MIDWAY : The last laugh

Abhaya Raj Joshi:

The phone rang and I picked it up. The speaker asked about a person whom I had no clue about. “Wrong number!” I responded. That was all I can remember about that call.

Few weeks later this became a joke for my little brother. “I called you up and you could not recognise my voice. Ha! Ha!” he said. “Unlike you, I am pretty good at recognising people’s voice,” he added. I told myself that no one would care about the identity of a caller who calls at the wrong number. I thought I would teach my little brother a lesson. I decided to wait for some time so that he forgets all about it. Few months later, while I was watching a comical soap with telephone conversations being the butt of its jokes, I picked up a trick and decided to try it on the bragger who was so confident about his ability to recognise people by their voice.

The stage was set and after dinner, while my family was watching TV, I thought this would be the right time because most probably he would be doing the same. I cautioned every one in the room not to laugh and I dialled his number. “Hello,” he said after picking up the phone. Having changed my voice and covered my mouth with towel, I said, “ Congratulations! I am calling from a FM station and you have won a gift hamper.” For a moment he got confused and asked his mother if she had participated in any contests. Breaking the silence, I again said, “Congrats, please come to our office to collect your prize.”

Call it luck or mere intuition, his good day or my bad one, he recognised my voice and told me to give up playing the prank. Embarrassed at being caught off guard, I quickly put down the phone. But I was not the one to give it up so easily. Again, after a few months I got a new idea. The ploy was to act as a person from Nepal Telecom to see whether the phone lines were working or not. Thinking that he would recognise me if I called in the evening, I called him up in the morning.

“Hello, I am calling from NT,” I said. My brother picked up the phone. I heard some one saying, “Who is it?” in the background. “Who else could it be other than dada trying to fool me again?” he snapped and banged the phone down. I too hung up, beating a retreat. I could hardly believe that a bright kid of twelve had outsmarted me. I thought he was too good for me and decided to give up the mission for the time being. But I know, someday or the other I will succeed in my mission to hoodwink my brother for at least once. That is when I will have a last laugh.