The Guessing Game – III
“Hello, Anshuman, how’re you doing, fella?” asks a male voice. I wonder who could it be now, but can’t place him.
“Can you guess who’s speaking?” and then there is a pregnant silence.
Oh, no. No more of guessing games! “Well .. at the moment, I am ….” I begin.
“Good, very good, yaar. You’re a real friend.”
“May I know who … …”
“He, he, he,” he laughs exultingly as if he has floored his opponent at a high powered quiz contest and resumes, “Now you know who is on the line. I mean you would know from the way I laugh.”
“But you see … ….” I am getting desperate.
“Funny, isn’t it? Anyway, I’ll give you a clue: two years ago, we briefly met at a cinema hall. I wouldn’t tell you the name of the movie, or else you’ll be bang on spot in a jiffy.”
Crazy blighter! As if I were dying to guess his blasted name.
My brain is in a whirr. My nerves are splintered, my temples are throbbing and I don’t know what to do.
I hear myself shout: “Oh, I’m sorry I couldn’t recognise you from your voice. You’re G. M. Latooria, I mean Ghasita Mal Latooria. Well, I’ve given up on drugs long ago. I’m now absolutely ‘clean.’ Yes, believe me. I’ve been fully rehabilitated. I have stopped smacking completely! Sorry, I don’t need to buy heroin anymore.”
The phone goes dead promptly.
I don’t know who he really was. Obviously, he was one of the friends whom I had not met, nor talked to on phone for a long time. Perhaps, I had been brutally rude to him and hurt him, whereas he was only trying to show his affection. However, what would you have done in my situation?
Anyway, the voice which I christened as Ghasita Mal Latooria has not bothered me again and I don’t think it will. But there can be another Ghasita Mal Latooria who might ring up some morning, and ask me to guess his name. Who knows? I bet, there is no dearth of Latoorias in the world!
(The Author, Subhash Chandra is a former Associate Professor of English, University of Delhi)