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July 27, 2004 14:57 IST
My wife and I enjoy window-shopping. We explore every new market and mall that comes to our attention.
We were more than happy when I took up a job in Bangalore; it gave us the opportunity to explore the malls in a new city.
At one particular mall, we liked the showpieces and decorative items that were on sale -- they were inexpensive and very good. When we came to the section where beautiful idols of Indian gods were displayed, my wife fell in love with an idol of Lord Shiva. I liked it too. We put it in the shopping bag.
Later, when I was examining the idol again, I happened to turn it upside-down… and burst out laughing. It was made in China!
Sumit Bhatia, Bangalore
Into the air
I seldom make any calls on my mobile, so I was a bit surprised to find my prepaid balance reducing by a rupee a day. This was quite an observation, considering I'm not normally money-savvy.
When I called customer service, I was informed they had 'pre-activated' an SMS offer (to me and, I believe, all their other customers) through which they would charge users a rupee a day as a result of which SMSs would be cheaper.
Now, I seldom SMS.
I asked them how they could activate an offer without my express permission! They didn't have a suitable answer.
I asked if what they had done was legal. They said it was.
I asked if they would return my money. They said they would not.
But they did offer me some advice -- I could SMS a particular number and get this 'service' disabled.
Vishwanath Chakrala, Bangalore
My niece, who is four years old and lives abroad, was in Kerala for a vacation.
I missed her terribly when I returned to Bangalore. One day, I decided to call her -- I was in the mood to tease her a little.
"Who is this?" I asked her.
"This is Caralin," she replied.
"That's nice," I said. "How are you? What did you have for breakfast?"
"I am fine. I had dosa and chutney for breakfast."
"Caralin," I asked her next, "do you know to whom you are talking to?"
"My aunt," was the prompt response.
She must have had enough of the idiotic questions. She replied firmly, "I am talking to my aunt who is speaking to me over phone now!"
Babija Paulose, Bangalore
We wanted to have some fun that day. So a group of us entered class with a toy that makes an annoyingly loud, clacking sound when you press it.
We were merrily clacking away when our professor entered and asked us to behave ourselves. He also happens to be the priest of our church and knows my father well.
There was pin-drop silence.
I was trapped. My fingers were still pressing the toy. If I released it, it would make a loud sound and my professor, who was taking the attendance, would definitely throw me out of the class.
Soon, my fingers were aching so badly that I had to interrupt his lecture on Kabir's poetry. I stood up. "Father," I begged, "can I make that sound one more time?"
His face turned red and he pointed to the door, "Get out."
Then he saw my fingers, which were still pressing hard on the toy. The class burst out laughing. My professor, too, smiled as he gave me permission to relax my fingers.
Twelve years down the line, this incident still makes me laugh.
Benny George, Kuwait
Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh