Last evening, my friend called up to discuss her project. In our home, for good reception on the mobile, I have to rush out to the balcony, look at a specific dead tree ( while ignoring the other three) and begin talking. It can be a trifle disconcerting for the caller, hearing me yell Hi, listening to me pelting through the rooms, the squeaky balcony door slamming behind me and then, my breathless voice comes on strong and solid.
To get back to that phone call, this is how it went…
Friend, “ Hey, I was trying to call you on the land-line number yesterday, but I got connected to some other woman, who had heard about you.”
Me, “ My land-line number? but I have surrendered that number about three years ago”
Friend, “ That is why I figured out that it wasn’t you on the line. I asked that lady if Mala is there, and she said, which Mala?…and I said, The knitting Mala….and she said, Oh yes, the commanding officer of the hospital was talking about her, and I so want to meet her.”
Me, “ The commanding officer was my junior in medical school.”
Friend, “Mala , this lady wanted to meet you and I have given her your number. She will call you and fix up a date.”
Me, “ OK..which number did you give her?”
Silence…Friend, “ I gave her the land-line number”
Me, “ But I have surrendered that number ! When you called me and she came on the line….”
Friend, “ oops, its her number now. So she wrote down her own number as your’s?! Doesn’t she know its her number?”
This morning, I was driving another friend to the taxi-stand. My mobile rings—I park the car on the side ( ahem)—and I see its my old land-line number.
Ah ha…its that lady! We joke about the phone number fiasco, and we decide to meet up soon. I kept calling her Poonam, and after six attempts to correct me, she stops the conversation and firmly informs me that her name was NOT Poonam, but Nupur. Oops, I repeat it five times, much to the amusement of my friend listening to this convoluted conversation, and we continue with the drive.
I come home, and the name had slipped out completely. What was her name? Poonam, Poornima, Kumud, Kusum?! I knew I would call her something strange when she would come visiting.
Last attempt…I call up my friend who was in the car with me, and who was now in the train to Delhi. Thank God for friends with good recall! She remembered Nupur, I put the name into my mobile and breathed again.
End of goofy conversations.