How rude was this Rahul guy? How was he to know that this particular phone call to him had been the last in the line of many?
Apparently, the dude had been inundated the whole day with, “Hello, main Vodafone ki taraf se baat kar rahi hoon, is that Rahulji?”
“A very good morning to you sir, I am calling from Care India.”
“Uh… Mr daChuna… I’m dialling you on behalf of World Wildlife…. Oh, sorry if I misprounced your surname.”
“… Mr Rahul… I would offer you 10 per cent loan from ICICI Bank.”
And so when he called, with his customary jolliness, “Kaise hai aap… hello sir, I’m Shailesh, Citibank se... do you require an add-on card?,” the guy had really snapped.
“How did you get my number? I put a ‘Do Not Disturb’ request with my mobile company. How do you people unerringly call at the worst possible time on a working day? Why don’t you SMS me before you call? By the way, who trains you? Why would I buy anything from you when even the guys from the ‘real deal’ can’t convince me?”
Illustration / Amit Bandre
This daChuna chap wasn’t an exception, these were questions flung at him every day. This person had give him a real earful. Most people hung up the moment he said ‘hello’ — the cellular version of having a door slammed in a salesman’s face.
As he boarded the last train for Vashi, he took off his imaginary bullet-proof vest, the one he put on every morning to protect himself from people’s rudeness and barbs. Today, had been a particularly tough day. Disconnected calls, the caustic remarks and the cuss words had hit an all-time high.
There were Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Shudras and finally call-centre employees. He represented the bottom of the food chain, the last rung of the caste system.
He’d always wanted to start his cold calls with, “Please, please sir, don’t bang the phone down on me… actually just don’t be rude… don’t take your khunnas out on me. Okay, so I appreciate you don’t want land in Lonavla, or need a loan for a car, or a leased flat in Dombivli, but can you at least be polite about it? I can barely understand what I mouth myself. Plus, I wish I could find some entertaining way to get your attention — open with a Navjot Sidhu shayari. Or do a Johnny Lever stand-up routine… or tell you a Kapil Sharma one-liner, or hit you with a knock-knock joke. Point is — don’t be angry and aggravated. I’m just your regular annoying, anonymous phone voice trying to do his job. I got your name off a Justdial list. Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger.”
Sometimes he wanted to snap back, insult the guy, tell him off.
And there was always his favourite opening line, the one he’d played in his head a 100 times.
“Hello, I’m calling from the office of Dawood Ibrahim. Is that Rahulji? Bhai has a proposal...”
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62 @gmail.com
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.