<%-- Page Title--%> Impressions <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 114 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

July 18, 2003

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Wrong Number,Stupid

Srabonti Narmeen Ali

When the phone rings at ungodly hours of the night (or morning), I assume that it is an emergency and hurry to answer. Usually, while half blinded with sleep, I grope the bedside table for the light switch, press the “on”button of my phone and croak out a weak “hello.”

Most of the time it is not an emergency and the caller is one of my friends calling to have a late night chat. Out of decency, after hearing my sleepy voice whoever it is says hello and murmurs a quick apology before hanging up. However, there are times when there is no emergency and the caller is definitely not a friend of mine. I am talking about late night prank-callers of the male variety. It is true that the female population has its share of prank callers, but somehow they do not upset me as much and do not make me feel threatened in the same way.

Now, prank calling is irritating as it is, but when someone does it in the middle of the night and disturbs your sleep, it is unforgivable. It is not only childish but a complete waste of everyone's time. Unlike other parts of the world, prank callers in Bangladesh are usually grown men who never have a chance in hell of finding anyone to “make friendship with them,” as they put it. I cannot seem to understand the kind of training that these men get: harass someone and make their lives miserable and you will prevail! The world is your oyster as long as you don't have the courage to make real friends and instead, hope that some lonely girl will automatically fall in love with your sexy phone voice. I don't think so!

I have a few regular prank callers. The first one is the king of sophistication and continues to shout obscenities at me. He assumes that at some point I will realise that all this time I have been lying to myself and that my deepest desire is to talk to a man who verbally abuses me. I'm sure that after some time, all his obscene words will break down my cold, hard outer shell and I will fall madly in love with this wonderful man whose knowledge of the English language is limited to four-letter words .

The second regular prank caller I have is really imaginative. He has devised this INGENIOUS idea of calling me on the same number and asking for different women. When I tell him that he has called the wrong number (again) he apologises profusely only to call back five minutes later and repeat his Oscar deserving performance with another made-up name. Maybe he is hoping that one day he will get my name right and then I will fall in love with him because of course I am not intelligent enough to recognise his voice. And of course, all I ever wanted was a man to harass me in the middle of the night with his silly games.

Prank callers are pathetic because they bask in their anonymity. There is nothing nice and respectable about such individuals. Especially if the person on the other end has made it obvious that she does not want to talk to you. Look, buddy I would like to tell my frequent prank-caller, if you are looking for new friends, try to meet them first through your other friends. And if you are sad enough to not have any friends, then I don't want to talk to you anyway! If it is a case of calling the wrong number the correct thing to do is to hang up and not call back. Calling back and trying to make a new friend is not something that will win you brownie points in my book.

I wonder though, why these men don't get the hint. Do other women encourage them? Or maybe they are masochistic and crave the abuse a woman spits out when she reaches the end of her patience.


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