Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hello!!! Is it me you are looking for???


It was way back in the 80’s when my parents decided to own a telephone…yep before that very few had the privilege. It was a mindset, I’m sure. When my dad said “ There is no need, for one, we have managed pretty well so far” …The kids and the women’s faces fell…chin nearly dropping to the ground. Such was the effect then. But of course we did manage to get one eventually and of course, the need was very much there.
Right from calling up the inlaws at sharp 8 in the morning to find out if they had finished their coffee (hmmppfff, for old timers 8 is breakfast time…coffee has been digested eons ago…), to finding out if his school friend had managed to get admission for his son to informing the borther-in-law that their documents were not in order…yes, My dad did indeed not have the need !!! We always knew the phone was not for us to look at even during that morning phase…
It’s a long way from then….

The endless wearing down of the carpet, to make sure the phone was kept properly in its position, ‘cos it hadn’t rung in nearly and hour…the countless cleaning of the instrument with soap solution..( I’ve also used dettol sometimes to clean it up) The crisp laced cover to keep it dustfree and whatnot free !!!, the small wooly support mat underneath…yes it had it all….
We used to have some fun moments too…wrong numbers, funny voices and of course lots of prank calls…

The funny gurgling sound it made while the numbers were being rotated …which at times would be irritating( whenever we needed to make those discreet calls and mom was around) it had its great days.
But amidst all this I remember, most calls would be answered with the caller asking for the person he/she wanted to talk to…sometimes even confirming the number.

But as days went on….I answered calls that went like this
Caller :“ Do you have poster paper in flouroscent yellow?” ( no hello, whatever!!)
Me : Yes, I have 10 will it be enough ( we were in the midst of submission so it was normal for friends to call and ask around for sheets and stationery)
Caller : How much is it going to cost? ( huh!!! )
Me : silence ( I was stunned)
Will you be open till 8 today?
Me : some more silence
Me : hmmm….open? which number did you want?
Caller : …… stationery, isn’t it? ( The popular stationery mart for architects then and my namesake too)
Hmppfffff…..and it was one of my juniors in agony ‘cos next day was submission….

Years have gone by, but stress, rushed time and errors haven’t changed one bit.

The telephone still exists with lots of high tech options- caller id, etc, etc…
So when I received this clal this morning, I saw the number and realized it was the intercom and it came from the floor my inlaws apartment is located. So concerned( ‘cos they aren’t in station, I picked up the call….hoping there was no emergency.
Caller : hello, I’m calling from ….i’m on the 16th floor
Me : Yes
Caller : I’m having someone come over now
Me: yes
Caller: could you please send them up?
Me : huh!!! ( doing, doing….whack, grrrrr) I think you need to call the gate security, you have gotten a residence. You can dial XYZ for that.
Caller : beep, beep, silence….

I agree I live on the ground floor, I agree I can see who comes into my block, I also agree I’m a very talkative person…but I ‘DO NOT DOUBLE UP AS SECURITY’
Will someone please understand????
There are days when I feel that the script for my life has been written by Salvador Dali or someone who has spent some time being suffocated by his clothes. (Once Dali almost died because his head was in a goldfish bowl and his breathing apparatus malfunctioned.) This was one of those days.


ps: I wholeheartedly accept that the title is inspired from Lionel Richie song ...but so what??!!!

25 comments:

--xh-- said...

LOL... i still remember the first day we got phone connection - it was a prized possession, and we where not supposed to use it without permission :)

Pavi!!!! said...

omg! u took me back in time..if i started narrating wat all we did in the initial yrs of hvg a phone...it could take up a whole BLOG!

prank calls wwere so much fun! damn technology n caller ids! i pity today's children ;)

Preethi said...

haha.. I remember "those days" with the new phone line! We made so many crank calls as kids.. I am sure the whole of the city was glad when we grew up!!

Shruti said...

:)) Ur qualifications make u eligible for the post of 'security' :P

Oh when our phone came.. so many prank calls.. to my own friends, then my friends would get numbers of the Bollywood Khans from their sources and.. I'd try dialling those to just hear them. Oh I did get through to Aamir's answering machine that he had recorded himself :D
And dad has this habit of never telling a wrong number caller that its a wrong number. He'd always have a little fun with the caller and then tell him that its the police station :P

Rayne said...

I remember the first time a telephone call came for me and me alone. A friend from school calling to ask if I wanted to come over and play after school the next day. Of course I had to ask my mother, who then needed to get on the phone and check with my friend's mother, and then they needed to do the polite thing and have a 'little chat' and it was finally my turn to get back on the phone and talk to my friend for a few more moments. I felt so grown up.
Now, I seem to get as many calls from salesmen, auto-dial messages, etc. as I do from real people.
In our house it was my mother who ruled the phone. She would be on the telephone for hours! It was amazing how much time she could spend talking on the telephone.

Rambler said...

I was on of those guys who got exposed to telephone very late, not until late 90s we had telephone, it was kind of ironic as my dad worked for telephone department..well I remember those initial days when I wanted to answer every time the phone rings, and just now when my mom/dad have to yell at the top of their voice to make me pick up phones :)

mathew said...

i rememeber when we got at home like in the early 90's..myself and bro literaly used to hang around the phone tea-poy just for being the first one to pick it up..we used to fight over it..and now i can just imagine the change of scene..

"you pick it up"
"no!!..you pick it up" ;-D

Suma said...

hahaha..this was funny...

*The funny gurgling sound it made while the numbers were being rotated * you took me back in time, here.

brocasarea said...

hehe..papa...

same here too some times they call to my land no thinking my father is a doc asking for an appointment[since it resembles to a nearby docs clinic]

Prats said...

@xh Oh yes....each time we kids had to use the phone it by strict timings and parent's permission...at mine too :)

Prats said...

@pavi lol!!! Yes I blame the technology in taking all the fun away fm such a humble instrument...

Prats said...

@ preethi Were you that naughty aaaww....but childhood was fun.

Prats said...

@shruthi Aww...security...maybe it might make it interesting..
Oh!!! Aamir!!! so cute...wish he had answered

Prats said...

@rayne...That must have been such a very prestigious moment for you!!! Getting a call all for yourself and that too for an invite...so cute.
Maybe it was a woman thing with your mom...my mom does that too

Prats said...

@rambler...do you think its that special connect with boys??? My boys don't answer phone calls at all, unless I have screamed my lungs out :(

Prats said...

@mathew That initial excitement when telephones became a necessity was nothing compared to what is now...the kid snowadays don't understand that anymore...everything is so easily available

Prats said...

@suma...funny how I wouldn't mind owning a similar one now...

Preeti Shenoy said...

heh heh heh..
Yeah--everyone needs a refresher course in telephone etiquette in thse days of texting and IM.
Oh yes--i used to clean the phone too--and it smelled so good after the 'treatment' .Never used dettol though :)
Cheers
preeti

Keshi said...

lol @ Hello!

I love Lionel Ritchie...one of my fav singers.

Keshi.

Sumana said...

I can relate to the way the instrument was respected with wollen mat underneath, a crisp white netted/crosha'ed cloth on it. It was a rush to pick up the phone and see later if it was kept properly. Ya the wrong numbers and prankster calls were fun. It reminded me of the movie where Paresh Rawal keeps answering such and gets frustrated being called Devi prasad.

Rambler said...

special connection amongst boys..my argument has always been, there is no one who calls up our home number wishing to talk to me, if they want to reach me they will call my mobile, so its a real waste of my time to just pick up and yell back mom its for you, sounds logical isn't it?, well mom doesn't think so

Sankoobaba said...

i used to dread phone calls ...
most of them would be of my tution teacher..for bunking tutions..

Hershey Desai said...

hmm...
I say play along with it.
You being considered security personnel. Play along with it. Might as well get a few laughs na?

Caller : hello, I’m calling from ….i’m on the 16th floor
Me : Yes
Caller : I’m having someone come over now
Me: yes
Caller: could you please send them up?
Me: Sorry, no can do. The area is under complete lockdown. Code Orange. I repeat. Code Orange. Only authorized personnel with a 64 key access pass may be allowed to enter. Permission denied.


:)

Ay, Write more stuff na...

Hip Grandma said...

Well that was a nostalgic post. I remember the furore caused by my son when a friend of his got a telephone connection at home. His mother was a nurse and they are generally allotted connections within 6 months. It was 4 years since I had applied and there was no phone coming.and when it came.....the joy of telling everyone about it and my mother advising me to call after 11pm (quarter charge) out of concern for the bill..... We have come a long way haven't we with kids flaunting mobile phones and chaiwala's taking orers over the phone.

Suma said...

do you need us to start an online 'get prats to blog soon' campaign?

:) :) :)