Friday, November 28, 2008


Dear Friends

Here's another of those juicy pieces, which I occasionally write as a respite from academic writing. It's based upon a real incident, as much as most of these pieces often are. That's about the only 'intro' I'd like to give. You must read it to know whether there's something worth reading about in there. (Incidentally, this has been published in The Tribune, November 29, 2008 as a middle on the edit page).

Now the text of the middle:

You may wonder what this ‘e-Eavesdropping’ is all about. No, I’m certainly not saying that ‘e’ stands for ‘eavesdropping,’ which it does, but I’m sure, you don’t expect me to state the obvious, or do you?
Well, you may have heard of all sorts of e-words. Please for e’s sake, don’t get me wrong. I’m only saying, e-words, not ‘f,’ ‘g’ nor ‘h’ words. And though ‘e’ does figure in the middle of ‘swear,’ I’m certainly not using it in that sense, either. None of the ‘s’wear words, I suspect, ever begin with ‘e’ or do they?
‘E’ was known for its ‘elephantine’ associations, once. At least, that was the case when we all used to learn our alphabets. I don’t really know what children do these days. Perhaps, they have moved on to ‘e-learning,’ already.
In the past few years, ‘e’ has become a short hand for all things ‘electronic.’ So, our lives have suddenly been invaded by all kinds of hyphenated ‘e-ees,’ such as e-mail, e-transfer, e-teaching, e-shopping, e-commerce, e-management and now e-governance.
But again, I doubt if you have ever heard of e-Eavesdropping! Until very recently, I didn’t even know, it existed. But wasn’t it Nietzsche who said, if God didn’t exist, we would have had to invent one. So I simply went ahead and invented this phrase, without which I couldn’t have possibly shared this experience of mine.
One fine morning (or was it a foul one!), a message was flashed on my mobile, saying, “Wah, mukti, Kya baat hai! Life is looking rosy 4 me after that, and I hope 4 u 2.” Though I keep getting all kinds of ‘bizarre’ messages, this one seemed to beat all of them hollow. Mystified, I rolled it down to see if I knew the sender. Of course, I did. It was a friend, but with her I had no known history of ‘ex’-changing ‘coded’ messages.
Believe me, being a very ‘insipid’ person, I only send straight-‘forward’ messages, not the ‘coded’ ones. All my efforts at decoding the message failed to yield results. Even my little knowledge of literature didn’t help much. What is literature, in comparison with the mysteries of the e-world, after all?
I was wondering, when and where did I talk of either my ‘nirvana’ or hers? And what mystical experience was it that transformed both of us, all at once, leaving the fragrance of roses in the air.
I immediately checked with my diary to see who all I had met over the past week, and in what connection. I know, you’re tempted, but don’t you say ‘eeks’ now! When nothing worked, I turned to my friend for help.
Her answer was a real damper. With a single stroke, it took away all the fragrance of roses, leaving me to my dowdy pre-occupations.
Her message simply said, “Sorry, wrong number! Not meant for u.” Do you now realize what this ‘e-Eavesdropping’ is all about? And tell me, do you have a better word for whatever happened? Don’t you tell me, you aren’t ‘e’-mused!

1 comment:

  1. The "Sorry, sent it to you by mistake" comes as such a dampener at times. ;) (e-moticon :P)