There was once a time when hearing someone speak English in an Indian accent brought a smile to my face. I have always enjoyed hearing English in different accents but the French and the Indian accents were always my favourites. Unfortunately though these days I do find that I have somewhat become allergic to the Indian accent for it seems a day doesn’t go by now when I don’t get at least one phone call from India by someone that is offering me a new mobile phone or wants me to change my phone company to Tele-dodgy or asking me if I want a new kitchen or telling me, ‘congratulations, your phone number was randomly selected from millions and millions of phone numbers and now we are offering you a new mobile phone.’ (The interesting thing about this is that I had six different phone calls at six different times by six different Indians telling me this exact same thing which means if they are telling the truth, my phone number was randomly selected amongst millions and millions of phone numbers, not once, not twice but six times! Which makes me…I was going to say an extremely unlucky person but I don’t think that is going to do it justice. It’s more like whatever you are going to call the person who gets right all the six lottery numbers and wins millions and millions of pounds, I’m the exact opposite of that.)
The best one was the other night when someone called at about half past eight at night asking me if I wanted some people to come over and measure all my doors and windows! I was a bit taken-aback by the strangeness of this offer of course but it did tickle me a bit as well. I mean it really did sound like a comedy film, ‘Oh hello madam. I’m calling on behalf of Thieves Anonymous and I was wondering if you would be interested in having all your doors and windows measured by our company. We also have a special offer at the moment which means we will also measure all your furniture absolutely free. May I just ask you a few questions now? Do you have a guard dog? When are you off on your holidays? Where do you keep your jewellery?’
I mean what kind of people would answer the phone one day and invite complete strangers into their home to measure all their doors and windows? And why on earth would anyone want to do that anyway? Which is exactly what I asked the lady on the other side of the phone (I asked her this in a nice way though because I know it’s not her fault and she is just some poor woman in India trying to make a living)
‘Madam’ (read in an Indian accent for the best result) ‘we are offering to come and measure all your doors and windows for you absolutely free and then we will give you a quote on how much it would be if you wanted to change them.’
‘Thank you but all my doors and windows are brand new and I don’t want to change them.’ This was a lie of course; I just wanted to end the conversation in a polite way.
‘Oh no madam but you don’t understand. You don’t need to change your doors and windows, we just want to come and measure them for you. This is a fantastic deal madam.’
‘I really can’t see what is so fantastic about this deal.’
‘Yes the measuring part is but not the window fitting part.’
‘Oh no, that you would have to pay for madam.’
‘But surely if all my doors and windows are brand new and I have no intention of changing them, measuring them is going to be a complete waste of time for you.’
‘Oh no, not at all madam and our prices are so reasonable that sometimes people are tempted to change their doors and windows even if they don’t need to be changed.’
‘May I take down your address?’
I don’t want to be rude to them but really what do you say to this?
For a while I thought the best way to deal with this is to say I’m not me. When they said ‘Is this Mrs Adl?’ I just said no, she’s not in. That worked well but the problem was that they kept calling back. There was this one lady who had called three times and just wasn’t giving up. So the last time she called I said, ‘I’m sorry but my sister has gone to the hospital and she’s not very well so we don’t know when she’ll be able to come back home.’ She went quite for a little while. ‘I’m very sorry to hear that’ she said, ‘Did you say you were her sister?’
‘Yes’ I said and felt bad for having lied through my teeth like that because she sounded a bit concerned now, or so I thought.
‘May I ask you madam if you own your own property? Because we have some fantastic offers on our kitchens at the moment that I’m sure any home owner would be interested in.’
I couldn’t believe it; I was on my deathbed in some hospital and this woman was trying to sell a new kitchen to my sister!
‘Are you kidding me?!’ I said.
She put the phone down. Thank god for that. One down, another five hundred to go.