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Tring Tring...Who's there?

Image courtesy www.freerangestock.com

Paul Dixit was a compulsive addict. His addiction - mobile phones, especially smart phones. He spent a considerable chunk of his monthly salary buying the latest mobile phones. His wife Devi, on the other hand, was the complete opposite. She too had a mobile phone, but only by compulsion. At Paul’s coercion, she too had bought a smart phone. It was an Apple iPhone 5s. Though everyone she met went gaga over the phone, it did not tickle Devi’s fancy at all. According to her, a phone only needed a few features - Make phone calls, send short messages and occasionally set the alarm. Anything beyond that was an unnecessary facet, and she just did not care. But when Paul insisted on getting her the very latest in smartphones, she dropped her standards, and let him get her a state-of-the-art phone. The trouble now, was that she had no idea of how to go about using this piece of junk. And to make matters worse, the sim card was a different one. She had tried to fit the new sim card into her old phone, and it just slid through and rattled about in the slot.

When he “gifted” her the phone, Paul had promised to spend some time over the weekend helping her get accustomed to the new phone. However in typical Paul fashion, come Saturday morning, he was suddenly required in Frankfurt, and he left on the very next flight. This left Devi in quite a pickle, since she did not have a clue with regards to using this shiny new equipment. Since Devi was predominantly home  during the weekend, she could continue to use the land phone. "The real problem would be on Monday morning, when I get to work", she thought. "Hopefully someone at work can help me with it." Monday mornings were a nightmarish affair for Devi. It always had been, and this particular Monday morning was no different. To make matters a bit more complicated, their son’s nanny had pulled a sickie, which meant eight year old Arnav was alone at home. Though Devi’s neighbour, Mrs. Jain, had promised to pop-by, every hour or so, Devi knew that she shouldn’t have left him alone. But with her boss breathing down her neck demanding a finalised projection report before lunch time, she had no other alternative but to go to work, at least for a few hours till she got the report sorted. “I’ll just keep calling Arnav every hour to make sure he is alright” she thought. She had asked their friendly security guy, Ramu kaka, to keep an eye on Arnav as well.
As Monday morning wore on, Devi found herself drowning under the workload. Things got worse when her Managing Director, Mr. Tiwari, called for an impromptu all-hands-on-deck meeting in the board room, during lunch. She checked the time on her watch. It was 1:15 pm. As she walked into the meeting, she wondered if Arnav would have had lunch. The meeting room was packed and she noted that everyone, except Mr. Tiwari was present. “I’ll just make a quick phone call before he gets here” thought Devi, and took out her phone. She glanced at the screen of her new phone, unsure what to do next. For the love of god, she couldn’t find a phone icon. And this god-forsaken item did not have many buttons either, much less anything that resembled a phone symbol. As she sat there fiddling with the side-buttons of her phone, Devi failed to notice Mr. Tiwari enter the room. Unfortunately for her, Mr. Tiwari did see her playing with the phone. “Ah, the new iPhone I see, Devi. Looks like we’re paying you too much again!” he exclaimed loudly, from across the room. Embarrassed, Devi put the phone away into the depths of her handbag. “Why am I worried?” she thought. “Our numbers are programmed into the landline unit’s speed dial. Arnav will call us if there was anything urgent."
As the meeting dragged on, Devi could feel her eyes start to get heavy. Suddenly she heard a distant buzzing. It sounded like a very large mosquito, a few meters away from her ear. She glanced around to see if anyone had noticed. Nobody else had seemed to notice it. She dismissed it  nonchalantly. The buzzing continued, and Devi just tuned it out.
Ten minutes later, when the meeting finally ended, Devi jumped up from her chair. She decided that it was high time she checked up on her son. As she carefully dug her phone out from the abyss of her hand bag, she noticed that the screen was already lit up. 38 missed calls, said the message on the screen. All from a private number. At first she panicked. Then slowly her sensible part prevailed and she decided to check it out in detail.  She somehow managed to unlock the screen and clicked on the icon which had the number 38 superscripted in bold, red font on it. She looked at the time of the first call. It was at 1:50pm. The last call from the number was at 2 pm, a few minutes back. 38 missed calls in 10 mins! She wondered what was going on. Something was wrong. She immediately dialled the home number to check on Arnav. There was no answer. She tried the number again. The result was the same. No answer. She could feel trickles of sweat starting to build up on her forehead, inspite of the air conditioning running on full blast. She dialled Mrs. Jain’s number. She answered on the first ring. Talking to Mrs. Jain, Devi felt like she was having a panic attack. Apparently Mrs. Jain had to leave the building to post an urgent letter, and she had just returned. On her way back, she had stopped by Devi’s apartment to check on Arnav. But inspite of ringing the door bell numerous times, she did not get an answer. She had just stopped by her own flat to get the spare keys to Devi’s, when the phone rang. On Devi’s request, Mrs. Jain opened up their flat and checked it thoroughly. Arnav was no where to be found. Arnav was missing!   Devi felt the brand new iPhone slip from her hand and hit the floor with a resonating crash. Almost immediately a series of “WHY”  enveloped her thoughts:
“Why did I have to let Paul get me a new phone? I have no idea how to use one of these."
"Why didn’t I stick to my old phone? That way I could have just made the call home to Arnav before the meeting, without having to fiddle with this useless piece of smart junk. “ "Why did the phone not ring? I never put my phone on silent! I don’t know how to!”
She thought of calling Paul. He would know what to do. He had given her a local Frankfurt mobile number to call him on. She dialled his number. Almost immediately an automated voice on the other end explained first in German, then in heavily accented English, that the mobile number was switched off. By now, Devi was starting to hyper-ventilate. Her son was missing. Her husband was unreachable.  And the number that had called her, was a private unknown number. She feared the worst for her son. What if he was kidnapped? As she fought to hold back her tears, she heard the buzzing noise again. It was coming from her iPhone which was now face down on the floor. She picked it up. “Private number calling!” said the flashing message on the screen. She slowly pressed the green highlighted “Answer” button on the screen.
“Mrs. Dixit?” said the calm, monotonous voice on the other end of the line. “Yes…who is this?” stammered Devi, almost losing complete control of her senses now. She could feel the anxiety getting to her. “Please listen carefully” said the emotionless voice of the faceless caller. “Who is this? What do you want? Do you have my son?” stuttered Devi, now almost dreading what was about to come next. “ Mrs. Dixit, this is Manish calling from The Bank of the World. You’ve been pre-approved for a platinum credit card. Would you be interested ?” Devi closed her eyes in disbelief, clutched her brand new iPhone and threw it out the office window.
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. We give out creative writing prompts each weekend for Indian bloggers. This week the prompt was to use the phrases 38 missed calls in 10 mins! She wondered what was going on. I've highlighted the afore mentioned phrase in red to indicate where it has been used.

Kindly note:

I intend no offence against any tele-callers who may be reading this, or any of you who may know someone who have been unfortunate enough to do the job, or if you have previously done the tele-marketing/caller role. It too is a job that pays the bills.

For those of you who were wondering what happened to Arnav, he is safe and sound. Paul returned early from Frankfurt, and he was surprised to find Arnav home alone. So he took him out to McDonalds for a nice meal and some much needed father-son bonding time.  As for Devi's phone not ringing, remember the time when she was fiddling with the side buttons of her phone in the meeting room? She inadvertently slid the button on the side which put the phone into vibrate mode.

http://forum.blogadda.com/discussion/222/wow-whats-going-on

Smart Suraksha can help save you

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As she panted up the stairs of the partly constructed building, Ramya wondered if she’d made a mistake. The rapidly catching up foot steps  from the floors below did not give her the liberty of time required for straight thinking, and she continued climbing, taking 2 steps at once, in order to leave some gap between her pursuers and herself. Image courtesy www.freerangestock.com

As she skipped up the 11th floor, she saw a rather large block of wood cordoning off the entrance into that section. All she could see was pitch dark blackness. There were no lights or lamps from this floor onwards, and she had to make a decision quickly. She strained her  eyes to try and identify a suitable hiding place amongst all the construction rubble. All she could see was an infinite expanse of blackness. She strained her ears to try and locate the loud sounds that her pursuers' boots were making against the cement stairs. They still seemed to be a few floors below her. "Probably the 6th floor”, she thought.

“Maybe I should hide here” she thought “If I can’t see anything, probably they can’t either”. As she stood there contemplating her way out, as if by magic, the clouds suddenly parted to reveal a glowing full moon, which quickly bathed the entire building in light. She panicked. Hiding here was no longer an option. But I can try and throw them off track to buy some time” she mused. As she looked back beyond the cordoned area, she noticed a number of huge metal drums. Slowly an idea formed in her mind.

She quickly picked up the wooden block and threw it with all the force she could muster, into the rows of metal drums. As the wood collided with the metal drums, loud clangs reverbertaed around the building. She was sure they’d heard them too. She heard them stop, now just a couple of floors below her, and exchange a few confused questions, trying to ascertain her position. She took off her heeled footwear, and quickly climbed up to the next floor. The moon had gone back into hiding again, and she could only hope that there were more metal drums on this floor as well. She listened out for footsteps. All she could hear were the two men whispering something. She could also see the odd flashes of light from their torches a few floors below. Looked like they hadn’t moved from the 9th floor yet.

She took one of her precious heeled shoes, and threw it into the black abyss of the 12th floor. It too made a loud clang as it crashed into a metal drum. She skipped up to the next floor, and repeated the same with her other shoe. That should confuse them for a bit, especially when they see my shoes” she thought as she bounded up the remaining stairs to the 14th and final floor. The 14th floor was an open area with absolutely nothing in it. Just meters and feet of an open expanse of space. As she stood there wondering what to do next, she could hear footsteps rushing up the stairs below her. She knew it wouldn’t be long before they caught up with her. "And then….." Ramya shuddered to even think about what could happen next. She took out her phone and looked at the screen. There was a single bar showing minimum range. She knew from experience that it wasn’t enough to make a phone call. She knew it was enough to send an sms. But she did not have the time to type out a message.

Fighting back tears, she ran quickly to the farthest corner of the floor. She suddenly wished she had listened to Arjun, her fiancé. She suddenly wished she had listened to all her colleagues. She suddenly wished she had listened to all her friends. All of them had repeatedly told her about a new app “Smart Suraksha" which could have potentially saved her from the two rogues who were now menacingly walking towards her from the other corner of the floor.

The app could have alerted five of her pre-listed contacts and the police via a single touch which would trigger an sms, with her location and whereabouts. And even one bar of signal would have been sufficient for that. Suddenly "she wished she had Smart Suraksha with her", to get her out of her predicament.

She peered over the wall of the building and noticed a large pile of hay on the ground along with the some other construction materials. She glanced at the two behemoths, making lewd gestures and grinning as they inched closer to her by the second. Seeing no other option, she quickly climbed atop the short wall, and faced her tormentors for what she hoped would be the last time. Mouthing an obscenity at them, she took a giant leap of faith. If she landed on the hay as she’d hoped, she could still escape with minor bruises. If she missed, she’d be reduced to pulp. "Better that than be stripped off all my dignity" she thought. As gravity accelerated her free fall, she closed her eyes and could almost hear Arjun say “I wish she had Smart Suraksha with her”. "Yes", she thought, “ I wish I had Smart Suraksha with me!”

Disclaimer: This is a work of realistic fiction - i.e. I’ve used real life scenarios to develop this piece. For the record, if ever in trouble, my dear ladies, please use the Smart Suraksha app; If all fails, and you’re been attacked by a man, remember that a knee to the above-mentioned man’s groin will buy you a lot of valuable minutes. Under no circumstances, do I advocate jumping off the building. And for the record, Ramya did manage to fall into the stack of hay and escaped with minor bruises. And yes, she downloaded the "Smart Suraksha" app!

The app can be downloaded for Android phones via : Google Play here unnamed

I am participating in the Seeking Smart Suraksha contest at BlogAdda.com in association with Smart Suraksha App.

Stay Safe everyone !