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Ever had a customer care executive refer to you as “madam” and then realize that you are a guy once he/she realizes his/her mistake? Well, for me it has been a life long (repeated) experience. So repeated that, it doesn’t even reflect on me when it happens nowadays.

 

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A 10 year old incident. Tried to keep it as it happened, word for word.

I’d just finished off my first year at engineering, and was going to spend two lovely and long months of summer holidays at home. In those days, not all of us yet had personal mobile phones or internet at home, so it was the landline(s) that was the only option for conversing.

Now my voice on the phone sounds a lot like my mother’s. (Actually my voice sounds feminine on the phone) One evening, a college batch-mate gives a call to me. I was out playing and my mom picks up the phone.

Do note, we were quite young, and the language in college was mostly expletives-ridden and considered quite normal.
The conversation goes like this –

Friend: Talli, bore ho raha hu. Kya kar raha hai.
Mom: Beta, woh bahar kehlne gaya hai.

Friend: Abe hero, masti band kar. Jain bol raha hu.
Mom: Beta, mai uski mummy bol rahi hu.

Friend: Abe g****, chup kar apni bakwaas. Mai teri awaaz janta hu. Kya ye c***** kar raha hai. (more expletives follow)
Mom: (In a stern voice) Beta, Niranjan nahi hai idhar. I’ll ask him to give you a call once he’s back.

Friend: (Realizing his mistake) umm…. Sorry aunty. (Cuts the call)

Needless to say, that friend has never called me up again at my place!

 

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On a recent Chennai trip

There are two of us sharing a cab from the guest house to the airport. I had given my number as the contact point along with my details so I get a call from the driver.

Driver: Sir, this is the cab driver, Arvind speaking. When do you want me to pick you up?
Me: Flight is at 9:30. How long does it take from Adyar to the airport?

Driver: Madam, evening traffic. I’ll reach by 6 p.m. at the guest house.
Me: (Decide not to correct him) Ok. Fine.

(Around 6 p.m.)
Driver: Madam, this is Arvind. I’m standing outside the guest house.
Me: Ok. We’ll come down.

Colleague: Did he just call you madam?
Me: Yea, it happens a lot with me. Not an issue.
Colleague: lol.

We go downstairs. We see the car parked a few blocks away. I give the driver a call.

Me: We are standing at the gate. Where are you.
Driver: Madam I am also standing opposite the gate only. I’ll get the car.

We see this chap in front of us putting his mobile in his pocket and walk towards him. He completely ignores us and walks by towards the car. We follow him. He gets into the car, reverses it and get its back in front of the guest house; all of this, while we stand astonished in the middle of the street. We again walk back towards the car and open the dicky.

Driver: Helloo, yaar neengae. Inne waeno?
(Hey, who are you? What do you want?)
Me: We are from XYZ. We only have booked the car. 

Driver: (In a confused state)But Niranjan madam, where is she? 
Colleague: (In complete splits by now)
Me: !!! I am Niranjan Prabhakar.

Driver: (Realization finally draws on him) Ok saar. Let me help you with the luggage.

 

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