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Extension 108: ordeal begins!

Assalamualaikum, welcome to Bulu isky telecom serbices. Dial your ekshtension or press jero por operator." Sounds familiar? Of course it does! Well, even if these daily life PABX phone system ordeals don't pass upon you, but for some reason or the other, it passes on me: and always with an excellent way! It's not long since I have stopped using the PABX phone that my dad brought from one of his friend's offices, telling us it had a caller ID facility and all that (at that time, we didn't have a caller ID).

And since I have brought the PABX telephone at my place, I began to have more people visiting our house with the "phoner ki khobor smile." If you cant understand (though, I am not sure who can understand my sensible words) let me clarify! There would be my friends waiting to hear the comic operator and his comic telephone connection. Then, there would be my cousins who would come for some telephone operator and immediately after they pressed jero or 0, there teeth would sparkle while the phone set would be passed from one ear to the other… finally, my sisters turn… they wouldn't laugh or cry, but it wasn't unusual for them to practically curse the operator for connecting them to some other guy who was an intentional PABX girl-hunter.

The first thing you got to know before you mistakenly take a PABX is that, the operator is usually a young, I mean an extremely young (but much older than me) guy who is full of some intentions I cant still figure out and memorizes all the girl's extensions in their PABX systems along with some guys. And it's not unusual to see some guy going to the operator's office and bribing him to some extent (if needed) to get a girl's extension.

So, when my sisters are over with their ordeals of cursing the opherator for his connection deeds or misdeeds, it's actually my turn to go on screaming at the operator and assuring him over and over again that I have never been to his office to ask for a girl's extension number! Everytime or the other, social gatherings meant wars, screams and shouts! And if nothing else helps, FIGHT! Usually, in every social gathering at our place, there would be some people who would want to call their house for some make-up or some file that they left at their place and I would be the faithful one to connect them to their lines… as soon as I would get fed-up of the operator's busy line, I would switch on the speaker and put up a redial option… as soon as the operator is connected, and the speaker is on, real phone entertainment would start! While the telephone speaker is on, and I would plead the operator to connect me to this number or that, our ispecial opherator, wouldn't pity on me to leave me until he puts the line to some unwanted girl's extension, thinking I am the guy who just had tea with him at his office and got desperate about this girl's number! I try to convince him that I am not the usual PABX girl hunter and I have no intention to get a girl's number from the telepone opherator, but he wouldn't listen to me… finally, when I am connected with the so-called "bhaiya… extension 108" girl, this old lady at her mid-twenties or early thirties picks up the phone… "Helloooo…." And I get frightened, yet so much, that I hang up the phone and promise myself never to call up the operator again, not even by mistake! The entertainment does not end here! It brings back some reactions as well! The other people who wants to call up their make-up or file helpers laughs and along with them I laugh (and unfortunately, I remain dumb enough to give an explanation that it was the operator's mistake and I am really not that guy who hunts girl's PABX numbers, bribing the operator…)

Disaster follows! Another day, while all my cousins and friends sit in front of me and our family, the telephone rings, cring, cring… and (unfortunately) the red light blinks, which means that it's a call from the operators office. Some dire calamity hits! No body among us would like to pick up the operator's phone and already looks of horror have been exchanged! The only people ignorant of what on earth is happening are my cousins and my dad and mom. By the way, the red light have been specially set up by us with the help of a technician to determine which call comes from the operator and that any call from his office is a special "red alert" and should not be picked up! And when all of us are busy gasping in sudden fright, my cousin comes up and picks up the phone. Surprise! Surprise! Within a moment my cousin (who happens to be a female) laughs and then hangs up the phone. It happened to be this, that the operator as usual connected our phone to extension 108 and that lady received it and surprisingly, hearing a girl's voice, she hung up! Some "women," sorry, some "aunties" we got in our PABX system!

Then one frightening night came, when our operator uncle, oops sorry it becomes too dumb of me to call him an uncle…
one frightening night, our operator bhaiya called up our house and connected my sister's line with "someone in extension 104." After several minutes of cursing, swearing and then screaming, shouting and every other verbal violence, my sister, exhausted hung up, but returned to her cell, where she kept someone else holding.

Things got worse! Every breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, parties and mornings, nights, days, holidays were spent in "greetings" and "extension102,103,104,105,106,107,108,109,110,111….connected!" voice of our operator bhai. Miraculously enough, each day a new extension would be invented and a new ordeal would be passed upon us!

Things are not only worse with our PABX system…but with other's as well! For example, every time I call my khala and press extension 104 in her bank, all these different women receives and unfortunately though, I begin to think, that woman is my khala…so, I go on "jui khala!" Alas! Reply is, "na, ami jui khala na, ami khalar ma!" now, is it supposed to be funny or weird?

Also, if you have ever called Unicef Bangladesh or Bangladesh Army Exchange, you would notice that they play an excellent music while they keep you holding when connecting to some extension…(it also happens in British Airways and Partex phones…) and there are some people (not me) but some people, who actually dial these extensions and listen to the music to each new extension!

But anyway, things perhaps could not go such frightening as it got in those days of horrible, extension 108… and those others as they were, ext.109…110…111…etc… we don't have the PABX anymore. Phew! At least those days of ordeal are now over!

By S.S.Rishad

India and Pakistan support, don't worship

Hi guys, I am back after a long time to share my cricketing views with you all. This piece of writing is very much in response to the one named: 'India & Pakistan ' the name says it all' by Mr. Saifi (printed on Dec-18). In his article, Mr. Saifi claimed to be a very logical person who promised to be impartial in his writing. But was he?

Before proceeding any farther I want to clearly state that I am an ardent fan of cricket only and don't feel the need to support any team other than my own. I am NOT prejudiced against India or Pakistan. But anybody who shows overwhelming and 'illogical' support for any of these two, really gets on my nerves (as did Mr. Saifi by supporting Pakistan). It is, of course, one's right to choose whom to support but it is stupid to try and justify that choice by showing baseless logic.

Let me review the whole article point by point. It is true that everybody should learn to differentiate sports with politics. There is no reason to support Indian cricket just because this nation once helped us win our independence and at the same time no reason to not support Pakistan just because we once fought against them. Let us keep our worlds separate. India's political arguments for not playing against Pakistan are all too lame to be justified. But at the same time we must remember it is Pakistan who brought politics into cricket in a very gross way indeed!

Yes, we are all aware of it as it happened against us. Only a few months back when Bangladesh was touring Pakistan, both the teams had to take a domestic trip in the same flight to play matches in a different venue. It was a golden chance for the Pakistanis to show their utmost hospitality as hosts! The Pakistanis enjoyed their flight in the 'business class' while our boys were stacked in the 'economy class'. On the other hand the kiwis were pampered with the greatest security facilities available in the country just a few days back when they toured Pakistan. What were they trying to prove' Aren't the motives behind this dirty discrimination all too naked and prominent?

We all know Wasim Akram is probably the greatest fast bowler the world has seen. No statistics or words are sufficient to describe what he has contributed for cricket and his team. Over the past 2½ decades, both India and Pakistan have produced top quality international players in the likes of: Imran Khan, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Javed Miandad, etc. But unfortunately Mr. Saifi could remember only the Pakistani names as he of course is a 'die-hard' Pakistani fan.

Another important point needs to be discussed over here. The fact that Inzamam has scored far more 50's than Tendulkar doesn't make him a better batsman than Tendulkar. I must admit both of them are legendary figures in the world of cricket and are players of the highest calibre in their respective styles and positions. You cannot compare between batsmen like them and say one is better than the other as both of them has made enormous contributions to their respective teams. Records and statistics don't always matter. It didn't matter when Bangladesh defeated Pakistan in the WC. It won't still matter if Bangladesh can defeat India in the upcoming series.

At this moment both India and Pakistan are playing 'away' against formidable opponents and doing quite well. Let's not waste words talking about that.

Ganguly is definitely arrogant and perhaps 'offensive' to some (if not all). The 'thing' that he did in the NatWest final was not very pleasing for the eyes or minds of anyone (to say the least). The captain of an international team should learn to be more reserved in showing emotions. But the arrogance and 'don't give a s*** attitude of the Pakistanis too came out when they said they were playing for their disgraced captain (Rashid Latif). Inzamam was also quoted stating Latif was a very honest person.

Just look who are talking about honesty! The shocking thing that Latif did to dismiss Kapali not only spoiled Bangladesh's chances to clinch their first Test win but also showed the world what the Pakistanis could do just for the sake of winning. They went to such extents as cheating and using abusive language against the same team they once claimed as their 'brothers'. This question goes to you Mr. Saifi. Did 'your' Pakistan appeal to ICC to grant Bangladesh's test status to do this' Surely Rafique taught them a thing or two about 'sportsmanship' and fair play when he did not knock off the non-striking end's bails although Umar Gul was a yard out of his crease. The commentating of Aamir Sohail was extremely biased and I don't want to discuss it farther.

Indian supporters, in fact, overdo about showing their support to their cricket team. The other day I heard someone in a teacher's house saying: 'Hai Allah ajke india jitsey'ami na khushitey morey gesilam' (give us a break!) Watching Tendulkar drive posh bikes, cook, drink boost or watch premiership matches are all too tiring if not 'intolerable'. But after all we have to accept it as it is the Indian channels which telecast live most of the cricket in this part of the world. Why groan about something you can do nothing about?

Pakistan definitely has a psychological edge over India in head-to-heads and it is evident that India are never as confident facing Pakistan as they are while facing any other team in the world (except in their home soil or in WCs). But every cricket match starts from nought and at the moment there is no better or worse among these two. It is great fun watching these matches and even more fun observing the supporters' reactions (esp. if two sides sit to watch together). I, being the neutral one, just sit back and try to enjoy the battle behind and before the T.V. screen (or perhaps try and add more spice to the heated arguments). Again I should say the I.C.C. must stop India from swaying away from playing Pakistan.

So I hope I've been able to present my views non-aligned. I hope fans like Mr. Saifi takes a lesson from this. My last words to all those Pak/Indian cricket addicts out there: Support anybody you like, just take care not to worship any!

By Tausif Salim






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