I have been trying to speak to a friend in South India on the telephone without any success the last two weeks. Every time I called, I would get a message that his phone was switched off. My imagination working overtime, I finally spoke to him yesterday by getting another mutual friend to go over to his place to get him to call me back.
My friend’s phone has really been switched off for the most unusual of reasons. He has been getting calls from parents of prospective brides wanting to speak to the person who had advertised in the classified matrimonial advertisement columns in a popular South Indian news paper. My friend a male of my age happily married the last almost half a century with no one else in the family looking for a bride, just got fed up with so many calls coming, kept his phone switched off and trooped up to the newspaper’s office to complain.
Two Sundays ago, Sundays are when the matrimonial ads appear, a very alluring ad had indeed been inserted by parents of a very eligible bachelor looking for a bride, giving a telephone number to contact instead of the usual post box number. The problem was that the number had a different last digit, a printer’s devil. One digit made all the difference.
The inside story is that the original advertiser noticed the error only after a whole week had gone by as the last digit that got changed was 7 instead of 1. That person had also come to the newspaper’s office to get a rectification which the paper had readily agreed to by inserting another ad free of charge but that could happen only the next Sunday.
In the meanwhile, every time my friend switched on the phone, he would get calls from anxious parents of girls wanting to know why the phone had been switched off!
My friend doesn’t know when he will stop getting calls from anxious parents! He has now got himself another phone connection and that number is now being passed along among all his contacts.