And how many times do you wish: "If only this call had come when I had some time on my hands. I would have . . ."
Tuesday, July 18, 2006. Time: Around 11:30 AM. I got that call and I was at home.
Nasal voice (female): Siiiiiiiiir (draw the "a" sound a bit long . . . through your nose). Is that Mr. Mandar Talvekar?
Me: Yeah. Who is it?
Nasal voice: Siiiiiiiiir, this is Neha. Calling on behalf of GE Countrywide. Siiiiiiiiir, we have a special offer for you.
Me: Wow! Really?
Neha: Yes Siiiiiiiiir. You have been selected by GE Countrywide for a pre-approved personal loan. All you have. . .
Me: (Cutting in excitedly): You guys are great! How did you know I need money desperately?
Neha (a bit confused): Siiiiiiiiir, it's a personal loan, Siiiiiiiiir, are you interested in the loan Siiiiiiiiir.
Me: Of course, I am. I want the money Countrywide is giving me. How much is it?
Neha: The pre-approved loan is of 50,000 Siiiiiiiiir. All you have. . .
Me (disappointed): Only 50,000? I need more.
Neha: Siiiiiiiiir, we can send an executive to talk to you. The amount can be increased to one lakh Siiiiiiiiir. You will need to give us . . .
Me (full of gratitude): That is so nice of you. Thank you. Tell me. Do I have to pay interest on this loan?
Neha (explaining to a small child): Siiiiiiiiir, every loan will have interest na? The interest is. . .
Me: You don't have any special offer. I don't want to pay any interest.
Neha: No Siiiiiiiiir.
Me: Can't you make a special offer for me, mam?
Neha (iron in her nasal voice): Siiiiiiiiir, are you interested in the loan?
Me: Yes, yes. I want the money. When will your executive meet me?
Neha (triumphant): You tell the time Siiiiiiiiir. Our executive will meet you. You will need to give your latest salary slip and a xerox of your ration card.
Me (desperate to get the appointment): Yes, yes. I will get all the papers. Can your executive meet me today? In the afternoon?
Neha: Yes Siiiiiiiiir, our executive can meet you today. When? Can you give me your address?
Me: Will it take a long time?
Neha: No, no. You just have to fill a form. 10 minutes. When do you want to meet our executive Siiiiiiiiir?
Me: Around 4.15 today is ok?
Neha: We will send our executive to meet you at that time. If you give me the address, I will. . .
Me: Thank you. Ask your executive to meet me at VT station. Platform no. 6, below the indicator.
Me: Hello, you there, mam? VT station. Platform no. 6, below the indicator.
Neha: VT station?
Me: Is there some problem? Platform no. 5 will also do. Below the indicator.
Neha: Siiiiiiiiir, you are making fun of me? Platform no 5?
Me: No, No. Please I want the money. If platform is a problem, how about below the indicators in front of the public toilet at VT station?
Neha (Very angry): You have no manners? You . . .
Me: No, I have no money. So, where will your executive meet me?
Neha cut the call off at that point. For some time I seriously considered calling the number back and insisting on an appointment and a meeting, but decided not to push my luck further.
Some time later a close friend called me.
P: Hey, I have become a father.
Me: Oh my god!
Me (hastily): Congrats. When? And what?
P: About 30 minutes ago. It's a boy. Listen, get to the hospital.
P: Because I am worried. I don't know anything about being a father. I. . .
Me: See, it’s simple. You stay awake the whole night and change diapers. That's all there it is to bringing up a baby.
P: You get yourself here in the next 15 minutes or else . . .
So I hauled myself off to the hospital with a huge packet of chocolates, congratulated the mom, exclaimed over the baby, and then listened to my friend and made all the right, soothing and encouraging noises.
Got back home around 15:30. A few minutes later my cell rang.
Female voice: Is that Mr. Mandar Talvekar?
Me (With a bit of "here we go again" in my voice): Yes. Who is it?
Voice: This is Sunita, Sir. I am calling on behalf of ICICI. Would you be interested in a personal loan Sir?
(Twice in a single day?!!)
Me: Actually no. I don't need a personal loan at the moment.
Me: But I know a friend who would be interested.
Sunita: Thank you, Sir. If you will give me his details, I will call him.
Me: Yes, yes. You see, he has just become a father. He got a baby boy this morning.
Sunita (patiently): That is good news, Sir. Your friend needs a loan?
Me: Yes, you see he got this baby. And you know at times like this . . . he is actually a bit worried.
Sunita: Yes, he could do with some money.
(This girl was bright.)
Me: Right. You know how it is with babies.
Me: Ya, you feed them at one end and soon all of it comes out at the other end. He is going to need a lot of a diapers.
Sunita: uh . . .?
Me: My friend will need a loan for all those diapers? How much can ICICI give?
Sunita hung up on me. These direct selling agents, I tell you. You go out of your way to help them out and they cut-off the calls. Not fair.
---------------------Some more ways to answer those pesky calls: here and here.