Trolls say “A call from an unknown number is always exciting and shouldn’t be missed”.
Just when I was about to drop my phone into the deep tunnels of my kurta, it started vibrating. A call from a known number would have gone unanswered as I was in hurry, but the fact that it was a call from an unknown number set the decision making lobe of my brain into action. It had a strategic decision to make between racing against time and the excitement of answering a call from an unknown number. A series of situations were explored in the head in those few seconds as the thumb was oscillating between the red and the green buttons.
“What if it is an issue of national importance?”
“Did I suddenly become famous on twitter?”
Before my RAM batch processed the questions, fate took over as it was in a hurry to screw many other lives.
“Hello”, I paused.
“Rey Mama. Where are you?” said a familiar voice.
“Who’s this?” I asked, realizing that the call is of no use and I’m no hero.
“It’s me man. Listen, I need Rs.15,000 urgently. Can you arrange for it?”
Usually people would care to exchange some pleasantries if they were calling a person after a gap of 6 years. But this guy didn't.
“Dude, you are calling the wrong person. Don’t you know that I’m unemployed?”
“It’s urgent man. Dad’s on a ventilator and it is a critical situation. I could only think of you to call. Please do something”, he said in desperation.
That was a situation from which you wouldn’t know how to escape. And being the nice guy that I was, I didn't even think of an escape.
“I’ll have to think man. 15,000 is way out of my league. Also I’m out of town. Give me some time and I will get back to you."
Usually I would have got on with my joblessness by completely forgetting the call. But the fact that someone’s father was in such a tender situation and that I could arrange for some help kept buzzing in my head. After some quick thinking I called up another friend and asked him to advance Rs.5,000 on my behalf as that was all I could afford from my savings.
Satisfied with my help; I patted myself and got busy. Just after three-quarters of an hour I got bombarded with series of messages and calls from the guy, who apparently couldn't derive help from other corners.
I was unable to convince him that there was nothing I could do to arrange the remaining amount. Just when I was about to give up, I called up another friend and explained the whole scenario to him, expecting him to either pitch in some money or arrange for some help. He remained silent after listening to everything I said.
“So what do you think you can do?” I asked him, with a sense of victory which a sales guy has after selling the Dictionary.
“Can I have his number first? Looks like I have his old contact number”
“Sure. And how are you going to arrange the money? Mind you, there is no compulsion. Just do what you can”.
“Well, I’m not giving him anything. I have to demand my money from him. He’s been evading me for a while”
“You want to ask him now?”
“Even you wouldn’t mind if you knew what happened”
“Please surprise me”
“Well, I gave him money after he told me that his father died.”
I stood frozen as his words pierced my head. It was my official entry into the cruel and unethical world with a slap across my face by reality.
After hanging up and realizing that my savings account was back to its original tally, I got a SMS from another friend to whom I have earlier passed on the message. It read:
He contacted you for money? Tread carefully man. Few weeks back when I wasn't home, he came and told my mum that he hurt his kidney in an accident. I only hope that this one is genuine.