. Please ma’m, you can keep my goggles, please give me your mobile number and address and I’ll return the money wherever you want.
Me thinks: beware of anyone who wants your details.. waise what could this guy’s thugging strategy be? Is he going to plant a heat seaking missile somehow? Is he going to misuse my cell number? I am not wearing any gold chain which he could snatch .. or does he have a camera somewhere and he’s from some stupid bakra copy show on some obscure channel..like alpha punjabi.. whatever..
Chappie drawls: Please ma’m.. I need just 50 bucks.
Me thinks: just 50.. hmmm.. mebbe he really needs it.. mebbe he *is* being honest.
(Hark back to an incident a couple of years back)
M and I are going some place in an auto. M is a simble zouthindeeyan (no not a mallu though) and is gulliblity personified. The auto stops at a crossing and suddenly some beggar women come and start wailing and screeching for money. They look quite healthy contradictory to their financial status. The story they tell us is that some female (in labour) is out on the road just about to give birth and they need some money urgently to get her to a hospital. I don’t buy that gibberish but M is totally taken by it. I warn him, but he brushes it off as one would an irritating fly. The strategy used by them, to bombard the unsuspecting citizen with the urgency of the situation and also the fact that the red (traffic) light is about to turn green, combined with the cacophony of ‘tumharee jodee banee rahe’ sentiments, probably flusters and numbs the mind of the most intelligent people and they give in, unable to handle so much. M starts pulling out a 20 Rupee note (something of great value to auto commuters). I again express that they are most likely fibbing and he needn’t be that philanthropic. But magnanimous as he is, he parts with it with glee.
The beggar women scurry away the moment they get their hands on the money. The light has already turned green and the auto driver continues. But the comment he made next is still clear and vivid in M’s memory. He said, ‘You shouldn’t have saab, this is their daily business. They loot so many passengers like this everyday’. Needless to say, I admonished that chap for not having said so a moment earlier. But at least after that M has had more reservations in these kinda situations.
(Hark back to reality)
I don’t want the same thing happening.
Me says: (to the petrol pump attendant, while the chappie has gone to borrow a pen) Does he come here everyday by chance, to ask for money?
Attendant: No, this is the first time I am seeing him, if you know him, give him the money else let it be.
Chappie drawls: Thank you very much ma’m. Yes ma’m. What is your number? I’ll return the money wherever you want it returned.
Me says: The number is 98XXXXXXXX.
Chappie: Your name.
Me says: Don’t bother with that. You have the number. I’ll just treat this as my good deed for the day in case you dont do what you are saying.
Chappie : (sensing my inhibition) You stay somewhere nearby?
Me says: Yes, somewhere nearby.
Chappie drawls: Thank you very much ma’m.
3 days pass and I keep oscillating between feeling foolish and feeling magnanimous ‘coz according to me, he seemed to be in need of money at that time. Eventually I forgot about it. Finally I got a call from an unknown number which turned out to be the chappie drawling again asking me where to return the sum. Whoa! So I was right! Trust is still alive!
Facts stranger than fiction
Fact number 1