The smartphone rings. (Presumably my mom’s phone has not been working, some of her contact calling me). I pick up the call and shout ‘hello’ twice and the call disconnects, and then begins the Nightmare.
The Nightmare Of The Unknown Caller
This is probably reminiscent of the Hollywood film When A Stranger Calls‘(1979). But this happens to be a reality for many women out there rather than just fiction. Stand in a group of girls and there will be definitely two who will be telling a horror story about strange people calling, leaving weird, let’s say, “admiring” messages to censored explicit content.
So this is how the nightmare began for me.
Day 1- The phone rings. I shout hello. No answer. Call disconnected.
5 minutes later.
Unknown Sender: hello
5 minutes later.
Unknown sender: par yaar plis
10 minutes later.
Unknown sender- plissss aise mat kro
Finally, annoyed, I respond: Who’s this? You clearly have the wrong number. Please don’t text me again.
Unknown sender- i am so sorry
Silence. I heaved a sigh of relief.
Half an hour later.
“Jo b kaho ap mujhe persan bhot ache lge. By the way, you seem very good. Bura mat manna but by the way…”
I decided to ignore these text messages and since I didn’t receive any other call or message for the day, I forgot until the next day, when in the morning, the sender texted ‘hello’ again.
I add the caller to reject list and the sender to spam and happily forget all about this evil, malicious, lazy, and good for nothing who begins to commit criminal offences.
I check phone again in the evening, only to find that my phone has rejected 12 missed calls with 7 text messages of ‘hello’ and ‘hi’ and ‘how are you’.
Now I am horror-stricken, panicky and frustrated.
I am going to pause here with my story. So now I have a void stretching in from of me with my reaction yet to take place. I can choose from infinite potentialities. I can keep on panicking and ignoring everything, ask my parents to come to the aid, ignore the situation till it dies down or try to live my life knowing that I am a victim of a notorious telephone stalker.
To think in this day and age in the era of smartphones and ‘truecallers’ and stringent police norms, these kind of activities still persist is unimaginable but they do. This entire relation is based on anonymity. The stalker believes that he/she/they are comfortably hidden behind an unknown call and layers of deeply disturbing indoctrinated advice that we as women have received. I speak about a girl here because this caller first heard my voice to confirm that he was dealing with a young girl and only then did he persist with these menacing tactics. In an age of continuous surveillance, why do these callers shrouded in their awful lives believe that they will never be found? What kind of power do they think they hold on us? I shall be victimized for a few laughs. Is anyone that sick?
And why is the stigma of being a girl attached to this? Why cannot I post a public status regarding this on my own social networking webpage and not ask my friends to “harass the harasser”. Wouldn’t it be nice to give these sorts of people a dose of their own medicine for once, instead of rushing off to your parents who will shout at you?
“Your friends must have done this.”
“Probably you exchanged numbers.”
Or they might be supportive. But the fact remains one day, you are going to have to face these monsters hiding in your bed alone. You will have to make that call to the National Stalking Helpline, won’t you?
I don’t undermine anyone by trying to highlight the bare reality that one day you will have to fight your own battles especially battles which will be fought in the dark with the race of anonymous villains whose only purpose in life is to turn your life into a living hell. And if not you, then maybe someone else. There’s a lot of fish in the sea. You can warn them off.
Raise your voice. Warn off this villain because you will be saving other women from the same plight and one day, those same women could turn out to be your daughters or wives or sisters. So back to the story…
I: Who the hell do you think you are? I am going to report you if I get a single text or call again.
Then I called back the guy 3 times, to be greeted with ‘line busy’.
I: Ab kyu ni call utha rha? 12 missed call kie the abhi toh?
Spam: unknwown sender- sorry sorry! Mujhe maaf krdo
But trust me, I was tempted to start a movement where each and every one of my friends would message back on the number saying – STOP TELEPHONE STALKING! I was very tempted to do that though I chose the politically correct way to deal with. So to all the stalkers out there who glorify in their godlike anonymity, this is an official warning. For all of you hiding out there, there are women/men/others like me outside and waiting here to burst your bubbles and it is best not to try our patience. The cops might leave you but please don’t forget – When she’s mad; even the demons run for cover.