Friday, August 01, 2008

Of Ring Tones and Reversing Tones!

The cellphone of a Surdie sitting opposite me starts playing. I give a start. Then I smile, almost laugh.

“You can tell by the way I use my walk
I am a woman’s man, no time to talk,
Music loud and woman warm
I have been kicked around since I was born…”

The Surdie doesn’t look like he is a woman’s man with no time to talk. He is corpulent, has a belly the size of two jackfruits, and as he gets up drops his newspaper and a polyethylene bag that contains something half eaten. Hehe.

Hardly the type some woman would want to talk to, you know, that sort of talk that would give a man (of he Bee Gees variety) no time to talk. Hmmmm.

But then a neighbour’s car plays “Happy Birthday” when he starts it every morning and I wonder whose birthday it is. The car’s or the man’s. An elevator in a building I used to work in played “Jingle Bells” all days of the year, making me count the days to Christmas from Jan 1. Maybe that’s some people’s idea of fun.

But what about a decisively Hindu looking man’s car playing, “When the Lord was there in this world of ours / Parents brought their children to see Jesus,” that’s odd isn’t it. Definitely.

Anthonybhai, for once, agrees with my point of view. “Kya men, music is organting from the soul, and all, you know, like that only, no? I say these people have no standard only. Like this, like that, anyting will do. Playing ‘Jingle Bells’ in the heat of April, Anthony says have some sense, men.”

*************

At Belapur, where I live, I meet a friendly railway ticket checker, who once acted in the serial “Campus,” my wife’s favourite one in those days. He says he is old and taking it easy these days. I realize with a shock that that was twenty odd years ago. How time slinks past, unknowingly. He doesn’t have the energy to pursue youngsters for fines these days. What he does is take their mobile phones and tell them:

“You can keep a mobile phone worth 5000 rupees but can’t pay a ticket fare? Shame on you.”

And they would meekly give the cellphone and come the next day with the money to Belapur station. Predictably, as we alighted, there was posse to greet us, consisting of the cellphone-less youngsters he had mentioned. They had all brought the money. So off he goes, writing the receipts with some self-righteous glee.

No comments: