Monday, May 31, 2010

An ode to Innocence

In-no-sense is this article an attempt to ridicule or belittle any of the individuals involved in any of the incidents. For good measure I have not revealed either the names or the places in which these events occurred. It is more to just smile and enjoy the incidents in themselves.
Long time ago when an entire office had just two computers and having a lap top was a bigger perk than the corner cabin is when this particular incident occurred. The gentleman in question was a senior vice president in a marketing services company and had just been given a spanking new lap top two days prior. As expected it was the envy of mere mortals and the pride of the owner. Only issue was that in those days senior managers used to have secretaries adept at short hand and the norm was to dictate all communication to them. The juniors in office decided to pull a fast one on the senior vice president and told him that since laptops are mobile in nature they don’t have storage capacity and hence any communication which comes on it, if not acknowledged immediately moves on to cyber space in a southerly direction. Incidentally our protagonist was aiming to close a big deal with an American company at that very same time. He was expecting their revert on that very same night. So as matters unfolded he instructed his secretary as follows …” Shiela…you and I will have to stay in office tonight and lets take turns at sleeping. I am expecting a mail from the client in US and if we don’t answer it immediately, it will go to Sri Lanka”. You can well imagine the office next day.

Around the same time, the person who heads a leading luxury brand in the country had just given his board exams and was awaiting his results. The much awaited day dawned and with it came the information that CBSE had become tech savvy and had set up a call centre where one could call in to get one’s results. Our protagonist hailed from a small town where telephony was still not very prevalent and one had to go to the post office to make STD calls since the help line number was a Delhi number. Young legs carried our man like the wind to the post office. With trembling hands he called the number to hear an upset female voice saying “ Is route mein sabhi line wyast hain. Kripaya kuch der baad dial kare”. He tried again and the lady sounded even more upset this time. Disappointed our protagonist was about to go back home when the clerk at the post office said “ Beta chinta mat karo…woh aurat aise hi bolte rahti hai”. Our man however was convinced that his results were bad and that is why the lady was upset and hence went home literally in tears and told his siblings “ Aunty bahut gusse mein thi. Mera number bura hoga”.

A budding entrepreneur currently, our next protagonist had just joined one of the leading management schools in early 90’s. Being one of the few women in her batch was tough enough but add to that the fact that she was staying out of home for the first time made it doubly worse. Her father had given her the number of a local relative in case of any emergencies etc. One day our protagonist went to the phone booth at campus and called the number, but the call did not go thru. A couple of days later she tried again but to no avail. When this happened a third and a fourth time she got very worried. Another week went by and yet another attempt yielded the same result. This time however she was with another girl from her batch who immediately saw that our protagonist was upset. On enquiring the whole sad saga came out in a gush. Perplexed the friend said lets try again. They went into the booth again and the friend started dialling. Imagine the sheer astonishment on our protagonists face when the number connected. Hugs and kisses later the secret revealed itself. You have to dial 0 first to get an outside line and then dial the number.

All three have gone on to become very successful professionals and I wish them all the best in future. If only our children were to have a fraction of this innocence.


Written by : Sujay Misra

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