Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A taste of his own medicine

Mannan was totally besotted with the extraordinary instrument called the telephone that had arrived, bright and black, in neighbour Achari Mama’s household. Instead of posting letters and replying to replies, one could just pick up the phone and talk to the desired person! “Whatte invention!” If only he could speak to some girl on the telephone and impress her.

Speaking of girls, Geetharani had also got a new phone in her house. He had spied her giving her phone number to all and sundry. How Geetharani flaunted her newfound “telephone-ness”. For no reason she swirled her hand in circles in the air, as if she was dialling someone. When someone asked her if the next period was going to be Geography, she replied, “Sorry, wrong number.” She even wrote in the “My ambition is to…” essay that she dreamed of becoming a telephone operator. Her telephone obsession had percolated to that extent.

If only Mannan had a telephone he would also flick the phone off its receiver stylishly like Rajinikanth and speak into it in English like Kamal Haasan.

“Phone calls are expensive and cost 50p per call,” dissuaded grandmother Sitamma.

“But I want to know what it feels like to talk through a machine. Please-please-please,” begged Mannan to no avail.

“You can call Police, Fire and Ambulance for free,” suggested Jana kindly.

“But I wish to call Geetharani,” persisted Mannan.

“To say ‘I love you’ to her?” asked Jana mischievously.

“Thoo! I want to say something like ‘Your hair is on fire, want me to call the fire engine?’ Or ‘Please take a bath, you stink through the telephone’…,” Mannan smirked.

“Hahahahhahahhahahaha!” laughed Jana.

“Idea! I can receive a call, can’t I? That won’t cost anything, no?” exclaimed Mannan.

Brother and sister immediately put their heads together and wrote an anonymous note to Geetharani with their left hand (one sentence each to cover up the crime). The note read, “I have a famous job for your sweet telephone voice. Call 321342 at 3 pm.” Mannan left the note inside her lunch bag and waited with Jana by the neighbour’s phone at 3 pm (that was Achari Mama’s sleeping time).

Sure enough the telephone rang.

“Hello?” Mannan answered in a gruff voice.

“Please take a bath, you stink through the telephone,” said the voice from the other side. “Eh?” Mannan started.

“Your hair is on fire, shall I call the fire engine?” the voice continued and Mannan nearly collapsed. “It is Geetharani, but she is using all MY dialogues,” blubbered Mannan.

“I only told her,” confessed Jana.

“But why?” screamed Mannan putting down

the phone.

“WHY? You know why? We both cleverly wrote the note to her with our left hand. Do you know we also signed it? Geetharani threatened to complain to the Principal if I didn’t spill our plan,” Jana cried when the phone rang again.

Mannan answered again, first with a frown, then with a smile, then laughter.

Conversation ended.

“It was Geetharani. She wants to be my friend. She liked our prank,” smiled Mannan who had after all impressed a girl via the telephone.


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