Sunday 15 September 2013

Naively yours, SAM!

They say that artists are usually sensitive… To a certain extent, I agree. But my friend SAM, in particular, loves being naïveté personified. Believe me, he does this purposely. I was always sure that he loses more than he gains, each time he wears this garb. And one such revelation from the horse’s mouth just proved it.

He called me up one evening and anxiously told me how his mobile phone bill had shot up to a whopping 4,000 INR. I know very few people whose cellphone bills cross three-figured numbers. Obviously surprised, I asked him what had gone wrong. He explained that he had been watching movies and surfing the net through his phone. Uhuh! And this he did habitually each day during his train journey back home to prove to today’s yo-generation co-passengers that his ‘coolness’ quotient hadn’t died down yet. Brilliant!

The story went like this: A few months ago, the mobile company representative called SAM and informed him about their latest offer – 3G could be activated on his phone free of cost. Completely FREE! Now, we all know what this four-lettered word does to most consumers and clients. Moreover, SAM wanted to be hep and happening like those promoting 3G – this included Junior Bachchan and the all-white ‘egg-headed’ beings that zoozoo-med through mobile activities in a latest 3G ad. Naturally, our man flipped—his enthusiasm levels rose by 100 times. Or should I say, 4,000 times!

The tragedy was that this offer was not to last a lifetime. What the cellphone company did not inform SAM about was that he will soon have to pay up for the by-now ex-free service. And one fine morning, as SAM set eyes on his bill, it was 4 to 6 times the usual. Ouch! Just when I thought that was all there was, he went on to narrate further…and this was the actual story…

“I was such a happy man some years ago!” he exclaimed. Not knowing where exactly this ‘poor-me’ conversation was going, I decided to be supportive. He continued, “Some years ago, this girl came to office from this cellphone company… She was such a sweet girl!” Feeling lost by this tangential adulatory statement, I probed further. So, SAM had a pre-paid billing system years ago, when this incident occurred. The “sweet girl” informed him of new postpaid billing schemes and requested him to switch to postpaid billing. He gave in to her ‘sweet’ request almost instantly. Since then, his bills started showing a higher three-figure amount, which, of course, recently got promoted to a four-figure number, all thanks to 3G. With that, he ended the story of how his bill inflated over the years.

But something didn’t quite add up. Knowing that he was hiding something, I asked, “Why did you listen to that girl? Just because…she was sweet?” “Aah, that!” he said, “Those days, I had slightly long, curly hair.” Great! First, a free offer… then, a “sweet girl”… and now, “curly hair”…! Couldn’t have been more bizarre! Confused, I listened to him quietly… “She looked at me and smiled... I’m telling you, she was such a sweet girl!... Then, she said, ‘You look exactly like Sachin Tendulkar!’… That was it!”


For a second, and only for a second, I was stunned by the height of his self-forced naïveté. And then I couldn’t stop laughing. I don’t really know about him resembling Sachin Tendulkar, but by telling SAM the two looked alike to get him to sign up for a new billing system, the “sweet girl” was the one who had emerged as the Master Blaster. A fine stroke, she’d hit a straight six!

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