Thursday, July 2, 2009

Of careless whispers and silent calls...



The "making naughty eyes" remark in Aparna's post and our subsequent chat about those rocking days took me back in time. The days of winks, whistles and crank calls. We have all been through that phase, haven't we?

Dressed in midis and pumps, shampooed hair and a neat ribbon at times, saw me walk with such a spring in my steps across the road to my friend's house. Those were usually happy and carefree days full of enthusiasm and spirit, mirth and bouyancy. Just at the point where my house would be out of sight and my friend's house yet not in sight, would the most dampening encounter happen.

A persistent and irritating sound.. something like chch chch chch, which was best ignored and yet the head turned. To witness yet again a gutless romeo on a cheap bike giving the broadest wink ever...eeeeeeoww!! Not only was it a wink, there was a distinct head tilt with it, which transformed into,"chalti hai kya?" if put in words. Now this might not be very clear an image to the young generation of today. What with unlimited access to chat rooms and text messages.. but ask anyone from my generation and they will smile! Wonder what finally happened to these losers who stood patiently at the bends of the road doing their monotonous drill. A few responded to them with anger, a few even probably smiled back, and the ones like me perfected the art of acting dumb!!

The days of black telephones without caller ids. The silent calls, the random number dialling and the give away giggles, the fat directories,and the aftermath. A guessing as well as a blaming game promptly started once the silent calls came.

Phone conversation part1

Ringing phone, dad picking up, nobody speaks. After a few hellos he puts down the reciever and forgets about it. Again the phone rings, Mom picks up, again no one speaks...

Mom(with narrowed eyes):
"All this shampooing is the cause, from tommorow oil your hair and wear them in plaits!! And you will discard all those T-shirts you have, They are way to tight."

Dad with a sympathetic look towards me:
"Its just a call, maybe somebody is not getting the line, it could be anybody, leave the poor kid alone."
Mom: "You just dont get the point.. shes no longer a kid, today there are calls, tommorow those Romeos will come knocking on the door."
Me: "How is it my fault if somebody calls up and doesnt speak."

Dad:" exactly!"

again the silent call, this time mom picks up..

Mom on the phone:
"Listen whoever you are, next time you call this number I will report you. What are you doing wasting your father's money on this stupid calls? Dont you have any sense, any decency?Anything better to do with your life?"
This was just an edited version of what she said on the phone, the guy was such a loser, he actually heard the entire thing before disconnecting, dad went back to his newspaper, and I was red behind my ears trying to think which guy could it be? and what if he was the good looking bloke from my class, whom I quite fancied! shoot how will I face him again, mom is such a disaster!!

Then there were those calls from the slightly more adventurous. The guys who spoke when you picked up the call.

Phone conversation part 2

me: "hello"

caller: "Hi can we be friends?" (btw they were more courageous than the orkut stalkers mind you!!)

me ( again getting red and hot out of sheer fright): "I dont know you"
caller: "That's the whole point, I have seen you cycling to school."
me: putting the reciever down with a sinking feeling and a tipsy head.

Mom as usual standing hawk eyed behind me, waiting for the darned thing to ring again. And what have you!! It does ring again and mom plunges to pick it up.

Mom: "HELLO!!"

caller ( in a loserish makey girl's voice): "May I speak with Sujata?"

Mom(getting it instantly!): "Dont call this number again, she has no time for boys like you." replaces the reciever firmly.

Mom with narrowed eyes starts the shampoo and tshirt lecture again, with an added point about my new fangled interest in hollywood flicks. A forecast of a doomed future if I continued like this follows ..

Me looking stricken and dumb and thinking Dear god give me the guts and the sense of framing proper answers to Mom.

Hind sight makes it all funny, it was not bad even then. the days of careless whispers, whistles and black telephones. I am a bit more diplomatic than my mom was, but my eyes do tend to become hawk like when my daughter chooses a dress or insists on a particular hairstyle!

It was a phase of evolving, of judging right from wrong, of having some fun in the process, of ego boosts and shy looks, of creepy whistles and lewd gestures, of being conscious of the legs, teeth, pimples, parents, and everything in between. It was the the 1980s and it rocked!


47 comments:

Aparna said...

Do you remember those awful tops with shoulder pads? I felt my shoulders had grown ears.
Amitabh was waning, Shahrukh was yet to arrive and there was a void in Bollywood which Jeetendra and Sridevi tried to fill.
I remember my heavy black phone with a lot of fondness. It was my salvation. There were a lot of blank calls and cross connections. What happened to those magical days?

Double-Dolphin said...

Thank you so much for the comment on my blog! If you would like contact info for the organizers of the concerts, please let me know on email.

kavita said...

SUJATA....good old days...your post today is BRILLIANT...siggggggh...Aparna is right... magical days....i need a strong cup of tea now....siggggh

amrit said...

90s rocked too :P

Shaye said...

Yes, yes, YES! Man, I could see myself standing in my old house--back in the 80s--while reading your post. I would think my parents were so uncool back then, but as my daughter is growing up, I can feel that same fury they displayed when thinking of boys looking at her the way I was looked at. OY!

~Shaye

R. Ramesh said...

yes...past it always good as we have already crossed..:)

SJ said...

Arghhhh..is your mom related to mine?? Cos she has said the same things, just include 'rascal' at the end of every sentence, whenever we got blank calls. Then it would the blame game- me pointing finger at my sister and she at me (your daughter's secret boy-friend I am sure, she used to tell my mom)
yaa..even I wonder what ever happened to those road romeos hmmm....

ZiLliOnBiG said...

hehehehe, so this is the other side of the story, alright...!!!!

We poor romeos always cursed the fathers, but was it the moms??

Nice one, interesting as ever.

BTW, i have taken the similar music player and made one for myself. Thanks for it, but has someone told you that he/she got annoyed by it?I was scared if it could irritate the reader.I hope it doesnt, let me see if the number of hits have reduced, i shall take it off.:)))

Nazish Rahman said...

hahaha...it came into full swing when SRK did this stupid act in DARR.
Ask how brothers felt...dam irritated!!

But still those were lovely days.

Nona said...

Very Interesting. Isn't it funny we resent the way parents treat us and we end up acting(tiny-weeny bit )like them?

Sumandebray said...

hmmm... good old eighties ...
so you all were the naughty naughty good girls.. eh!
I was never allowed to be a long hair, tight shirt and bell bottom Romeos.. But we did have our share of fun too. 3 of us actually had the audacity to call up our police commissioner’s daughter at her home.. On a few occasions.
Hey .. … you don’t have to be a loser … if you do such pranks! It is usually balanced .. you do some and you receive some.

KParthasarathi said...

The roadside Romeos of Eighties or Nineties were harmless versions of the modern day lusty spoilt brats on the prowl in their stolen cars for an unwary girl waiting at the bus stop or walking on desolate roads.The gutless Romeos of
yesteryears provided the thrill by anonymous calls and satisfied the ego of girls just out of their teens by walking behind them.They took to heels at the slightest annoyance shown.No damage was ever done.

अनिल कान्त : said...

The old days....magical days...
lovely post...i like it very much

PURN!MA said...

HAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAAA... mom has narrated some of her stories on similar lines. Though I have been lucky so far- no roadside romoe experience for me, neither any crank calls. Crank calls ka zamana was meeting its end when I was arnd 8 yr old.

I r'bered something. I used to call up random numbers and ask for some Mrs. Kulkarni. Dunno why I used to do it, but i used to. Mom is still unaware of this. :) don't tell plzzz!

@ Aparna: I loved your comment!!

SGD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SGD said...

Aaahhh the good old 80s...
you know during last years Pujo I caught sight of one of the better looking roadside romeos of our para....he's become a balding potbellied man...how times change!!!
And the black telephone...wthout caller ids! It had a charm of its own...the suspense of the 'who'!!
We friends and cousins spent many an afternoon making random calls looking up the big fat directory!!
They were such undiluted masti!!

Loved your post

The Survivor said...

Seem to be living those good old days :)

Shivi said...

he he, it really made me smile this time.Also some jingles from good old dordarshan came to my mind, "Surbhi title track", bharat ek khoj, mile sur mera tumhara......I love you rasna....utterly butterly delicious amul........everything was so mesmerizing! thanx for bringing back memoirs that everyone cherishes!

JD said...

yup, those were the days.. i guess we grew up in the same era..

prank calls were so common, it seemed like people had no other work to do!! i found em irritating.

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

hhehehe!! I remember those roadside Roemos! And their moronic songs..eventually I perfected the art of walking past them with a pokerface so they could think that I'm deaf!!
And, remember the prank calls too..specially since I, along wit friends, made quite a few to other people!! What fun!!

SJ said...

OOooo I just now remembered one comment passed by a road romeo outside our hostel. My friend was wearing a yellow colour salwar and this guy sings in his kishore kumar voice, "ohhh yellow...will you be my pillow...?" As disgusting as it was we couldn't help but LOL!!!!

Aw.S.M said...

Hey grandmaaaaaaa :)..hehe..suuu..loved the write up.

I ve heard tons of stories about the 70s and 80s from my dad and he always made it sound so wondrous and when i read ur writeup, it had the same impact. The days of the bellbottom pants, stupid haircuts, thick bushy sideburns..hehe...:P

But u know, i m a big fan of the old telephone too. Now the element of surprise is missing..and obv moms know when u call their daughters :P.

But oye roadside romeos rock :P..hehe

luv
amith

Priya said...

with those "Black Telephones", along with the the fact that they didn't had any caller i.d, another most interesting thing about these sets were the "Ring Tone"..it was like a calling for one and all to hear from some distant fellows. Now, i have the same ring tone in my handset and i love, when at home the phone rings and everybody looks at me with disgust/irritation i feel happy coz at the core it reminds me of people running to "Boithok-khana" to receive the phone calls in the good old days, even if that was a crank call from someone whom only i knew or suspected.. :D, yet i didn't try much to break the surprise for the older generations. The look of disgust that i get now when my cell rings is much similar to the look i used to get when elders after those vehement verbal throws over the phone on some crank call, came and saw me sitting quietly in a corner and into some "Mills and Boon". :D :D....Those were the days...:D:D

Debopam Chaudhuri said...

This is awesome!! I really liked it.. I can identify myself with that time, though I am more of the nineties.. and the in between period of your golden eighties and the Y2K yet to arrive. The black telephones had started to change to wirelesses!! Though i have never been your typical Roadside Romeo type, as i remember, that me and our group of five had great laughs at the "monotonous drill" they performed.. And also we were the ones who tried to supply ideas to add some masalas to these drills for some of our class mates.
Other than the telephone, i also remeber small chits called "love letters" being passed around in classes and the so called coaching centres from hand to hand. And the making and breaking of hearts in weeks. School days were real fun. And as far as college days, i do not want comment on them, as you the reason quite well.

Gymnast said...

You seem to have been awfully popular! That must have been some ego boost!!
Anyway probably only the dressing is limited to the seventies, the phenomenon of catcalling contineues and roadside romeos are all over the place.

Kishore Choudhary said...

Beete huye dinon kii kahani si lagati hai post, bareeki se sab kuchh not kiya gaya hai.

eye-in-sty-in said...

ha ha ha ha!
poor guy - he had the guts to call n speak decently and was ruthlessly massacred by ur mom :-) although all he cd have wanted was ur journal or class notes (yea right!)

Jyothi said...

OH GOD!!Are we related????? (SJ too) My mom was exactly the same...Word to word..plus a few more..God Forbid, if I took extra care while dressing up to go out,she used to go bonkers..... you can guarantee that she always thought that I was having an affair...For the life of me,I have no idea how.....In a school that was not co-ed....(we had the shift system..girls morning, boys afternoon)Even then I dreaded when the phone bell rang at home.

But I guess we all become hawk eyed too..when it comes to our dear ones...Love you mom...I am safe cause I had you for a mom..

Ajit Ray said...

And you were asking me to be a Romeo throughout those two years??!! Amazing how age and the decades change everything... 80's mein some rule, 2000's mein kuch aur?

Ashwadhy said...

Neat.. reminicing the past. Oh moms and daughters...

Hey enjoyed the music list. Am a big time ABBA fan You've got a good collectiont here.

sujata said...

@Aparna i hated those made me look so broad and what abt the ghastly dhoti dress? and dont forget Mithunda and his followers on the road with their hairstyles, and songs like yalla yalla ohh ya yalla!!

@Double Dolphin surely will get bk to you in case husband cannot get to the organisers on his own.

@Kavita ohh thanks enjoy the tea and the memories of your first blank call!!

@Amrit Rock on guy!!

@Momma Miller(Shaye) In India those days dating was almost not a thing to do..so all the poor guys could do was pass innocent chits professing love and make those calls, things are changing now..but a mom will always remain a mom!! Love to have you sharing your days here, things are basically the same across continents!!

sujata said...

@Ramesh hindsight retrospection is always a joy to me..hopefully when I am older the present days will seem equally joyful

@SJ all moms of the world unite!! She said a lot of untold things over the phone including rascal. poor guys!!

@Zillionbig it was always the mothers believe me!! they were terror personified. About the playlist, @Gymnast did complain that it interferes with her reading the post. But I like the music and the reading together,. happy grooving to the tunes.


@NR I know that was a bit late for me..the SRK thing, but still damn irritating..a lot of bros have screamed on the phone saying stuff like "dharti pe bojh.."

@Nona I so resented my mom's discipline..but now at times I speak the exact tone of her and the words are ditto..shes taken over me I think!!

sujata said...

@Suman thats a good tag naughty naughty good girls!! The cheapo guys on the roads with mithun like hair and lewd gesture were definitely losers, creepy totally, the callers were cute, cannot deny having fun..made a few calls myself!!

@KParthasarathi I agree completely those guys were harmless, todays world is different, girls are much more adventurous that before too.

@Anil Thanks.

@Purnima Mrs Kulkarni LOLs why that name?

@SGD real great times..making the calls and giggling away was such fun. ohh potbellied and all..what a disaster.

@Survivor reliving the fun times.

sujata said...

@Shivi and dont forget fido dido the coolest guy!!

@JD yah same era indeed.

@Roshni Mithunda lookalikes on the road and yah the first line of the stupidest song or the tune whistled hahah

@SJ our roadside romeos didnt speak english, but that comment was surely funny

@Aw. S.M(grandson)tell us about your acts..how many calls? how many whistles?

@Priya definitely those were the days!!

sujata said...

@Debopam Chaudhuri yah the chits carefully smuggled into an unsuspecting girl's bag!! You have to post on your college days, a, looking forward to that!! Did you do the SRK act or the Aamir act?

@Gymnast these days I think its called eve teasing and harrasment!! I was popular with my mom!! She always had a feeling I was upto something silly and she scared all the guys in my class and society so much that my popularity was almost nill thanks to my mom!!

@Kishore thanks..but those were the days isnt it?

@eye-in-sty-in i know..she was such a disaster I tell you, I hated her then. About the journal, there was an incident, I was absent from school for a few days and a guy who lived closebyu had offered to drop my journal home..and was teased endlessly for this act of kindness by the other guys in class, poor fellow.

@jyothi My mom was just too much. And I am becoming just like her!!

@Ajit I wanted you to be romantic not a romeo!!

@Ashwadhy thanks for dropping by. ABBA really rocks!!

Double-Dolphin said...

Ok, the clothes excuse I've heard before, but shampoo??? Really???

PURN!MA said...

I don't know!! But Mrs Kulkarni was who I'd ask for and politely put down the phone when the answer was in negative. And it always was negative :D

Little Girl Lost said...

sujata... i loved this post... i was not exactly a human being around the time your are writing about, (more like a foetus )

but i could SO relate to all this :) you made me smile...

Bhavya.B said...

Nice post.These all were there even in the late 90's.But don't know why , instead of enjoying it I used to get worried of blank calls.

Babli said...

Very lovely and interesting post. Your each and every post is superb and unique.Well written.

sujata said...

@Double Dolphin shampooing was a strict no no thing beyond once a week. hair had to be neatly tied not sashaying in the air!! God what days!!

@LGL thanks, I guess this is a timeless thing!

@Bhavya B thanks, at times they were irritating, but mostly they were fun.

@Babli thanks

Nazish Rahman said...

ya its u who has been tagged...lol!!!

extremity said...

he he he...relating very well...i feel like giggling..
nw the land fon is almost in oblivion.but few years back,say my schooling,it was such a hazardous thing.i used to get all the hawk stares from mom and implied comments frm bro.she evn remarked,a fon that speaks oly if sumi picks up..

Indrani said...

:D This was hilarious. You remember so much of details.

Rush said...

i have a different twist in the story here..total tomboy, any guy tries to hit on me..i will gang up and try & harass him to death. i was the gal... guys were scared of!! or more so i portrayed an image that way!

Bindhu Unny said...

So hilarious! :-)

Meira said...

Superb post! We got a lot of those calls too, but we played more phone pranks than possible today :D
Lovely days them. I wonder what kids today look forward too...ipods and PS3? sheesh!