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A Memorable Phone Call

By Nikhil Jain

Life is such a capricious business really. All it takes is a few moments to completely transform your entire way of thinking, your mind set, your outlook and your life. Change is an inevitable part of life. Change is the only constant factor and the earlier you accept it, the easier it will prove to be. One thing is for sure: You must remain resolute about your dreams because dreams are the only things that give you satisfaction. Once broken, they can leave the person shattered for a long time.

But what is the most important requirement for fulfilling your dream? No, it’s not money. Time is crucial but the Condicio sine qua non is a bunch of people with whom you feel connected. These are special people whom you call friends. Nokia helps you connect with such people too.

Wait now! From where did that came from? My semi-sleep mode philosophy remained incomplete as my thinking boat took a stop to find my cell phone ringing. It was my darling sister calling. I looked out of my window and realized that it was still light outside with girls still roaming around. Now the best thing about my sister was that she would call whenever I was with a girl or when I was collecting my thoughts. Another speciality of hers was that whenever I was in a fix, she would always be there with a diplomatic way out instead of a solution. So I picked up the phone to greet her:
Hi gadhe! You sound as if you’re asleep.
hmm... once again you broke my train of thoughts.
Oh...Who’s the girl you were thinking about this time? Tell me! Tell me! Tell me!
(Sisters always get excited when they ask this question)
There’s no one special.
Okay, I get it; you were thinking something else and you obviously won’t tell me. So, how’s that friend of yours of whom you have been talking about for a long time? Any progress?

No not much. Listen, why did you called at such an odd time?
Oh yes! I almost forgot. Listen, what are your plans for the night?

I don’t know. I just woke up. You are asking as though you are arranging a date for me.
I mean you don’t have your CAT coaching classes or any late night party or any prior commitments?

No… But why are you asking?
So it goes like this. I have this friend of mine who’s just had a breakup and she’s depressed and she needs someone to talk to so I have given her your number. So she might call you tonight.

Ha-ha…You are joking, aren’t you?
Why are you laughing? This is serious.

What shall I say to her? And why on earth would you give her my number?
Please help her out. She’s really sweet and nice but she’s not listening to me. So I thought you might be of help. You are smart too. And who knows you might find your true love tonight. He he… (She laughs that typical girlish laughter). Instead of thanking me, you are cursing me. And guess what? When she smiles she has those lovely dimples on her face. What else do you need? I help you at all times and you can’t listen to a nice girl? You’re going to help her or I’ll share all your childhood pictures on Facebook.
The point is that, you got over your break up really fast and I want you to give her some tips too. Remember: Knowledge increases by sharing. That’s all I want you to do.

Alright, I’ll do it. Now, will you please stop this melodrama of yours? But don’t blame me if she gets further depressed.
I knew you’ll do it! Advice time: Take that friend of yours out sometime. Give her a rose and loads of chocolates. To win a girl’s heart, go by her stomach. I know you like her and from her responses I believe that she likes you too. It’s time to take it one step further.

Oh please stop! I’ll bring you a box of chocolates next time I come home.
He he…okay then, I’ll call you later. I haven’t told her your name but she will call you Bond.

Is this a secret mission or something? Shall I call her 007? At least, tell me her name and some tips on how I should approach her.
Oh...just be cool and don’t be tough with her. She has asked me not to say much about her so you ask her when she calls you. Okay? Bye…Take care!

Wait… listen… that’s not …
(I said desperately as she cut the phone.)Fair.

Photo credit - Chinmay Maheshwari

Sisters! Whenever they get bored and need something, they will call you, make you see a beautiful dream and then put you into a fairy tale. I looked out of the window to see that girls were still roaming. I love this view from my room. I realised my roommate and everyone else would have left for their NIIT classes. I went to the lobby only to find out that all the rooms in which I spent my evenings were bolted.

I distinctly remembered something special about the day but I couldn’t track it down so I returned to my room and switched on the laptop. A laptop has assumed the place of the best friend of every student. They spend their maximum time with it, share almost all of their secrets with it and a thorough search of a laptop might reveal the darkest secrets of any person. It has a vivid collection of his unexpressed feelings, his best moments, his choices, his likes and his dislikes, and his fantasies. I checked my facebook account to find that two people had liked my status update. I had no new emails and nothing to check out. No girl was available to flirt and no old friend was online to revive golden memories.

With nothing to do, I wanted to relax a little bit. I sat back on my bed, put my latest favourite song on repeat mode and started to think about the beautiful time I had spent at Cherrapunji and Shillong with my best friends. I thought of writing something but gave up that idea as I was unable to focus. To beat the boredom, I started searching my room to find something to do; a book on programming, loads of photocopies of the topper’s notes, read novels, a box of cigarettes with one cigarette in it (that’s new!).

Finally my search came to an end as I started reading my roommate’s diary but it added to my annoyance as he hadn’t written anything new. This is going to be a long and deadening evening. I closed my eyes and once again tried to think. Suddenly, my cell phone rang; an unknown call from a number starting with the number eight. Damn these service providers and there promotional offers! I must now register to DND service as soon as possible. I picked up the phone, considering the possibility that it might be from some competitions that I had applied for. I received the call but said nothing as my mind was set to hear some cheap Bollywood song to be applied as my caller tune. To my astonishment there was silence on the other side. Then the conversation went as below:

Hi is this Bond?

Yes. May I know who this is?
Hey! I am your sister’s friend. She might have mentioned to you about me. I hope I am not disturbing you?

Oh yes! I do remember. Hi … how are you?

I was dumbstruck with what had just happened. My sister had finally done something good for me But this girl sounded very depressed and heart broken. Her voice was dulcet and I tried to imagine her face. She would probably look as pretty as Deepika Padukone or Gul Panag. As my mind raced to think of other actresses who she could resemble, I suddenly realised that I had been insensitive and that she hadn’t replied to the question.

What’s the matter? You sound very sad. Is everything all right?
No, everything is not at all right. I am going through a very tough phase of my life. I need someone whom I can talk to.

Please don’t take me in the wrong sense but people generally talk to those whom they feel close to in these circumstances. Out of genuine curiosity, Why me?

Yes, you are right. But I think that talking to someone close to you isn’t always the correct option. Sometimes talking to an unknown person might lead to a better and unbiased conclusion. You might need to hide something when you talk to a close friends it might hurt their feelings. But with a stranger, you need not wear a mask. You can talk like a kid, act like a kid and cry like a kid. You can speak your heart out. I have heard of how you help your sister. She’s the one who suggested that I talk to you. I found you interesting and apt from the way she described you. Also, she said that you are a very patient listener and you might have a solution to my problem.

So you don’t fit with the popular crowd. Now, I take that as a very good omen. Okay then…. Let’s start. Tell me what’s eating you out?
You might know the basic story but let me start from the beginning. It goes like this : 2 years ago, a guy proposed to me and he was smart and handsome and I kind of liked him too. So we have been together for the past two years until a week ago when we broke off. We were a happy couple, but suddenly I felt as though I was standing in the middle of an island, with nowhere to go but the sea to drown in.

I know it’s tough but could you please explain the break up part a little bit more.
I realised that he didn’t love me. I was just a materialistic requirement for him. So I broke it off

So, what’s the trouble then?
I made up my mind not to sulk about not having a boyfriend. I wanted to develop inner poise, authority and a sense of self as a woman of substance who was complete without boyfriend. But now, my desire for finding true love is increasing day by day. What if I have found him but do not realise it? I just want to know if my true love has come into my life or not.

Is that it? 
Yes, that’s all.

Girls. They don’t worry about internships, jobs, money, gadgets or gifts. All they worry about is true love. But even if a man does propose, what he feels doesn’t seem to matter; it seems to be about the way he says it.

You know what? While it’s good to have crushes on men, one should form relationships based on mature assessment of the character. And now you want to do just that. That’s really nice. Now tell me, if there is an elephant and a bunch of bananas, but the elephant isn’t eating them. Why?
What the hell are you talking about?

It’s a simple pj. But answer me.
I don’t know… Maybe he’s not hungry.

Actually, the bananas are artificial.
Do you really think that’s funny?

Ok. Now once again, there is an elephant and there are bananas. But the elephant is still not eating them. Why?
Let me guess; this time the elephant is artificial.

Good. Now, neither the elephant nor the bananas are artificial yet the elephant is not eating them. Why?
I don’t know.

Because bananas are on TV!
That was terrible.

He he...Now the elephant and bananas both are real, both are in TV still the elephant isn’t eating them. Why?
Let me think. Um… because they are on different channels?

Correct! So you see, finding true love also has the same trouble. Sometimes you might think that you have found it by merely looking at it, but when you get close to it - when you know its nature, then you realise that it is fake. But to understand the difference, you have to experience it, bear the pain once and only then you would be able to distinguish between real and fake. Sometimes, your true love is very far from your reach, though physically you may be inches apart. Mentally your thinking and your mind-set could be completely different. You might know this person and ignore him because he’s just an acquaintance. That is the second case: when you can see the person but you don’t like him. There is also a third case in which others know that the two are made for each other and it takes time for them to realise it. Another possibility is that you might have not met each other and will do so in the future. 
Hmmm…that was quite philosophical.

It’s one of my several originals.
Now I am wondering if my last boyfriend was my true love

Let’s do an experiment. Do you have a matchbox in your room? 
Now, don’t you start a Jab We Met styled therapy. I am fed up of such absurd suggestions.

Don’t worry; I am going to do something better. Now, do you have a matchbox in your room?
Yes, I do.

What is a matchbox doing in your room? Do you smoke? Or have you started smoking as an anti-depressant?
No... We have frequent power cuts and that’s why I have it. My favourite anti-depressant is chocolate ice-cream by the way. What's yours?

A cigarette. But black currant ice-cream will also work fine.
Hmmm… So what shall I do now with the matchsticks?

Okay then; Find out any old love letter you received, turn off the lights and try to read the letter in the shadowy light. Let’s see what finishes first. You ready?
Okay. Let’s try…

I sat back, drank some water and waited for her reply. I found what was happening amazing. Oh my dear sister! You are going to have to buy a big chocolate box this time, I thought. Then, I heard some weird noises on the phone.

It’s done.

Let me guess; the match stick got finished and you didn’t burn your hand.
Um...You’re right but how did you know that?

Well, it was easy. I knew your feelings for him were contrived. There’s no point crying for such a person though you might feel guilty for what you have done. In the long run, that person will realise this too and on that day, he will be grateful to you. The point is that, these things are memorable but they are not unforgettable. At a point, you will get over it. Also, you can hear from the phone what's going on the other side and there was no girl burning.
Wow! That’s quite a nice way to realise your feelings. I have already started feeling better and I never thought all of this would be so fast. But how do I realise if I have met the person I love already?

That’s a tough one but still, let’s try. You have a candle in your room?
Yes, I do.

Great. Turn off the lights. Light the candle. Listen to the Titanic track “My Heart Will Go On” and keep your mind in peace. Only listen to your heart and try to see the person’s face you see in the glowing candle.
It’s a nice idea. But I have a better one. I have read some of your poems. Read any romantic one of yours because listening to something new would be better.

I was taken aback with the response as I wondered what else my sister has told her about me. That wasn’t fair. Here I am, clueless about her and she already knows my secrets. No chocolate boxes for sure. Still I maintained my composure.

Okay, let me pickup my diary but don’t you think listening a song would be better?
No. Please read!

Here it goes. My latest one and actually you will be the first person to hear this. Try to get into the situation and see the face of the guy.

He drove just watching.
Then they came to a green road between the trees.
They turned cautiously round,
And were advancing between the oaks of the forest,
Down a green lane.

The green lane widened into a little circle of grass,
Where there was a
Small trickle of water at the bottom of a sloping bank.
The car stopped.
'We will stay here,' he said,
And put out the lights.

He extinguished the lamps,
And it was pure night, with shadows of trees
Like realities of other, nightly beings.
He threw a rug on to
The ground and they sat in stillness and mindless silence.

There were faint sounds,
But no disturbance, no possible disturbance,
The world was under a strange ban,
A new mystery had supervened.
‘A magnificent gift you gave me’ she said, as they sat there silently.

Silence followed for a while after I dared to speak

Are you there?
Oh yes, I was totally lost in the poem. It was really nice and beautiful. Now, I feel relieved as there was no face I could see. But I desperately want to see someone in it.

A wise man once said “If you want to do it fast then do it slow”. These things cannot be controlled by us. It’s already written; the best we can do is to live every moment. And remember that it’s never too late to express yourself.
I guess you are right…

I don’t know much about you but I am dedicating this poem of mine to you. It will be with you forever. It’s yours.
Aw, that’s so sweet. Thank you very much, my dear. I actually don’t have words to thank you but thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I am obliged to give you a gift in return. Remember that song you were listening when I called you- “Abbhi na jao chhod kar”? I dedicate it to you. That is one of my favourite songs. I will always remember you when I will listen to it.

The pleasure is mine. And I might know the reason that you haven’t seen any face in the candle.
And what is the reason?

We haven’t yet met.

Another pause. It was she who broke the silence this time.

I knew this would be the toughest part. Actually, I don’t want to talk to you ever again or meet up with you. I know this is selfish of me but I really need to get over this bad phase in my life. I am grateful to you for what you have done for me and I will be grateful for my whole lifetime. But the truth is that I can’t face you. Consider this as a ‘doctor- patient’ relationship. I hope you understand. I will break this sim card after this call so that no further contact is possible between us.

But what if we are destined to meet?
Then we’ll meet as complete strangers and fall in love at first sight.

From what I have gathered of you in this half hour, I hope to get at least one phone call from this very number with good news; either for you or for both of us.
Let’s see. Good Bye till then. Take care. Thanks a lot once again for making this evening unforgettable.

Same here. Bye.

As I cut the phone, I couldn’t identify the emotion I was feeling. Should I be angry at her? Should I call myself foolish for not even asking her name or forcing her to talk more? As I listened to my heart’s decision, my mouth twisted itself into a smile and I went back listening to the song.

Why the hell are you smiling like that when you’re sitting alone?” my roommate asked when he came back. I replied “Destiny. Consider the option that the elephant and the bananas are in the same TV channel. Both are real but the elephant is not eating the bananas because there’s a TV running inside the TV”.

Have you gone crazy?” he asked furiously.


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