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!