Monday, September 23, 2013

A Letter to the Previous Owner of MY Mobile Number

[Update: This post was selected as the BlogHer Voice Of the Year Post 2014.]

Dear Latania,

(I hope I spelled your name correctly - I tried to decipher the spelling phonetically from how you are addressed in calls and voice mails. Your texting friends, don't write your name.)

Let me first introduce myself. I am Yuvika and have had the great (mis)fortune of owning the mobile number that you previously had. It has been a year and not a single week (or rather fortnight actually) has gone by that I haven't regretted wondered at my luck of getting this very number from T-mobile. Such events in my life re-affirm my otherwise non-existent faith in karma

Anyways, coming back to the subject of this letter. From what I notice, you have not bothered to inform anybody - friends, family, ex-es, banks, credit card associations, health teams - that you have changed your number or are no longer available on this number. With the result, I very humbly have taken down all the information various stakeholders/parties wanted to share with you. 

So just in case you have been searching the Internet for information on your personal life, I hope you find this blog post and there's an archaic Indian-English way of saying this, "Hope this letter finds you in the pink of health." :D.

Without delaying your agony further, here are the updates from the past one year in chronological order (mostly). 
  • A friend of yours and her mother wanted to have you over for thanksgiving last year. They said they knew you'd be bored and without company, hence the invite. Sorry, I don't remember the name from the voice mail. I was recovering from post-partum blues and hence my concentration was elsewhere. (Note 1: I fail to understand how people can leave a voice message for someone else on my personalized voice mail :()
  • I think you are part of some mass messaging group. I got 43 messages wishing you a happy new year. You sure must have had a great new year. But, sadly you won't get these wishes anymore because, I tracked down the original mass sender's mobile number and let "her" know that you are no longer available on this number.
  • Mark called to wish you a happy new year too. He has an incredibly sexy voice and when I told him this number was not yours, he so very courteously apologized. In his gorgeously husky baritone, he said, "I am so very sorry  but nevertheless a very happy new year to you too. Have a great one." Awww. Only that day, I didn't mind (so much) having this number ;).
  • The Delta Skymiles Credit Card customer care has been trying to reach you forever. I get atleast one call per week from them. From the voice mails they leave, looks like you have a long overdue payment. When I do happen to attend the call, the agents (mostly females) are quite curt and icy in their mannerisms. I think they do not believe me when I say I don't know you. I no longer attend calls from that number now. And because the customer care is soo freakin' rude, am glad you haven't paid them. They are dumb too, if they have still not found an alternate way to reach you.
  • All through the winter months, the NoVa school community board kept me updated about when the district schools were closed because of the snow and when they were reopening. No, I don't have school-going children of my own, but my husband found these early morning texts very useful in order for him to decide his POA for the day.
  • Your ex-husband called about a week back. (Note 2: I must say the "calling" men in your life have good baritones.) He did not leave a message with me and was rather in a hurry to cancel the call (quite unusual from your usual callers who seem to have a lot of time and inclination for polite chatter).
  • Two of your girlfriends sent you an MMS with their picture outside Macy's in Times Square, New York - the accompanying message was, We Miss You! I wanted to text them back saying that the picture quality was very poor and it's no longer very hep to get clicked outside that particular Macy's. Maybe, I missed an intended personal memory or joke.
  • A friend of yours sent you lengthy texts about how her cousin's mom was not being treated well at her old age home and she was looking at alternatives. I thought I should reply back, so I did - very politely telling them I was not the intended recipient. She stopped sending the texts, but did not thank me. I am slightly offended.
  • Your dentist's office called - you are apparently due for your annual checkup. I told them your teeth were doing great and you no longer needed their services.
  • And finally, in the last 48 hours, I have received 8 automated calls from Bank of America, all with the message, "There has been an unusual activity in your Bank of America debit card." I suggest you contact them, before this unintended unusual activity becomes usual.

Apart from all of this, I also get a lot of random calls asking for you but my apologies, I have no updates or details from any of them. I am sure you will find it in your heart to forgive me.

As and when, I have more information to share, I will write to you again.

Yours sincerely,
The current owner of your previous mobile number.

Monday, September 9, 2013

30 Lessons for 30 Years

Let's come straight to the point. I turned 30 last week.

Hawwwww. But, I did :(. THIRTY. I am officially old. Booohooo. Or wait, should I just take Frost at face value - "Time and Tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of thirty."

Now, I could have done a post on why turning 30 sucks - but nobody would be interested in that. EVERYBODY knows turning 30 SUCKS! And I do have my reasons already listed out here. I could have done a feel good post, how I still feel only 18, but then that would be only trying too hard. I already bid adieu to my 20's here

So, I thought as I come to terms with the big number, why not list down the lessons I have learnt as I have grown up (though that itself is questionable) - some the hard way, and some a little more easily. (No surprises that there is one lesson for each year :D.)
P.S. Ofcourse these lessons are not all saintly - they are practical and meant for "normal" human beings. After all, not every monk wants to sell his Ferrari!

1. Age is nothing but a number. And, you can play with numbers. Subtract, divide, erase - do as you please.

2. Ditto as (1) above, weight is also nothing but a number. And, btw, the years of wisdom need some display area!

3. You will spend your teens and early 20s swearing that your parents "just don't get it". And a couple of years later, as if almost magically, appreciation and understanding for all that they did and didn't do, will magically descend on you. Suddenly, spending vacations and all your "free time" with parents will become the coolest thing ever! 

4. As the years pass, friends will become harder to come by. Your 4 am and anytime friends will continue to be your school or college pals.

5. All that hurry in high school years to try on the latest mascara, eyeliner, nail paint is needless. Make-up can wait. It will sooner than later even become a little necessary on certain occasions :D.

6. You get over school and college crushes sooner than you know - those helpless tears were indeed not worthily spent. And that was surely not heart break! The biggest proof of this will be as you will find yourself "liking" (very genuinely) each other's spouse's and baby's pics on FB ;).
[Afterthought: I think I am going to invite trouble on this one, but, like my 8 year old nephew says it, who cares!]

7. There's not much fun in watching a movie with your own money, with people the whole world knows you are with, and when you can check-in on Twitter and FB. Nothing beats the ecstasy of siphoning off money from mom, bunking a class and then tiptoeing into a movie hall with "questionable" company, while all the time keeping your fingers crossed that no family, teachers or neighbors spot you! 

8. All things sugar and sweet, however good, get boring. Spice is a necessity of life. All spice, without sugar? Not many would complain ;).

9. Tears is not a sign of weakness. Nor is being emotionless a sign of strength.

10. While having a Plan B is a great idea for continuity and sanity - the only problem is that most often than not those with a good Plan B often give up Plan A very easily.

11.  In our race to get everything done, we sometimes don't spend adequate time doing things that actually matter. It is good to always have priorities, and keep re-evaluating them. You cannot do everything all the time without being unfair to yourself.

12. Your most embarrassing moment is yet to come. Everything that happened till today is forgettable and forgivable.

13. When somebody asks for help, give all you've got. If you need help, take all they've got.

14. Everybody is innocent, till proven otherwise. Take your chances, make your own judgments, nurse your own hurts, create your own experiences.

15. Forget easily. Nobody and nothing is worth it.

16. Forgive at your own pace. You are worth a lot more.

17.  It is difficult to please everyone. Somebody is going to get offended, somebody is not going to like you and many will hate you. Too bad. Their loss. You need to keep true to yourself and love unconditionally the people that matter.

18. There's always another side, another perspective to the story. The picture is never complete. Allow for malleability in your thoughts, opinions and views. Rigidity is your greatest enemy.

19. Everything is prone to change: your feelings, your clothes, your relationships, your goals - adapt and go with the flow - keep your optimism intact.

20. It is okay to "not know". Nobody knows everything, and there's a reason why Google has such a powerful search engine.

21. Tomorrow never comes. NEVER. It mysteriously disappears on the day of its impending arrival. Don't plan anything for tomorrow.

22. Indulgences - every once in a while - as often as they make you feel good - are totally worth it.

23. If you want to buy a dress or a pair of jeans that you really really like. Buy it now. Don't wait to lose a size or two before buying - because, you know it's never going to happen. [Also, refer point 2 above.]

24. Water is the elixir of life (though, good wine might come a close second). Drink lots of it.

25. If someone happens to cross your mind, thoughts or dreams, reach out to them. No, it's not weird, it's not stalking, and it's surely not being desperate. It's called keeping in touch, and do it even if it has been years since you connected.

26. Day dreaming is the ultimate panacea for all ailments - a bad day, a sour mood - imagine your favorite place, your favorite person, imagine doing something scandalous, imagine living out your most romantic or adventurous novel or movie. It will all be okay, again.

27. Let everybody have a say. You don't have to agree with what they say, but defend their right to say it!

28. Eat dessert for breakfast, main course for lunch, and salad for dinner - The only way you can reasonably scrape through middle age without a humongous midriff and without any grave cravings left unfulfilled.

29. One great plus of growing "older" is that you become more secure about your individuality. You can fearlessly claim that you love the latest tapori bollywood number, wear ill-fitting, out of fashion denims, refuse to go with the majority, without having to worry that somebody would be judging you. The need to explain yourself begins to disappear.

30. There's so much grief in the world, there are so many unfortunate people - your sorrows are trivial when you compare them to those that other people are suffering from - spare a thought for them, count your blessings, and thank someone up there (or someone you believe in) who has been taking fairly good care of you.


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