Monday, August 21, 2006

A damp squib

Well, what else do you call an afternoon, where three old friends sit in a room and cannot find a topic for discussion apart from that one? Those strange long silences, those blank stares, those tired jokes and the forced laughter meant only one thing. The thing we all knew about but somehow were afraid to say out loud. We have nothing more to say to each other.

Maybe we know each other so well that we think any conversation is only superfluous. Or maybe our individual worlds have moved on. And moved somewhat away from each other. Find that last one hard to believe, because it was only three months back when we had that wonderful conversation on "The North-South divide in Bombay colleges" or "How Andheri / Malad boys survived three traumatic years in South Bombay colleges?". He he he, all that crap at 3 in the night with shitloads of beer sloshing around in our bodies. And at Wong's of all places. Yes, the place where you rub shoulders with assorted hookers, their pimps, customers, underworld thugs and maybe some alcoholic TV stars who are past their expiry date.

That's why its even more surprising .... the fact that we sat for close to five hours and searched each others faces for that spark in the discussion to arrive .... and it came in the form of an sms (All hail the new economy). An sms which simply says this, ........ "For meeting broadminded male / females in your area, Call Tanya now @ 982.....".

We have traveled on that conversation route before. Actually, one of us talks only about this all the time. How his entire life is ruined and how his mind resembles the script of "A Clockwork Orange" and how he cannot sleep at night without getting smashed. And all that because of two (mostly) harmless words, variety and frequency. Those gentle souls who were with me till this moment (don't you bums have any other work?) and have suddenly lost me over that last sentence .... for their benefit ... what it means is that, he is not getting enough of it and he is not getting it from enough people. That he is getting any at all is a constant source of wonder for some of his friends, but what can one say in front of that kind of conviction? The quantity and quality related trauma has obviously left him in a very bad state, where his every living thought is full of wanton women and soft beds.

The other person involved in the discussion is a weirder case, if that's possible. In his case pleasure is always laced with guilt and guilt laced with excitement. He has been drinking this strange cocktail for some time now. And its really not his fault that he attracts women who are looking for the complete opposite from the relationship. A dependable shoulder to cry upon, to begin with. So no wonder he gets himself caught into these intricate webs of false impressions, unsaid promises and unknown commitments.

With that crowd its only obvious that the said sms from the said Tanya monopolised conversation immediately. And with a sense of palpable relief too. Quite a change from staring at silent faces and hoping for conversation. And then the dam broke .....

It started with how the Tanyas of the world know who their target audience is. How did this sms reached unerringly to the person who is most likely to get swayed by the charm of meeting broadminded people in his locality? A likely hypothesis presented itself ... these are actually the people dragged under the poverty line by the insensitive edict from a sanctimonious Maharashtra Government ... the out of work bar dancers !!!! How do they get the mobile numbers? Well, they (used to) get a lot of numbers every night .... numbers written hurriedly on pieces of tissue papers .... numbers passed on through those ever helpful waiters ... numbers written on 100 buck notes (don't ask !). And quite a few remember the return calls also, "Hi, Main Raani, Itna Jaldi Bhul Gaye Mujhko, Kaal To Bahut Naach Rahe The" etc etc. So its quite possible that, the strong database is being used methodically to pick-up (pun not intended) area specific targets.

To put our hypothesis to test, the said Tanya was called back. She seemed to be thrilled to meet a juicy prospect like "Raju" and promised to come back with detailed itenary and plan of action by the next day. An entrepreneurial spirit which begs to be lauded, we thought.

It was quickly surmised, that the distribution channels span classified ads in Mid-Day and Mumbai Mirror. "Massage in your house" and "English speaking escort services" are also in the same game, maybe with the same cast of characters. Special mention was made of Gujarati "broadminded" communities with such Ekta Kapoor friendly names as Animesh and Neha. It was debated whether this was a Navratri related phenomena and decided that now the party goes on whole year (so no seasonal sales of condoms, for all those who are tracking that industry).

The quality-quantity junkie took the opportunity to crib about the online channels of the great game. Too much effort and too little to show for it, he claimed. And proved his point by recounting endless stories of perfectly witty and decent messages receiving nothing but stony silences. One wondered whether his persona had anything do with it. But one cannot help but sympathise with friends, can they?

The final nail in the coffin was that call from the HDFC Bank telecaller, "Sir, we are giving you a credit card absolutely free and a demand draft also, may I please have your address?". With the mechanically consumed rum and whiskey finally taking effect, we managed to reach an "Eureka" moment. The best thing to nip this telecalling nuisance in the bud is to ..... hit upon the chicks !!! You can try such lines for effect, "Kya Aap Credit Card Ke Saath Apna Dil Bhi Deti Hai?" or "Main To Aapka Demand Draft Le Lega, Badle Me Aapko Bhi Kuchh Lena Chahiye" etc. etc. But only fuck-up with this wonderful scheme is when you might find out that those nice telecallers are actually .... you guessed it .... the out of work bar dancers !!!!!

With that came the realisation that we have somehow reached the collective lows in our lives in terms of intellectual capacity. Good that the booze was still not over, it would have been really hard to take it otherwise.

13 comments:

Dipta Chaudhuri said...

"Kya aap credit card ke saath apna dil bhi deti hai?"
Can qualify for Worst Pick-up Lines to a Telecaller!

And yes, we ran out of things to say a long time back. Now, all we need is an agreeable silence and NO business networking during our booze sessions... Be thankful!

udayan said...

@Dipta

Thus spoke LOS : The day I need Dipto's opinion on pick-up lines, I would shoot myself.

Anonymous said...

Kintu you must admit, Udayan-moonlighting-as-LOS, that that WAS a definite chawr-mara type pick-up line.

Also, I don't understand. What if the telecallers are out-of-work bar dancers? Non-dancer telecallers would hang up on YOU, so you hang up on THEM. Simple?

-Rimi

udayan said...

@Rimi,

You have a lot to learn about the parallel economy.

Anonymous said...

"Kya aap credit card ke saath apna dil bhi deti hai?"...

...is actually one of the best pickup lines that can ever be used... you can expect a high conversion rate... even more so than direct marketing...

Remember, audacity wins half the battle...

P

Anonymous said...

I agree "Kya aap credit card ke saath apna dil bhi deti hai?"...is a pretty good line

If nothing more atleast the girl will have a smile on her face. My salutes to the guy who coined it in his state of intoxication

Sandy

udayan said...

@P

I hope audacity is winning a lot of battles for you ... also hope that you don't end up losing the war.

@Sandy

We both know who came up with that line so don't try to take undue credit. And please thank me for all this free publicity. I am sure you are now getting more calls from Tanya etc.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Now I feel rejected by this network too. Gah!

J.A.P.

Dilnavaz said...

This is fascinating...maybe Udayan and Dipta can do a separate repartee blog for our amusement..you guys are so good at it! :-)

udayan said...

@J.A.P.
Don't worry, they will find you soon. Maybe things would take a little longer in Cal :)

@Dilnavaz
It comes from long practice. We would have started a business venture but someone stole that idea.

Dipta Chaudhuri said...

Does Re-party mean Party Again? Yes, we do have a lot of practice in that!

Deadman Talking said...

only difference will be that when Tanya calls the second time she will be the one asking... "pehchaan kaun?"

udayan said...

@ Dipta

On that note I (re) part my ways with you.

@ Deadman Talking

Tanya has changed her name to Priyanka. Let me know in case you want the number. Think we can always arrange a bulk discount. Unless she has something against necrophilia.