Friday, September 11, 2009

Phone - a friend?

There's something really uplifting in taking a high moral stand.

You congratulate yourself and revel in looking with condescension at the plebeians carrying on their work in their own quotidian ways.

And then you pat yourself on the back for having come up with that wannabe megalomaniac show off sentence.

But sometimes, in an attempt to remain on your high horse, you often fall flat on your face.

Like the incident of the mobile phone.

I've never been one for mobile phones. Woe betide their ubiquitous presence in every nook and cranny! So much so, that you're really lucky nowadays if the person you're talking to deigns to actually look at you during the conversation.

Oh, and the judging, the constant gut wrenching judging- you end up losing the little self worth you had to begin with. I've been thrown so many disdainful looks and comments once my phone makes its presence felt. Its not even old, someone said to me, Its ANCIENT- this Nokia *$# or some such.

And so, I switched off my prehistoric phone for good one day. And took pride in not having a 10 digit identity that began with 9. And felt liberated from the feral tyranny of it.

And then I was shown my place. Almost at once.

It all began as a simple quest to go to someone's house located deep in the labyrinth of Pune's alleys. There was the minor issue of my never having been there before. Clutching a soiled paper with the address and a solitary phone number, I set off in an Auto. Oh he had a field day, he did. He led me deep into the alleys, smirking at my undisguised bewilderment. In the midst of nowhere, a pallid gloom descending and the meter going berserk, I made him stop at an intersection, paid him the scandalous fare and decided to chart my own course.

There were no less than seven small alleys leading in different directions from the intersection. Cursing- the one talent I do have- I set off on one of them. It was utterly useless. I confess to having looked wistfully at a billboard with Sachin smirking, a phone in hand- but I hastily chastised myself for my moment of weakness. Heading to the first in a long line of public phones, I inserted the requisite coin and started dialing, only to realize that it was out of order. The next one- same result and my only coin didn't come out.

There are moments in your life you want to earmark as a watershed- moments from when your life changed- from when you suddenly saw the light and started living differently.

This was not one of those times.

I desperately needed to call up and there was no way. And then I saw him- the same Auto guy was back, with a sadistic grin pasted to his face. Kho gaye ho?, he asked his face dripping with glee- a spider salivating at its prey. The prey nodded and asked him where the address was, only to find that the spider couldn't read (Stage 1- spin the web). And then he offered me....what else....a mobile. It certainly looked ultra fancy (Stage 2- attract the prey). In spite of myself, and I hate to admit it, I admired it for an instant. And made the damn call (Stage 3- TRAPPED).

When at last I did reach my destination I found myself paying both his suspiciously high mobile phone bill and the fare (Stage 4- Suck the prey's blood). As I turned to enter the house, I heard a guffaw of laughter (Stage 5- BURRP!).

Well, needless to say I got swindled on my way back as well. Deciding to walk a bit instead of going directly home, I then made the ill timed decision to get off. As if on cue, as if Geography had suddenly abandoned scientific principle and adopted Murphy's law instead, the skies opened. Scurrying under a tree, I had to wait in growing impatience while everyone else around me called someone or the other. When at last after swallowing my pride, I timidly asked someone if I could make a call, he snorted, 'No balance.'

I didn't muster the gumption to ask anyone else.

Drenched, soiled, and seething with fury I reached home- ready to pounce on anyone I found, and I discovered some friends sullenly waiting. There had apparently been a party. One I hadn't gone to. I had been sent an SMS about the change in plan.

Drawing myself up with dignity (what I could muster seeing that I was wet, covered in mud and had the beginnings of a drippy nose) I announced that I had given up my phone.


Utter and absolute.

And then- someone said it.
What happened?

It was one of those moments when you want the earth to open up and swallow you whole- wet clothes, dishevelled hair, muddy face- all of you, inch by sorry inch.

My well thought of, brilliant, epoch shattering response?

Did you check out the new pre paid scheme?

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Jasmine said...

Your writing is fun, I just don't get why the GAPS between your paragraphs,
I really dont get it.
Oh and I like the nude Kate Winslet bit tremendously!

KG said...

:) Thanks! Yeah she's- to put it vulgarly- hot stuff!