|Image courtesy: grinningplanet.com|
It all started around the time the ICC Cricket World Cup was being played. Like most of the other companies around, my company also decided to do a consumer promotion. After much thought and deliberation we decided to innovatively name it – Good Luck India.
I had no clue that a seemingly innocuous promo was actually a harbinger of terrible times. The promo promised a series of prizes for people who sent unique and interesting good luck wishes to the Indian team through our newspaper. All went well till we realized that we were actually not equipped to give away the prizes on time. Queries poured in from all possible sources of communication and my desk phone rang incessantly until eventually, a colleague went berserk and yanked the phone line out. The worst however, was yet to come.
On May 8, as I lay dog tired in a small hotel in Patna, my mobile phone rang. The person on the other side introduced himself as Sanjay. Here’s how the conversation went (translated from Hindi)-
Hello.. who is this?
Sir , it’s me - Sanjay!
This introduction was to become the opening line of several such conversations in the time to come.
Sir ! It’s me! I won your Good Luck India contest!
That’s great Sanjay, Congratulations!
Thank you sir.. but I am still to get my prize… I was to get it 2 weeks ago..
I know.. there has been some delay.. but don’t worry, you will be informed when the prizes arrive and you’ll get what you have won.
Sir, I am very passionate about contests. Right from my childhood I have been participating in contests!
Wow Sanjay ji! Very good. I will have to go now..
Sir, I have won contests in The Times of India, Dainik Jagran and also several radio channels..
yup.. great.. but..
And sir, once I was taken on air by a radio channel where I was interviewed since I had won so many contests.. I love contests sir!
Great Sanjay ji.. You will get your prize.. but I will have to hang up right now..
Sir, I work during the day and prepare for various contests in the evenings.
Very very good Sanjay ji.. I am proud of you. But I have to end this call now.. Good night.
Although I was quite harassed by the call, I called up a friend and joked about the ‘Serial Contest Winner’ to lighten my mood and get some sleep.
Sanjay- the serial contest winner has been stalking me on phone ever since. He calls from different numbers and greets me with the familiar- “Sir, it’s me .. Sanjay!” Every single time.
Three days ago, I decided to end this forever. I waited all day for Sanjay to call. I answered all the calls on my landline and mobile and just as I was running out of steam, he called-
Sir , it’s me - Sanjay!
Hi Sanjay.. let me tell you that I am no longer associated with this or any other contest that the newspaper does . I said it all in one breath.
But why sir? What happened?
Well, You see.. I have moved on .. I no longer work for the newspaper.
So which newspaper have you moved to?
I didn’t expect this question. Seemed like a trap to me.
NONE! , I yelled. I have moved to a radio channel!
Do you work as an RJ there? What about contests in the radio channel? I am sure there are some !
I panicked, disconnected the call and turned my phone off. I had used the last arrow from my quiver and had failed to make an impact. Sanjay was clearly my nemesis.
It’s been over 72 hours since Sanjay last called. I know he is out there somewhere.. My phone is ringing , must be him.. I must flush it down the toilet drain. Ciao.