Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Shanghai nights

Early yesterday morning, Packrat's phone buzzes (it never rings because it's never on sound mode). It's a few minutes before 6 so of course I'm slightly alarmed that the phone is buzzing. I grew up with parents who feared phonecalls at ungodly hours. Of course, then most phonecalls at ungodly hours were mine (how I used to talk through the night and fall asleep on the phone is beyond me- I need my sleep now!). Anyway, they always said that phonecalls in the middle of the night could only mean one thing- bad news.

So, when the phone buzzes, all this sails through my mind. Then it stops. As abruptly as it began. Then suspicion takes over. Who calls, and after a few rings, hangs up? Someone who's trying to get his attention but does not want me to find out- Ah, the neurotic me takes over. But bewilderment follows closely after when I peer at the number and realise that it's not a local number. Too many digits. Now the question is, does Packrat have an overseas mistress? Highly unlikely unless it's a trunk call from Tylys of the WOW world.

I tell Packrat about it, but he seems to think nothing about it and shrugs it off. Of course, men on illicit dalliances tend to be able to act as if nothing has happened.

At work, my phone rings. It's very soft so I take quite a while to respond to it. When I do, it reads as a miss call already. And when I check the call log for the number, it's the same overseas number that rang Packrat's phone. Puzzler and puzzler. What? The mysterious mistress, unable to get Packrat, rings me instead? To do what? To reveal the misdeed? To collude with me? To complain? By this time, I'm not only curious, I'm totally bored with my work, so I take this opportunity to be distracted and Google the country code.

When I do find it, I totally crack up. There is NO way that my anglo-monolingual husband could be having an affair with someone on this number. Let alone have this person ring me to confront me. Simply because the call came from China! Well, there are a billion people in China, but most of them speak a language he hardly is able to converse in and while I am slightly better, I would have a great amount of problems going "YOU BITCH!" in the language.

So the real reason for these calls? I suspect it's not just Bangalore that has got international call centres. My colleague's phone rings shortly after mine with a different number but the same country code and prefix, as did an aunt's 2 weeks ago, I recall. Now, the funny thing is if 3 out of the 4 people mentioned actually picked up the call, the operator would be far more frustrated that we would be because we don't speaka da language.

Other helpful colleagues have suggested that they may be Chinese headhunters. Once again, sorry, we will fail the interview because I realised through my dealings with meeting parents, I don't even know what Economics is in Chinese let alone be able to say "the economy in China is a booming one and I would very much like be able to experience it first hand". The only way I would be able to say it, is translate it word for word and like we tell our students, that doesn't work very well!

The mystery remains. At this point, I've run out of imaginative stories to spin based on the mysterious number. Who is the mysterious caller? Now I'm wondering whether it's Mrs White in the library who did it with two tins and a piece of string...

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 08:17

1 thoughts...

1 thoughts...

At 12:24 pm Blogger cour marly said...

Actually - it's a scam/spam. The call never rings long enough for people to answer, but a small fraction would actually call back. And then you'll get sucked into a spiel for making a quick buck or timeshare or whatever scam-o-da-week.


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