It was half-past eleven and my handset beeped ominously, twice for good measure. Just as I was drifting into dreamland, having decided to call an early night, I struggled out of bed to reach across to the tech lifeline. As blood coursed rapidly through my veins and my heart pounded loud enough to pierce the snores of my tired better half, my mind sprinted an Olympic 100m to run through a gamut of thoughts ranging from alarming to bizarre.
I blinked a few times and rubbed my eyes vigorously to get to the SMS, with a nagging thought that Some Most important Stuff was resting on the machine for me to read and consume. I needn’t have lost even the initial part of sleep, as it was only a good ol' humanitarian trying to urge me to buy that sauna belt I was shying away from, all in my interest so that I could get back to my shapely self. Yes, even close to the witching hour, these good fellas have your interest in their minds.
But that was last night. Today, I was in the middle of my morning monologue with the Almighty and the inevitable happened. The most familiar tone in my life rang, first gently, then crescendoing up to a shrilly pitch till I excused myself from His chamber to pick up the persistent call.
These God's good people know all your hopes and dreams, and are out to help you fulfill them. (Photo: AP/picture for representation)
It was another of God’s good men, coercing me to invest my hard-earned money in the BEST instrument ever and see my money treble in a short span of time. I knew in that very instant that I was the chosen one and God was sending me a special message via this kind man. Dammit, I had not even finished my prayers for the day and was already beginning to reap benefits.
The good news is that these chosen angels — men and women — will find you anytime, anywhere. Forget about tapped phones, the ED, CBI or even the FBI, it is these good Samaritans who are not just watching you but watching out for you. Even if you do not have the resources they have the commodity to sell to you — Platinum / Titanium card, Penthouse in the toniest part of suburbia; you may not be sick but they have the cure — weight loss in five days or guaranteed money back; from psoriasis, piles to pulmonary tuberculosis they have the panacea; you may not be bald yet, but they will have the best technology to recommend.
The only piece of bad news in this whole do-gooding thing was when DoT tried to create a DNC registry. But thank heavens that it sank before it could float, and is now lost in the quagmire of Do Call and Do not Call business. Fate played its hand out here, favourably for us, and the DNC is almost as good as ineffective most times. Thank God for that.
So these good fellas are back in business with a vengeance. You are out of town and your cell is on roaming — it beeps, rings, beeps, rings………till you feel lighter at least in terms of the paper you carry in your wallet.
Some of these good people seem to hit the bull’s eye each time they call or send an SMS. I often get the sauna belt / guaranteed Ayurveda weight loss / lose flab in three months flat and never put it back type of messages almost every day.
I thought only my close ones or I knew that I am pining for that second dream home in Delhi. I am wrong. Even they know. Otherwise, how do you explain all those alluring messages selling me beautiful homes in Orange County, Olive County, Golf Estate, Diamond Towers and the like? This God-send force of people also knows that I am on a self-imposed sabbatical and have begun sending me tips on “Earning the EXTRA income.”
But there could be those odd times when they miss it by the long shot. Like when they sell Japani technology to increase height in a fortnight to my husband, who hovers just a few notches below 6’1”, or when they urge him to buy "fashion in plus size" for women who are not just large-hearted, but generally large.
I come from the hospitality industry, so a call from hotels always shoots the antenna up. It could be a job call, a consultancy request or an ex-colleague wanting to touch base. But these days, they are calling to make me a member of their loyalty club or send me a platter of unsuspicious looking promotional cookies along with, you guessed it, the promotional mailer.
But do not get irritated. The number of messages and calls you get depends on how important you are. Here’s the logic — the more important you are, the more number of credit cards you have, more bank accounts, club memberships, and so on. Which means that there are more avenues for people to sell your number to these DM sharks, sorry, I mean God’s own people.
I wonder when I am being laid down to rest six feet under or my last mortal remains being incinerated to ashes — depending on the sentiments I leave behind with those who are left behind — would my un-biodegradable instrument ring or beep for that one last time for me. You know there could be that alluring offer to turn my deadwood body into a tree.
And here is a piece of the best news — your relationship with these good men and women is forever. You cannot unfriend them like on Facebook, or remove the connection, as on LinkedIn. With them, it truly is until the end of time. Time to pen down a new ballad then, eh?
Of late, there is also that last straw that broke the camel’s back. After playing around with my first name, second name, last name, misspelled name; after addressing me as a Mr or simply "Hi there!" the latest these days is "Hello dear." Who is writing all this crap for these blessed people?
But hey, wait a minute! My cell’s ringing. You never know, it could be Branson’s bright boys this time to sell me the dream inter-galactic trip!