Saturday, January 31, 2009

Two callers I’ll never forget...

“Hi, My name is Kevin and I’m calling on behalf of Sprint Wireless. Your number has been selected to get a free cell phone.”

The voice at the other end answered, “Oh, is it? Where are you based, Kevin?” There was a very nasty emphasis on ‘Kevin’.

Edgily, I answered, “We’re based just out of Las Vegas.”

“Where? In a hut in Las Vegas?”

A Pause.

“Tell me, ‘Mr. Kevin’ do you live a hut in Las Vegas?”

I froze. He swore, uttered a racial comment and hung up.

That was my first day in the office. Two and a half years back.

      I remember one more caller vividly. I was working as a Tech Support for Microsoft then.

He asked , “What’s your name?”

“Kevin” I replied.

He said, “Tell me your real name, Kevin?”

“Ayyappan”

“Aay-aaph-an” He repeated.

“Correct”. I winced.

“It’s such a lovely name. I wonder why did you choose something as boring as ‘Kevin’.” There was an emphasis on Kevin this time as well.

“I am so happy that I am speaking with someone from India. I want to take this opportunity to apologise to you for what we are doing to your people and the rest of the world.”

“Er.. I don’t think you need to apologise. India is unaffected by the war on terror” I replied.

“You’re trying to be nice. But I know, deep down, you hate us. I am speaking on behalf of all the Americans. We’ve elected a stupid bigot for a President and trust me, we Americans are not hate mongers. And we do not support the ‘War’ on terror.” There was an emphasis on ‘War’ this time.

“Na Naah. You get me wrong. I don’t hate America. In fact, I love America and Indians look upto her.” I replied. If this wasn’t digressing enough, this guy had a poor knowledge of geography. Mumbai and Baghdad were miles apart.

“No Son, you misunderstand. You must the age of my grandson. Aren’t you 20 something?”

“I’m 23” I replied, wondering where was this leading.

“Britain tried to be the guardian of the World and it went broke. Now, America it trying to do the same and look where it got us. I wish they left people to lead their own lives. Sometimes, I feel that the world would've been a much better place without us.”

“I still stand by what I said. America is a nation the whole world looks upto.”

“I don’t know what the future will be but I am deeply distressed. This is not the first time I’m speaking with someone from India. But this may well be the last time so I am taking this opportunity to tell a fellow human that I am sorry for the misdeeds of my country. I have terminal cancer and the doctor has given me a few weeks to live. Do well in life and may God bless you.”

I managed to mumble some words of comfort but he had already hung up.

10 Grumblings:

Sikander Fayyaz Khan said...

See Kevin, the thing is people have now such a generalized view of American public which is obviously based on the governmenent policies, that they wont accept apologies of such nice people like the grand pa. I mean try telling that to an Iraqi, and he'll probably hurl a show back at you. :p

First it was imperialism, and now American pig headedness which has destroyed the world. Personally I simply admire America and Americans for their achievements, though Bush tried his best to make me hate them, but he failed.

Anand said...

Death puts everything into perspective. I personally know a person who is terminally ill and I tell you such people really view the world so different from the way you see.

Your post might be on the differing views on non-Americans by Americans., but for me the two people show how human would view the same world when he knows his life time is limited and when he does not..

ayyo.... said...

@Siku
I dislike this generalisation but we too fall prey to it sometimes. People are always nice. I cannot hate a whole race or nation for the acts of a warmonger.
And you have summed it beautifully.

ayyo.... said...

@Anand
That was an amazing observation you made about the two people's outlook towards life.
I cannot agree more with the fact that a person who has little time becomes wiser.
A Shantaram Quote for you,
"A wise man has but two seconds to live."

:)

Kat said...

Generally in business, it's best to steer clear of these topics that can never be conclusive or decisive.

Agree with Anand, when the countdown has started, things are viewed pretty differently..!!!

ayyo.... said...

@Kat
These kind of conversations were inevitable for us in Tech support. We used to be on a call for 2-3 hours and sometimes, more. In order to break the monotony, we used to engage in small talks and I was a sucker for political talk.. :D
Now looking back, I can recall many more such instances...

meerasworld said...

Very interesting post. Most of the general population’s knowledge of geography is poor ,to my understanding. Like you said, AIYRAQ and India are just a street across from each other.J.I guess that is because for Americans, other than America, nothing else really matters .but I love their sense of patriotism.
Talking about Bush, there was this very funny label saw on cars during the time of election. One was this- ‘vote the son of a Bush out’.
Have you seen the movie Borat? A rather weird movie with a very dry sense of humour. In that the character is saying-I support the president’s war OF terror.

ayyo.... said...

@Meera
AIYRAQ it seems...! I did not know that they were very patriotic.
Hehe..the label on the car was funny..! :D :D
It was a War OF terror actually.. :P
Was Borat a nice movie though?? :)

meerasworld said...

if you want to just laugh,then watch that movie:)sometimes it might look like cheap fun,but neverthless, you can laugh:)

ketki said...

is this fiction?