Monday, 1 February 2016

Cellphone In The Shrubbery!

The ringing sound seemed to be originating from somewhere behind the shrubbery in my home garden.

As I checked up, I found a small cellphone. It’s ringer volume was set to maximum to make it audible from far away.

I took the call. I heard a clear and nice female voice from the other side- “Hi, how are you?”

Taken aback, yet bound by the need to reciprocate the courtesy, I replied, “I am good. Howdy?”

“Happy. Very happy, because I am talking to you now,” she said with joy in her voice.

I didn’t understand. I just said, “Okay, same here. Please tell me whom you want to talk to?”

“Actually anyone. I want to talk to anyone who is willing to talk to me. And today it’s you. But only if you are willing,” she said politely.

I was not getting this at all. So I said, “Excuse me?”

“Let me explain,” she said. “Actually, I am girl who work and stay in this town.”

“And I have no one to talk to,” she continued. “So I just toss this cellphone into random people’s houses and then call up the number to talk to them. I had tossed this phone in your garden yesterday evening. And see, we are talking now.”

I was getting suspicious. I had been living here for more than 10 years and knew that girls in this moderately conservative town would not call-up strangers for a talk. 

Sensing my apprehension, she quickly proceeded to explain- “Actually there is no one whom I can talk to without him or her making a judgment about me. See, when you are talking to someone who knows you, he or she is bound to prejudiced. You just can’t have an unbiased, neutral conversation with someone who knows your background, your educational qualification, your financial and social status, how good looking are you, whether you are young or old and things like that”.

“And that’s why I prefer to converse with people who know nothing about me, and I know nothing about them-like you……”

I didn’t know what to say.

“I will neither ask for your name and nor I will reveal mine,” she assured me.

“I have my colleagues in office but I can not imagine opening up to them as anything and everything I say will be used against me in the game of office politics” she went on.

“Then there are those male colleagues of mine, who start the flirting game at very first conversation I make with them,” her voice was contemptuous.

“And my neighbours? They suck! The ladies there don’t have anything to ask me other than why I am staying alone in this town, why haven’t I got married till date, if I have any boyfriend and why my parents don’t visit me? Jesus!”

“There is nothing better than conversing with total strangers. They don’t judge you, don't try to flirt with you because they know nothing about your age or looks.  I can open up and share my secretes with them without any fear as my identity remains under wraps.”

“I talk to people and then request them to place the phone in some other person’s house or car or bike or shopping cart. Then again I call up and talk to the next person.” she seemed mischievously happy while revealing her modus operandi.

There was something honest in her voice that made me believe her. We soon started conversing. She told me how she loved to go hiking in the outskirts, which eating places she loved to visit, why she hated to have boyfriends, who is her enemy-number-one in office and how she is planning to rout him.  She told me why she hates Facebook and Twitter and prefers to converse live with people the way she was doing with me. She went on and on and on. Sometimes she paused to ask me a few questions like if I maintained my garden by myself and if I thought Idlis made better morning-breakfast than cornflakes. Or if I ever had a pet. She complimented me on the beautiful lawn I  maintained in front of my house.

I asked her why she didn’t call up random numbers, instead of throwing a cellphone in people’s house? She told me that she didn’t want people to have her number displayed on their phones. And then I noticed that the cellphone in my hand had its caller id feature turned-off.

It felt like we had hit it off well as we continued to talk for about half an hour. Then perhaps it was time for her to hang up because she said, “Will you please do me a favour? While you return from work today evening, will you please put this phone somewhere- through an open window in someone's house or car? Or in some flowerpot somewhere? Or may be in someone’s backyard?” I need to talk to someone in the evening……”

I assured her that I would. And I knew I won't fail my promise.

Bidding me goodbye she said, “Have a good life”. Then she went on to explain “I will never talk or meet you again in my life. So instead of just a ‘good day’, I am wishing  you a “good life”.

I smiled and said, “Have a good life, you too!”

When I started writing another story on this prompt, it went paradoxical and berserk.

This post is written on following prompt in Indiblogger
(Thank you  Archana Kapoor for such an imaginative prompt)