Madam, can i speak to Shweta Sharma?

My 1st mobile connection in Hyderabad was an Idea pre-paid. My second was a Hutch postpaid in my friend's name - i incidentally became his sister for all verification purposes.Then, Hutch became Vodafone and I wanted a connection in my name. Quit Vodafone, dint think it was necessary to clear the last payment since they had a huge deposit.They sent me two dummy legal notices and stopped spamming my inbox.Lazy rascals, they won't settle accounts first. My Airtel post paid corporate connection came through with my name and address proof.This is like some 3 years ago. 

Every few months, I get a call from the Airtel call center asking for a certain Ms Shweta Sharma. Obviously,the first few times, I was polite enough to say wrong number. The following year, again these calls started increasing from different sources and numbers. I suspected this girl must be absconding with pending payment and must have destroyed the SIM card so that nobody tracks her down. Dumbass Airtel has this policy of cycled numbers and yours truly's was perhaps used and destroyed by Shweta.These calls got frequent and intense to the point of warning me to disconnect my connection if i dint tell where Shweta Sharma is. WTH. I said, "theek hai bhai, woh bhi karlo. Fir dekhlo, Consumer Court mein we will sing - You and I in this beautiful world...(former Hutch signature jingle)"

I walk in to an Airtel booth and flagged this problem and this menace kind of stopped for about 10 months or so. Yesterday, in the middle of a spate of meetings at work, i get bombarded by calls. I picked up one and someone rattled off in Telugu. So annoying, why do call centers think everyone will speak/respond in Telugu? There are two acceptable languages of communication - Hindi and English. Of course, I uttered - "Telugu raduu, Hindi mein baat karo( meaining- I don't know Telugu, speak in Hindi)."  Then the conversation went from "Wait, wait.." to someone asking me - "Where is Shweta Sharma?" So, she is still missing.

I had so little patience with such nonsense. From "I don't know." to "Why should I tell you?", the final one was "WTH are you bugging me?". Salesgirl, such a stubborn one.I told her ask Airtel, or else go to a Police Station or better still, Google her. She dint find it funny and I seconded the same. She said she is calling from Airtel. I dared her to suspend my services if that is what she is aiming at. Smart girl got the point. "No madam, hum bill payment ke baad thodi kar rahe hai. Aap ko itna gussa kyun aata hai ji?" Wow! She insisted on knowing my name - I told her it is not Shweta Sharma and she can check with Airtel what my name is and where i live. I asked her to come home and see that no Shweta Sharma lives with me or I am not Shweta Sharma.Again, she asked my name. I told her to go take a dip in Hussain Sagar then open the Airtel records.
She told me Shweta Sharma gave my number as reference, just in case. God only knows, what has become of her and what prompted her to give my number?

Read in TOI just the other day,a woman's docs were misused and there are 30 connections in her name and not a single connection is used by her. She was not aware so many connections were (mis)used in her name. Only after the telecom parties were on their verification drive, this was 'discovered' and thought of as a TOI item.Mine may not be TOI worthy but dear Airtel, this is annoying.

So yeah, in plainspeak i blasted this Airtel girl not to get me into an identity crisis of their making and get her facts checked. 

So who is this Shweta Sharma? Oh by the way, in this part of the world, Shewta could be Swetha or Shwetha or maybe Sweta. Don't know which one is missing.

Women's day, truly

It was raining SMSes and FB updates on how glorified we are as a species, how special we ought to feel and the warm pro-woman (not feminist) gestures were everywhere. My otherwise gruff boss wished each one of his lady lecturers - "Happy Women's Day, Madam!". Well, we felt very "special" needless to say, more zing at work, must i say! As much as i said thank god, one day nearly the whole race is out with roses and all, but how ironic! After sundown, pack up?

A gentleman at work comes and wishes me, then indulges in an intellectual argument - "madam, chalo aaj ka din toh khair.." That says it all. I nodded in agreement and sighed. He says women's problems are not always because of men alone and, most are due to women themselves. Didn't know whether to agree and be enlightened or whatever. Sometimes wilful ignorance is bliss. I remembered a play i studied in my masters - Thomas Middleton's Women, Beware Women.

There is hardly any dignity left even with the celebrations around. Amidst nation wide celebrations, one DU girl got shot, Aruna Shanbaug awaits life and death and closer home, an old widow struggles with the harsh truth of a runaway daughter who has left her family and kid.

Do i feel special as a woman? Totally. Special has such 'other' connotations.I feel totally special because i was raised very well by my parents that i dont have patience for nonsense - yeah yeah, I hear the groans. My conviction is not lost one bit just because my father thinks I cant take my own decisions. Grow up, Papa.

I dont know if i was (my grandparents are long dead and in the clouds) a good grand-daughter. My maternal ones always disagreed with me over everything from calling a transistor as radio and a half sweater as jacket.My paternal grandpa was gone much before my folks got married and grandma was some mad Amazon. My extended family thinks i am disobedient because i love doing things my way.Maybe, I am disobedient.I am convinced actually.

Mother - confusing. Your mother is never wrong, she is always sweet and sacrificing. Your friend's mother is also nice and as good as yours and mine.We never get into such disputes, do we? Especially if she is a male friend's mother who has no romantic allusions - she is always adorable. And you have the special friend's mother who is otherwise universally misunderstood as the Tamer of all young and nicely believed to be Shrews who come into their son's lives as their loves. Ask any girl who has visited her special friend's place and that she was not probed. Not all special friend's mothers are this universal kinds though. There are some outstanding ones too, who are beyond your comprehension and the universal category in terms of degree. Ma, you are beautiful.

I have an amazing sister who disapproves the fact that i am a plain Jane and don't wear make-up. Like any younger sister, she is vanity personified. I like her raiding my dressing table and wardrobe. My kid brother is my kid brother. He is known as my brother and that's a truth universally acknowledged and unchallenged, and I totally feel special as his sister.

My sisterhood of girlfriends - what would i be without you? From sleepless nights of sharing joys to disappointments and holding  me in my vulnerable moments, you and i are meant to be.

An impromptu celebration of womanhood at work. Humble party, the only and most extravagant was a bottle of Sprite under a creaking fan. 3 of us from different regions and states of life, each of us spinning a yarn. What must a young bride be feeling 2 months before her marriage when her father passed away and her kid brother giving his 3rd year engineering exams? How about your mom away at her mother's and you and your childlike dad managing the wedding run-up and you have no brothers? And how about your entire family with extensions doing a no-show at your wedding and you are totally excited? Smiles.

I never ever wanted to be a girlfriend or have a boyfriend.Kept it convenient to avoid embarrassment,saves a lot of announcement and insecurity issues.And, i think, i quite succeeded for the longest time.

You have all kinds - mad, cribbing, ranting, vicious, funny, heroic, accommodating -Thank you for making life interesting. Such a hijacked day,from unstoppable tears and mirthful time with my lovely kids to a planned Women's Day surprise biriyani lunch with a future relative to be, my dinner was a bowl of Maggi. That explains it all.

Not a bitter harvest as someone puts it.