Saturday, November 13, 2010

Missed Call Part 2

Water was very cold. But to Sanjith that was just good enough to cool his head. He stood under the shower for ten minutes before applying soap. It was yet another bad day for him. Standing below the shower he relived the conversation he had just half an hour back.

From the voice at the other end on his third attempt to call Manjusha, it was clear to Sanjith that it was not she. So his reply hello was more of a question than a greeting. Then there was a silence.
  “Can I speak to Manjusha ?” he broke the silence after a few seconds.
  “Manjusha is not here, this is her friend”
  “Oh.. Did she forget the phone while going out?”
  “Err.. Well she has gone home since we don’t have classes for next two days and then it is the weekend. “
   “Oh and did she forget the phone? “  Sanjith asked in a disappointed tone, thinking about the lost chance to meet her during the weekend.
   “Not actually.  Well, I want to tell you something, only if you have the patience to listen.”
    As if anyone is going to tell he does not have patience! “Yeah tell me”, preparing to hear something not so pleasant. “ By the way, may I know your name?”

     “My name is not important Sanjith. I can tell you any name. So please leave that. We are a group of students; some of us doing MBA and others doing masters in psychology in same college.  We have been reading about many affairs developed over missed calls and lot of guys using this modus operandi to trap girls.  We once had a long discussion on this and decided to experiment and analyze how many people, male and female, call back on missed calls and how willing are they to talk to strangers.  For that study we collected phone numbers through different methods and contacted many people. We girls used to keep one phone for talking to guys and boys had another phone from which they had called girls. Normally we used to talk two or three times and then not accept calls from them any more, but somehow you and Manjusha got along. We wanted to stop her from...”
    “So I was one of the guinea pigs” Sanjith spoke as partial statement and partial question.

     “It was not that way Sanjith. She really became good friend with you and neither of you can be blamed for that. From what we understand, you two are developing into something more than friendship.  You are probably a nice guy too. But the thing is that Manjusha has a boyfriend who loves her very much and he has been an important part of her life for many years. We had a long session with her today and she wants to end this too. She could not tell you directly and we were thinking about stop using this phone number.  We will probably do that from tomorrow, but when you were trying so hard to reach her I felt it was better to let you know. From what I understand, you are a sensible person and would understand. All I have to tell is that…” Sanjith did not wait to hear rest.

        He did not know what to do. He was not in love with Manjusha. He considered her to be a good friend and like her friend told probably they were getting into something more than friendship. What pained Sanjith was that he was kept in the dark throughout. He did not even know for sure if her name is Manjusha. He is not even able to talk to her one last time to shout at her. And there is no way for him to find who she is. He felt helpless and powerless.  For a moment he wished if his father or uncle were a police officer or if Google could search address details by phone number. He did not want to do bring any harm to her, just wanted to trace her and tell her that he can reach to her if he really wanted.

       Just when he was drying himself with the towel an idea struck him. Once when her cell was switched off, he had got the automatic message from service provider and hence knew who was the service provider.  Sanjith had a friend who worked in the IT department of the same company.  So probably he can try to get the name and address of the person who took connection. No assurance that he will be able to trace her, but some possibility at least. When he quickly changed dress and took his cell phone to call his friend, there was a missed call and it was from his manager Sunil.

       Sunil never calls any one after office hours unless it is really important. So Sanjith decided to call Sunil first.
       “Hey Sanjith. There is a new project for our client starting next Monday and we have identified you as the onsite co-coordinator. Can you travel this weekend to US? ”
       “ But Sunil… it’s already Wednesday night.”
       “Yeah I know Sanjith. Actually the role was for slightly senior profile and I had to try hard to get you this opportunity. So please don’t let me down and don’t let such an opportunity slip through your hands”. Then Sunil gave a brief about the work and expectations from Sanjith.

       By the time he disconnected the phone, Sanjith had already mentally started preparing list of things to do in next two days. He was still holding the phone in his hands. When he unlocked the screen to call his parents to inform them the news, he remembered that he was about to call his friend. He stared the phone screen for a moment and then he could not stop a smile slip through his lips.
I got the thread of this story from newspaper reports about many girls and housewives falling prey to missed call lovers and psychologists and criminologists explaining the reasons why people call back and develop relations.  One such report -

Monday, November 8, 2010

Missed Call

Water was very cold. But to Sanjith that was just good enough to cool his head. He stood under the shower for five minutes before applying soap. It was yet another bad day at office for him. He got his US visa stamped nine months back but did not get opportunity yet to travel. He has been having multiple meetings with his managers in the last few weeks. He knew very well that he would fly to US some day, but the wait was getting unbearable. His good friends were all either at onsite or had moved to different cities.  When you don't have good friends to share, small frustrations can take you to depression.

Sanjith's meeting with his senior manager was a disaster today. His manager got angry because he felt Sanjith was not trusting on his efforts and the discussion went really bad. Sanjith previously had a very good relation with him and he knew that last two meetings in three weeks really did some serious damage to that.  He left office early just after the meeting, came home directly and switched channels for an hour before proceeding to take bath. Once cooled down, he realized his outburst was a little too much. He wanted to call Sunil, his manager and apologize. When he changed dress and took his cell phone, there was a missed call from an unknown number.

Call had come half an hour back; he did not hear the ring due to TV volume. Number did not look any familiar to Sanjith but he decided to call back and check.
"Hello" It was a female voice at the other end.
"I got a missed a call from this number about half an hour back"
"C'mon. I was studying for last 2 hours and I don't remember making any calls. And I don't know you as well"
 "You first check your call history. Hold on.. let me tell you exactly...ummm.. You called 35 minutes back"
 "I don't need to check my phone. I know guys do all the kind of tricks to start talking to girls. Don't try those with me" and the line was disconnected.

Sanjith was furious. His blood had enough boiling for the day even before this.  He wanted to call her back and blast, but did not know what exactly to tell and he was never good at winning an argument.  For once in the entire day his common sense prevailed over emotions and decided to attack the ice cream in the fridge instead of the stranger girl.  He was in no mood to call Sunil now.

Just when he entered the kitchen to take the bowl, spoon and ice cream packet, his mobile started singing again. It was from the same number.
   Sanjith said hello in harsh tone.
   "Hello.. It's me again." she continued after a short pause. "I am sorry, actually my friend had called from my phone. I didn't know that. She just told me"
   "Do I know her?"
   "No..actually she was trying to call someone else and it was just one number in the middle which she , you know...typed wrong"
  "I am very sorry for whatever I told you sometime back. You know I had no clue that she had called from my cell."
 "Hmm..Ok, may be you should be a little more careful next time before shouting at someone"
 "Yeah I would definitely be. So can I believe I am forgiven this time?"
 "hmm. What else I can do. I can't take you to court for this" Sanjith's tone was still harsh.
 "I guess you are still angry. I don't know what to say now. Are you in Bangalore ?"
 "I am not. If I were, would you have offered me a coffee ?"
 "I didn't mean that. I was just asking. Anyway, sorry again. Bye for now" and she disconnected the phone without waiting for his reply.

A few minutes after the call Sanjith started feeling that he could have handled it differently. There was no need to be that much rude. At least towards the end of conversation he could have been more pleasant. After all it was a girl at the other end and she had apologized multiple times for a mistake, which could have happened to anyone.  Calling her back now would not be good without any good reason. First he thought for finding some ideas to call her but could not find any. Finally he decided to send an SMS.
"Sorry for being rude on the call. I know this mistake could have happened to anyone."

In less than 30 seconds of sending the message she called again. "Thank you very much. You know, I was feeling very bad after I disconnected last time and my ego was not allowing me to call again"
"Ha ha. Same here. I hope you will be fine now"
"Yeah, actually, I was telling my friend that I am going to kill her for spoiling my day"
"Hm..Now she is safe right? By the way not all guys do tricks to talk to girls"
"Yeah I agree. You would have heard the joke that 99% of boys give bad reputation to the rest"

Both had a good laugh and the conversation went on.  They talked for about half an hour before saving each other's number in their phones. Manjusha was her name and she was doing her MBA in Bangalore.  She had the same mother tongue of his though she was brought up outside of his state. She talked very nicely except for the over usage of "actually" and "you know". They started calling each other almost every day, but the duration seldom exceeded thirty minutes since she always had assignments and lot of things to study. She was always busy. Many times his call would be returned after an hour or two only.

It was a Wednesday. Some of his classmates had planned to arrange a re-union next weekend at Bangalore. It was a quick planning. Sanjith did not like quick planning, but this time he had another reason to go to Bangalore. He can sneak out for a few hours and meet Manjusha if she is ready to.  Knowing that she will have classes till 5:00, he called at around 5:30, but she did not pick up. Normally she calls back when she gets free. So he waited for a few hours and finally called again at around 8:30. Still no reply. Close to ten, he called again.


Rekha and Reena looked at each other after staring at phone screen showing  "M19 calling" for a couple of seconds. Rekha stretched her left hand towards the phone and declared. "I am going to tell him."

                                                                                                   (To be continued)