Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A number of wrong numbers

Some old things are bad to lose.. old friend, old mobile number, old watch that stirs up distant memories, old books that were gifts from someone dear (ahh, well..books are always bad to lose, old or new)..

Here is one example. I never known any Shrijit. Now I know Shrijit like I know any of my good friends, and its all because of my new mobile number.

I shall not go into those nitpicking details of how I managed to lose my old number, only the important factoids would suffice. Long story short: I had to do what I had to do due to some silly reasons for which I am absolutely not responsible (usually I am responsible for all the bad things that happen to me, but not this time). That was the easy part apart from the emotional turmoil that you have to go through when you gotta give up a number which you have been using for seven long years and shared with countless people. I changed my number, sulked over it for a while, recovered and got a new number. Getting something new instead of repairing is becoming easier and easier these days.

And along came the bad part. Within ten minutes from when I inserted the new sim into my cell-phone for the first time, my phone beeped.
Me: Hello..!
Who the hell: Shrijit..?
Me (confused.. or as per LH, befuddled): Hello..?
Who the hell: Hello, Shrijit..?
Me: Wrong number.

And again after only a couple of minutes..
Me: Hello...!
Sounds like the same *#*%&: Yes, Shrijit.. ?
Me (irritated): Wrong Number.
Yes, it's definitely the same *#*%&: Come on dude, stop pissing me off. I really need to talk to you..
Me (patience..patience): Please check the number, will you? This number does not belong to Shrijit..
That *#*%&: Shut up! You made me ring whatever his name was to check your number, you idiot. Now listen, tomorrow..
Me: WRONG NUMBER.

Apparently, the phone companies recycle prepaid numbers once they are abandoned by their owners. My new number must have been in possession of some guy named Shrijit - my storekeeper proudly informed me. Is there a way of knowing beforehand whether a number is completely new, or has already been used and chucked away by someone? Well, my storekeeper looked away absent-mindedly, entertaining other customers.

Clearly, giving a heads up to one of Shrijit's friends wasn't enough. It turned out that Shrijit indeed was a very important member of his friend circles (if there were Google+ at that time, I would have written G-plussian circles). Within the next couple of days, I received calls from numerous friends of his (I don't remember the names. Sorry Shrijit, whoever you are, for not being able to tell you whom amongst your apparently uncountably infinite friends had been enlightened by me and who are remaining for you to surprise them), his aunt who calls him, if I have heard correctly, Shunu (come on dude, you should have told her. She seemed a perfectly loving aunt to me), his non-Bengali partner who can barely speak anything other than distorted I don't know what, and the receptionist from a pathological center asking to collect his blood reports. Shrijit must have been really committed to his number; all of them were, again thanking LH's achievement to find the word, befuddled and almost disbelieved my claim of having this number in my possession. I don't blame them. I do sound unconvincing most of the time.. I am aware of that.

The number of wrong numbers dropped gradually over the next few months. I thought that I had hit some real influential node in Shrijit's friend network; the news must have propagated and reached full penetration. I almost forgot about this little incident until very early of this morning when my cell-phone woke me up..
Me (sleepily): zzzzzz...Hello.!
Don't have a damn idea who: Hi Shrijit...
Me (a little less sleepy): huh..wha..?
Must be someone from Shrijit's circles: Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Shrijit..Happy birthday to you..

I need a new number..