Now I was fairly getting used to the working life. This is the first time I am spending 12 hours a day actually working. DIAS connection was good, I was able to get full hours of internet without the worry of raising bills and more importantly, the first customer of the days never gets impatient unlike the dialup days.
Mani came back from his native. Suresh Ramji, told him what happened and asked him to stay away from the center. But poor guy, didnt have much to do. We exchanged positions like before and he was helping me with things in the browsing center without any pay. Our friends are enjoying to the core, as the internet is free and they clearly knew the time when our owner comes and checks accounts. More number of friends came in and more number of their friends came in and after that there was good exposure and the business seemed to improve and I was kept busy.
When there is less or no customers, like the Monday afternoons, I will be staring at my yahoo messenger friend’s list, wildly hoping that she got some time to get online and send me an email. It was three months now, and there was no offline messages or email from her but still, I was waiting. Ashok, the person who was working in the nearby Xerox shop, came into the center
“Suresh Ramji is in yet?”
“Why? Till now all the people in the complex have asked for him. What is so special?”
“You don’t know?”
“He bought a new mobile. A Nokia 1100”
I was so excited. Getting a mobile phone is a dream come true. That particular mobile phone cost around 5500 Rs. And moreover, Ashok said that Ramji managed to get a BSNL number too.
Suresh Ramji never travelled in bus. He didn’t know to ride bike as well. He always rides a bicycle and rides it in such an agonizingly slow pace that we suffer the trauma caused by impatience. Finally he arrived to the center by 4.00 PM. I patiently waited my turn and I was so scared to touch the phone. If something happens there is no way I was going to pay him back. He showed me the phone and said “Prasanna! Just like you, I was so scared when I was here for the first time. I didnt know where life was going to take me. I learnt a lot and this is the first thing I wanted to buy. I bought it. Someday, you will have your own mobile phone better than this.”
“And, You can use my number if you want. Myself, Senthil Nainar and few others have joined a course nearby. We will be here every day in the evening. You can have the phone when I am in class”
I cannot believe my luck. First there was this job, then a chance to use internet for the whole time and now a better communication tool like mobile phone. I was thanking my stars. As he said, he was OK to give me the mobile, but my brother warned me thousand times while using it. And in the mean time I have emailed her about the phone and number and timings to be called.
No news for another one month. I will open the center by Nine in the morning. First person will appear by 11 or so. Then the count will gradually increase. Friends will come by evening four. Suresh Ramji will come by five o clock and leave his phone with me. The evenings will be quite dull. By eight he will pick up the call. He wont even have to check the call register. A look in my face would tell the call hadn’t come. The owner will come by nine thirty or so to settle the accounts and I will be home by ten.
Then it was November and started raining. I love rains. For some reason, rain makes me happy. The bajji’s, the aroma, rain takes us all to a different world altogether. Ramji, Senthil and My brother was in the center. As it was raining heavily, they had bunked the classes. When they are around there is no dearth to laughter and leg pulling. Senthil was playing “The Snake” game in Ramji’s mobile. I didnt bother because I have almost given up the hope of getting a call.
They went down to have a cup of tea. As nobody was there to replace me I stayed upstairs. These are small small things, I missed. The owner had asked me not to leave Mani in center because he may refuse one or two typing orders that came by. It was kind of harsh, but I was not able to do anything. Five minutes later, Senthil came running to me and gasping for air.
He didnt say anything but showed me the phone, the number was already on. It started like +91424.. I grabbed the phone and said “hello?”
“Is it not your phone? I thought you bought one” that was the voice I was waiting to hear for so many days. And it is there. She must have come to browsing to know my number. But why didnt I see her online? Yeah! I was stupidly watching the rain.
“I am sorry, my friend was playing with it. How are you?”
“Good! Just came to browsing and sent lot of messages to you.”
“No I dont have a mobile. In yahoo”
“Sorry! I was not in seat”
“Ok I will cut now. This is a PCO and queue is building behind me”
“Its not even a minute”
“Who said? Ask your friend, he asked all the stupid questions like how am I related to you and all. I spent 6 rs already”
“So what did you say?”
“How we are related?”
I could only hear a giggle on the other side and it was disconnected. Now I have a new reason to like rain more. I just ran in to check my yahoo messenger. I should be logged in. How did she didnt see me online then?”
When I opened it, mani’s login was in messenger. I was so angry.
“Next time you sit there and you will not step in here. Am I clear?”
“Sorry da! But mind your words. I am the reason for you to sit there today”
I just logged in and saw her offline messages. It was only five. She said that she had a best friend who got mobile and may be they will be studying together from five to eight. May be the friend will let her use the mobile. And may be if I am free I can message and may be she will revert.
And I danced the way to home that day.
For Episode 1 Click here
For Episode 2 Click Here