Have you noticed how when people dial a wrong number they cannot believe it is their fault…writes Bikram Vohra
I get this a shrill ring at 0620 and the guy says, give the phone to Suraj in the same fashion a general would have told his troops to go capture a hill. No questioning the command.
Who, I ask, still groggy.
Like Thor from Olympus, all imperious: Suraj, brother, give, give, I am Chanderpal Rathore from Mehrauli.
While this location might be awesome for Mehrauli and its general region I tell old CM of M that there is no Suraj here?
You sure, he asks suspiciously. They always ask suspiciously, like you were deliberately keeping soul-mates from bonding.
Since it is two rooms, kitchen and a bathroom and no west wing to search in I do believe Suraj is not here and I share this information with confidence and conviction.
So, now the tone becomes accusatory. But this is the number he gave me, very odd, check again.
I can check all day if you want but unless he’s hiding in the closet or under the bed put your money on the fact that Suraj, like Alice, doesn’t live here anymore. Never did, actually.
By now Chanderpal thinks he is the victim of a massive conspiracy and gives it one more solid try.
Bhai, Suraj Prakash from Ratnagiri, this is not his house?
The shift to interrogatory is predicated to the fact that CM of M is losing ground rapidly and resenting it. That he woke me up doesn’t count because in his mind it is my fault that Suraj isn’t by now pleasantly chatting with him and it still hasn’t penetrated his mind that he could have dialled incorrectly or possesses the wrong number.
He rings off reluctantly like a suitor whose gift of flowers has been rebuffed because I have raised my voice and you can bet your castle in Capri that the call will come again inside one minute and you’ll say hello and he’ll recognise your voice and ring off. The second call is made in the hope that somehow miraculously Suraj will materialise in round two and life will be good.
I switch off and try to reknit the ravelled sleeve of care (sleep) when the phone rings again. The Machiavellian CM of Mehrauli has worked out his masterplan to dial from another number and catch me out. This is also a mandatory part of this exercise and is carried out under the inexplicable notion that calling from another number will pull the genie out of the bottle.
To fine tune his plot he changes his voice and makes his statement aggressively non-argumentative.
Give phone to Suraj. There, beat that, mister.
What do you say but Suraj is not here, he is up there in the sky, shining down upon us.