The phone rings for a long time, and I’m about to hang up when a sleepy young man answers.
Hello, is this Surinder ji?
He mumbles something incoherently. Who is speaking is all I can gather.
Surinder ji, my name is Ana. I got your number from the government website and wanted to check if your center is a permanent one. I need to apply for my Adhar card as soon as possible. I say it all at once, making sure I give out as much information as possible in one go because I don’t know how quickly his patience will run out (based on my experience with the four other guys I’ve been hung up on by this time).
The sleepy dude clears his throat. I thought he’d ask for a spitoon next but he proceeds to say, actually, this is Surinder ji’s son speaking. I don’t know why Papa has given my number on the website. People keep calling me again and again. I’m so annoyed. Actually he said, Yaar yeh mere papa ne mera number website par daal diya hai, itne din se roz phone aa rahe hain, main pareshaan ho gaya hoon yaar. I just thought it might be easier to read if I translated.
I immediately turn red from embarrassment. Oh, I’m sorry. Can you give me your father’s number, then? I’ll call him directly.
Ok, I will sms you, he says, and the grammar nazi in me cringes like it does when someone says “I will explain you”; but I suppress her. Or you could just give me his number now, I can write it down.
No, actually I’m busy right now. I will send later. I am working in pharmaceutical company. I can hear him proudly smiling through the phone.
I am so weirded out by the unnecessary detail-sharing that I hang up.
I call him back at 9:15 am. Fifteen minutes have passed since my last phone call. I assume that he would’ve got a dozen other calls by now, but I decide to make a deliberate attempt to modulate my voice on the call. I spend a minute practising: Hello, I’m . I wanted to inquire about the Adhar office timings. After two attempts, I’m convinced I’m a really bad actor, so I call in my normal voice.
The phone rings. He answers. Hello Ana ji!
Alarm bells go off in my head. The guy has my number saved already? WTF?! You were going to send me your father’s number, right? I’m still waiting.
Sorry Ana ji, this taking little bit time (this time he spoke in English). I will SMS you.
He sends me a text within the next 5 min, but there’s no sign of the father’s number.
“Sorry fone get cut. What time you are coming? I can be able to come to meet.”
I obviously don’t respond. The guy proceeds to call me twice, and I don’t answer. I don’t want the damned Adhar card anymore.
Do you have an Adhar card? Do you know how to get one made without having to go through stupid people whose purpose in life seems to be to NOT let you get the Adhar card? Why do you think I’m a weirdo magnet? Am I weird? Are you?