July 31, 2011 by Parthajeet
Jagdish picked up his cellphone from his table to call his driver Ravi. The phone was a three year old blackberry and still worked fine, although it looked pretty much in a state of disrepair, with the top layer of paint coming off at the corners. Although most people would change or upgrade their phones in a matter of months, Jagdish found it a rather cumbersome and useless process. Firstly he required a phone to check emails and make calls. Secondly he needed a phone which had a large enough memory to store all his contacts. Lastly he required the battery charge to last long enough. As his phone served all these purposes, Jagdish found it too cumbersome to figure out what features the newly launched models had and which was better than the other. He simply resigned to the fact that he will go and buy one of the latest models of blackberry the day his old one stopped working.
As Jagdish dialed Ravi’s number, he told himself to remain calm and composed during his upcoming conversation with Ravi. The phone rang and broke into an unmistakable Bhojpuri song caller tune. As expected, the phone went on ringing till the lady finished her song. Jagdish dialed again and had to dial three more times till the phone was picked up.
“Helloooo” A hardly audible voice drifted through.
Jagdish didn’t say anything. He waited for about fifteen seconds. These fifteen seconds seemed like eternity when waiting to say hello after the person at the other end of the line had already greeted you. But Jagdish knew this wait was necessary.
“Hello Ravi…where are you?” Jagdish finally asked.
“I am in front of Twinkle building.” Ravi replied.
“Where is Twinkle building?” Jagdish asked.
“Its next to Saturday Bazaar.” Ravi replied
“Who are you with?” Jagdish asked
“I am with Madam.” Ravi replied
Jagdish’s wife, Rekha, was being referred to as Madam by Ravi. Saturday Bazaar was the neighbourhood general store cum pharmacy where Rekha would go three to four times a week for buying regular stuff for the house. Saturday Bazaar had become part of the Trivedis’ lives and they could be depended upon to home deliver even orders placed over phone at midnight. They operated twenty four hours, on account of the pharmacy attached to it. Jagdish often wondered why they called themselves the Saturday Bazaar though.
Ravi had the habit of dozing off in the car at the slightest opportunity of inactivity. He would doze off at public parking lots, he would doze off outside hospitals, he could doze off when parked on a very noisy street, he could practically doze off anywhere. All he required was about five minutes of non driving time. This habit of Ravi irked Jagdish so much that when making the call to Ravi, he would have to often debate whether to shout at him or whether to play along with him. Either path would often jeopardize things further and hence today he somehow controlled his mind and refrained from directing the conversation into uncharted territory.
Like most days, when Jagdish called Ravi, he was dozing off and did not hear the birds chirping on his phone. He had changed the ring tone on his phone yesterday from a man laughing like a maniac to birds chirping after Rekha had berated him. As he changed his ring tone every so often, it probably could not register in the inner circles of his brain, especially when he was dozing away, as a ringtone. The brain probably processed it as street noise and dismissed the need to open the eyes and senses. After four rings when the birds chirping did not stop, the brain probably processed it as birds chirping at dawn and asked the other organs in the body to wake up to a new day. Now, when you sleep in a new bed every day, you often have difficulty when you wake up, to instantly recollect where you are. This is what happened to Ravi three to four times a day. So if Jagdish asked him immediately upon answering the phone, “Where are you?”, Ravi would not be in a position to give an accurate answer. So he usually waited for about fifteen seconds to allow Ravi to come to his senses and figure out where in the world he was. More often than not, that gap allowed Ravi to respond with conviction.
Today’s answer momentarily flummoxed Jagdish though. Twinkle building? “Where the hell is that?”, he was thinking before Ravi said it was next to Saturday Bazaar. Today Ravi would have woken up to the birds call and firstly realized that it was way past dawn and the sun was blazing down. The birds disappeared and as he looked up to the sky through the car’s winshield he saw a multistoreyed residential apartment block with the letters “T-W-I-N-K-L-E” inscribed on it. Unfortunately, before he could look down from the letters to figure out where was TWINKLE, Jagdish had already asked “Where are you?” So his immediate answer was “I am in front of Twinkle building.”
Jagdish almost cursed himself for getting the timing wrong. It was all about timing. In his hurry, he probably was too quick with the question today. This was something he was trying to perfect for over a year now and had almost cracked it. There were these occasional days when he got it wrong though.
“Its all about timing” he said to himself.