Wrong Number

By Kanchan Bhattacharya

 

14326_wpm_lowresRing, Ring!

Ring, ring!

The cell rang for the umpteenth time last night!

For the umpteenth time we talked, alas at cross purpose, being very cross with each other!

“Hullooo kon bolechhu”

“Nahi samajhta tumhara bhasha aunty”

“Aap kaun bolta hai”

“Aunty aapko kissay baat karnahai?”

Khataack! The caller disconnected!

 

Ring, ring!

The cell rang for the umpteenth plus once again!

 

For the umpteenth time plus once, we spoke, at a very cross purpose!

“Hullooo kon bolechhu”

“Nahi samajhta tumhara bhasha aunty”

“Aap kaun bolta hai”

“Aunty aapko kissaybaatkarnahai?”

“Itneybaar phone kiya number sahi nahi milta”

“Aunty number apne aap badlega nahina, aap ab sab so gayana!”

“Hulloo, konbolechu?”

 

Ring, ring!

I switched off the cell phone!

 

This morning

Ring, ring! The landline number!

 

My daughter, busy feeding her little baby, picked up the phone, rather absentmindedly!

“Sahab hain?” A serious sounding guy on the line- No names asked. I was upstairs. She yelled hard! The baby, startled, started wailing loud.

 

“Sir I am Vinod Sharma”

“Hello Mr. Sharma, what can I do?”

“Sir, what about my flat- when would you give possession?”

I started laughing, I presume, ominously!

“Sorry Mr. Shammer, I have no flats for you- you have come in too late for the sale”

“Sir, you must be joking”

“No, Mr. Vee, I am serious!”

“But you see “

“There is nothing to see in this phone”

“Sir, I am not talking of the phone sir “

“Then?”

“Sir I am talking of the deal!”

“Deal? Mr. Sharma, we never struck a deal at all!”

“Sir, now Sir, please do not make me angry “

“Mr Shammington “

“No I am not Mr. Shammington, I am Sharma, Vinod Sharma”

“Oye Sharma, since when have you become Mr. Sharma to me?”

“Sir where are you now?”

“I am at home “

“Sir this is urgent, I have to visit you”

“Mr. Shampoo, I can’t let you come to my home. I am busy- and I have a class in twenty minutes time.”

“Sir, since when have you started taking classes?

“As long as I can remember, since 2001, after I left the Army”

“But sir, what about our deal?”

“Mr. Somebody, what deal I do not remember any deal!”

“Sir, please sir, I am getting nervous sir!”

“And I am getting irritated! I do not have any deal with any Mr. Bandit Summer”

“Sir, it is Vinod Sharma”

“Ah Mr. BindoShama, I do not have a deal with you at all!”

“Sir I have to meet you at your office!”

“Mr. Bandicoot Slumber, I do not have an office”

“Sir, we made the deal in your office remember? I am wetting my pant sir, don’t steal my money please- please hand over the flat to me”

“Listen, I last went to office in 2000. I sold my flat three years back- I do not have a flat to sell, Mr. Verma”

“Sir Sharma”

“What is Sirsharma?”

“Sir, uh Sharma, Sharma Sir!”

“Yes Mr Surma Sharma, what do you want from me?”

“Sir, the keys to the flat!”

“But Mr. Suraiya, I do not have the keys to the flat- I handed over the keys three days after the registration of sale “

“Sir, you mean to say you have sold the flat twice?”

“Mr. Jughead, I am telling you for the last time, I have sold the flat ONCE, hey what was the name? Ah Mr. Rajan Billimoria, in August 2006!

“Sir I have the registered deal too, with you Mr. Lalwani”

“Lalwani!Lalwani! Who is Lalwani?”

“Sir I am speaking to you Sir!”

“But I am not Lalwani”

“You are not Mr. Lalwani the builder?”

“No Mr. Surana, I am not Lalwani the builder, not Lalwani the Advani, nor Mehtani, nor Ratanchandani”

“Sir, WHAT IS YOUR NAME?”

“Wrong number!”

 

Wrong Number? I wondered what kind of a name is Wrong Number!

 

Ring, ring!

“Yes?”

“This is Lalwani speaking, can I have the contract, Mr. Mehta?”

“Ah, contract with Mr. Vinod Sur er Sharma?”

“Yes, quick “

“Sir but I am in Jabalpur Sadar Cantt now!”

“And where do you think I am”

“I think you are sitting with Mr. Bhatti Sir!”

“Mr. Bhatti?”

“Yes Sir he had come with the other Income Tax guys he has taken away the files-“

“Where to?”

“To the Income Tax Office”

“And what are you doing now?”

“Sir, I am behind the lock up sir!”

“Hey Ram!!! Wait- wait let me get it straight what are you doing now?”

“I am writing the FIR against Mr. Wrong Number, at the Sadar Police Station.”

“Hey Ram I am ruined ” I could hear him speak in the background… “Mr. Sharma, your file is in the police station!”

 

Ring, ring!

My daughter was laughing so much that her baby woke up with a start

“Baba, stop doing this to people!”

 

“Wrong Number!”

I kept the phone down!

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