Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Callback - A surreal experience...

Every once in a while, you get a phone call that tests the limits of Reality as you know it. I had one such experience sunday night.

As is usual with me, my phone was in silent mode and lying somewhere under the heaps of stuff on my bed. And again, as is usual, I go to check up onmy mobile as to whether there were any calls during the time I was away from it. And yes, there was. There had been a call from an unknown number. So, being the nice guy that I am, I called back and the conversation went something like this...


Woman at the other end: "Hello"

Me: "Hello, I received a missed call from this number. May I know who I am speaking to?"

Woman passes the phone to someone, murmuring: ".....koi missed call..."

Man at the other end: "Hello, who are you?"

Me: *repeating my last line*

"What are you talking about a missed call? What number do you want?"

Now I did not memorise the number that I got the call from simpy because I did not expect a pop quiz on memory and recall.

"I am not sure. I got a call from the number of the phone you are holding and I am just calling back."

"What calling back? you dont even know what number you are calling!!"

I reiterate my argument again hoping that the person would understand why I dont know the number I am calling.

"First you tell me who you are and why are you calling this number?"

WTF? Now I am beginning to wonder whether there is something wrong with this old man (by this time, I have formulated a theory that the person on other end is an old muslim chacha complete with a topi and paan stained teeth).

I try again to make him understand that I am just making a courtesy call wondering why I received a call from his number.

"Tell me what number you dialled!!"

I know this serves no purpose but I check my phone and I say, "98XXXX2344?"

"What are teling me my number for? Phone rak" *CLICK*

Me: staring at the mobile and wondering whether I had just been outwitted by an old man!

I wonder what that was all about. I am guessing that the old man is paranoid of strange men calling up his daughter. That seems to be the most likely explanation but what I do not understand is why I got a call from them. Perhaps, they dialled the wrong number? Maybe, maybe.

But it is still a mystery to me as to why the old man was playing mind games with me.

You won this round. I will be better prepared next time!

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Anonymous said...

"by this time, I have formulated a theory that the person on other end is an old muslim chacha complete with a topi and paan stained teeth"

errr... why?
For someone who writes so much about racial stereotyping, isn't this statement a bit off?

Not that your stance is wrong, but implicit racial stereotyping will always occur at some level. If in India they had dark skinned people in the chewing gum ad (I think better contrast is a more plausible reason), then they take it to the other extreme in the US. Where every ad for a university will contain people of every race. Uniformly distributed.

Of course the remarks of rimi sen and dean jones are way out of line.

MadHat said...

@anon: I agree that it was stereotyping but that was the image that formed in my mind.

but implicit racial stereotyping will always occur at some level

True. The point is that of awareness, ie, whether you are aware that your images and perceptions are based on stereotypes.

In this case, I did indeed create a stereotypical image based on his urdu-mixed hindi and the stubborn attitude.

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