Reading Time: 7 minutes



“Can you pass me my mobile please?” Sudha Tai asked her son, Suresh. Sudha Tai Pradhan had just got up from her bed and forgotten her mobile on the table, next to her bed. She was now preparing tea for herself and her husband. The old couple always got up at 6 a.m. Just after finishing brushing and morning duties, Sudha Tai usually had a look at her WhatsApp account. To answer her messages received during the night after she retired to bed the previous night and before she had her morning tea at the dining table, Sudha Tai would have a cursory glance at her WhatsApp account while making tea. Mentally, getting ready to reply to every message, as soon as she finished her tea, she would get lost in the most important task of the day. Good morning messages had to be responded with an emoji of thumbs Up or folded hands. Any news item about the members of her friend circle who were not on the WhatsApp group had to be noted down carefully. Any song item had to be responded to with comments such as ‘Too Good’, ‘very nice, “melodious” etc. Luckily for Sudha Tai, the group had banned political comments and no political comments were circulating in her group.

After finishing the most urgently needed actions for the day, Sudha  Tai would look into other routines, not so important matters of the kitchen such as breakfast, planning lunch, etc. While performing any of these activities, the mobile had to be within the reach of her hand so that any phone call from the very important person such as Mrs. Salvi, Mrs. Ranganathan, Mrs. Malhotra, Mrs. Ghosh, Mrs. Shaikh, etc. can be attended to immediately. Sudha Tai used to make it a point that she would pick up the call before the third ring started. And sometimes such conversations used to get extended into tens of minutes, even beyond half an hour discussing paramount issues. Sometimes, the dish cooking on the fire would get burnt and the Pradhan family had to suffer the effects of the misbehavior of the new daughter-in-law in the Malhotra family.

Mr. Pradhan’s attachment to the phone was no less. He used to discuss ongoing cricket matches for hours with his friends. If cricket was out of season, other sports such as tennis, hockey, or even film songs, etc. were the topics to continue long sessions.

Suresh, typical of his teenage, was stuck to mobile throughout the day. In the mornings he was attending online classes. Afternoons were reserved for online sessions of college. And in the evenings, he was hooked up to friends. Late evenings were only for special friends.

Thus mobile was the most important factor of Pradhan’s family as was the case with most of the nuclear families.

And one day, the entire network went out of operation.

“Oh my God! What a calamity! How will we live through the day? ” Mrs. Pradhan, Sudha Tai expressed her anguish. All the members of the Pradhan family were extremely upset. They all were disconsolate as if some family member had expired. 

After the isolation for solid 24 hours, there were some symptoms of the network getting restored.

In the morning, Sudha Tai received a call.

” Sudha, I was trying to contact you since yesterday. But was not getting your connection. Do you know, Malhotra’s daughter Rashmin…..”

and there was a break. After a pause, the phone continued, ” with Ghosh’s son Arup.” Again the voice was cut off.

”Hello. Hello. ” Sudha Tai was trying to get the connection. She was upset that important news was interrupted. But her repeated ‘hello’ did not help to get the line connected. “How the hell the world will survive if the network fails like this?” Sudha Tai was wondering.

“If I try to club the two half sentences, Rashmin has run away with Arup, Ghosh Didi’s son. That is startling news. But this wretched network deprived me of that thrill of discussing over the matter and its after-effects.”

Sudha Tai saw Suresh coming near the dining table.

“Do you know Suresh? Rashmin has run away with Arup just a couple of days ago?”

“How do you know?”

“Mrs. Ranganathan told me just now. She has been trying since yesterday. But this rotten network! That played the villain.”

“Impossible. Arup is already hooked up to another girl in his class. He can not run away with Rashmin. “

“Arre, Mrs. Ranganathan told me. She never spreads rumors.”

“But Aai, Rashmin is also in a relationship with Vinayak who stays in Galaxy building just across the road. Rashmin and Arup don’t even talk to each other. Some unrealistic information you get and you immediately believe it.”

“Suresh, how do you know these matters?”

“This has been going on since the college opened last year. That means this is happening for the last one year.”

“Last one year? And you are telling me now?”

“Then what? Do you think I should have given the news to this broadcasting station?”

“You call me broadcasting station? Don’t you think I have to warn the unsuspecting parents about these extra-curricular activities of their wards? Anyway, it is never too late. Let me tell Mrs.Malhotra about Rashmin.”

“But just now you said Rashmin has already fled with Arup. Then what warning are you giving?”

“Actually, I don’t believe Mrs. Ranganathan. Her news must be wrong. I trust you more than her. I will check up with Mrs.Salvi first. I will tell my news to her.”

“What nonsense, Aai, I told you what I knew. You don’t have to broadcast it immediately.”

Sudha Tai wanted to talk to Mrs.Salvi immediately. She started dialing but the network refused to respond. “Oh! This network.”

Suresh had a sigh of relief but Sudha Tai was extremely impatient to talk to her friends over two contradicting news items. She was sad that such great information she could not relay on a network of her friends’ circle.


Here Mrs. Mehta was tired of waiting for the response from her  friends

after dialing their numbers. Suddenly, the phone rang. Delighted Mrs. Mehta immediately picked up the phone. Before she could say hello, the other person spoke.” I was shocked to see Mrs.Khanna without the layers of make-up. My God! So horrible.” And the line got disconnected. It was as if the network had started only to spread the news how Mrs. Khanna looked in her natural self. It was a nice item to talk about but the news provider’s identity was not known. Ignoring this aspect, Mrs. Mehta was waiting for the network to start. And lucky Mrs.Mehta got connected to her friend Mrs. Nene. Dreading the disconnection again, Mrs. Mehta used the trick of the previous phone call. Without wasting even a second on non-informative talk, she started reeling off.

 “Mrs. Khanna is horrible looking before her daily makeup!  My grandchild got so scared of her that it did not stop crying for nearly an hour.”

“Oh my God! I had always some doubts about her beautiful skin. But that lady must be taking care that before everyone is up, out of bed her skin make-up would find a place on her face. I don’t think anyone has ever seen her without makeup.” Mrs. Nene.

“Ok, Nene. I have to talk to our other friends. I will call you later.” Mrs.Mehta disconnected and got busy dialing other friends passing on the news of Mrs.Khanna’s looks without make-up.


Sanjeev was getting ready to leave for his office. He told his wife Renuka to answer the phone if he was not near the phone. He was also fed up with the bad network for the last two days. He was waiting for a confirmatory call from his colleague, Namrata about their meeting near Regal Cinema to proceed further to keep the appointment with their client in Colaba Causeway. After working from home for nearly one and a half years, first time, they were having an in-person meeting with the customer. They both were coming straight from their houses and they decided to meet at Regal Cinema where Sanjeev would pick up Namrata at 3:30.

Namrata could not get a connexion to talk to Sanjeev for quite some time. When she got connected, Sanjeev was in the bath. As per his instruction, Renuka picked up the phone. “The True Caller” app identified the caller as Namrata. Renuka got curious. She received the call. A few muffled words followed by “at the Regal Cinema”. and after a break for few seconds, “at sharp 3:30.” Before Renuka could say something, the call got disconnected.

Renuka was lost in thoughts. ‘Sanjeev would be meeting Namrata at Regal and they want to see 3:30 show. My God! He was pretending to say he had an important meeting in the afternoon. So this was “The important meeting.” How is it possible? Why would he cheat me?’ Sanjeev came out of the bath ready to have breakfast. While serving breakfast, Renuka did not utter a single word. Sanjeev sensed Renuka was upset. She opened her laptop and acted as if she was thinking over her office matters.

“Any serious matter?” Sanjeev asked.

“Yes. Very serious. Breach of trust.”

“Who breached the trust? And whose trust? Renuka, in business, not everyone follows ethics. You will find some people who stick to ethics. But many don’t have moral values. One has to be careful while negotiating deals.” Sanjeev tried to pacify her. “The lawyers  of your company should take care of such matters.”

“But how the deals can be negotiated in a cinema hall?” Renuka wondered.

In the evening Sanjeev reached home at 5:30. Renuka was surprised to see him that early. “Did you not get the tickets?” she asked.

“What tickets?”

“Cinema tickets. At Regal theatre.”

“Who had gone for cinema?”

“You with Namrata. You were to meet her at the theatre at 3:30.”

“Oh, that was the reason madam was upset in the morning. Renuka, our meeting place was The Regal Theatre. But not to go for the movie. Our client’s office was just two buildings away from Regal Theatre. We met the client and grabbed the deal for two crores. The meeting got over quickly. So returned early. And you thought, I met Namrata to see the movie with her.

Great extrapolation. Cinema theatre, meeting time. And Namrata.“ Satish clapped. “Wonderful imagination. Yesterday, the entire day network was down. And today also it was very short-lived. So Namrata when got a connection, wanted to confirm our meeting before the network went down. So quickly she communicated the confirmation without wasting time. And the network did fail soon after her sentence was over. Namrata told me that she had called and without confirming who was at the other end, she just confirmed the meeting.  

So the debate on breach of trust had this reference. Oh my God!

The unreliability of the network has whipped up the web of suspicion.“

“I am sorry, Sanjeev. Now, please stop making fun of me.” Renuka was embarrassed at her stupidity.

The next day, the internet network got into the proper groove and all the communication services were restored. All telephone services turned reliable, the internet services worked uninterrupted and all the members of social media had their mobiles at their disposal without any break.

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