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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Single Digit Lottery


Before the government banned lotteries, there was an extremely popular scheme called “single digit lottery” which had ruined many families and created many paupers! But, some, like my friends Arun, Suri, Srinidhi and Vasanth Kumar, who tried to out-smart the system by forming ‘syndicates’ and playing one number continuously on consecutive days could salvage some of their investments, although their notorious dream of instant prosperity remained a mirage! I never came across anyone becoming rich by playing the ‘single digit lottery’. The government, bowing to dictats from the courts prohibited lotteries altogether.

The above convoluted preface became necessary to overcome the beginner’s block to narrate the fortune bestowed on me by a mistaken “single digit” in my mobile number (xxxxx 88838). In an entirely different way I have had the privilege of speaking to a host of VIPs, big-wigs in the celluloid world, litterateurs, budding artistes, dramatists, students from film schools and a host of luminaires whom I could never have aspired to talk to even in the wildest of my dreams. When I receive a call on my cell phone from an unknown number I prepare myself for receiving an invitation to be the chief guest of some function or to grace some program to be felicitated for my “unparalleled contributions” to the film world! I feel weird knowing my inclination to avoid movies which I personally feel is a waste of time much like cricket matches! The world would be better off without movies and TV and, of course, the cell phone! No, I am not talking about going back to the stone-age; but of eroding cultural, social, ethical and moral values. Let me not digress.

Invariably, it is some important personality who begins eloquently with “namaskaara meshtre” without for a second realizing that the person at the other end could be someone else. Much unlike the landline conversations which usually commence with confirmation of the receivers’ identity, the ubiquitous cell phone culture has so much firmed up the callers’ belief of speaking to the right person right away. Initially, I was flabbergasted at being called “meshtre” which I consider a big honor. I was also upset at receiving unsolicited calls at odd times. After sometime, I started enjoying the envious tag though I felt uneasy at times realising how unqualified I was for that prefix. I came to appreciate the fact that the caller expected the called-number to be correct or did not know that I was an unknown entity not anywhere close to the illustrious “meshtre” he was trying to contact.

I have had the honor of speaking to Sa Ra Govindu, Dattanna, Ramesh Aravind, B Jayashree, Tara, Gowri Dattu, students of Adarsha Film Institute, Narayana Gowda of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike and a host of other eminent personalities.

Without testing the patience of my dear readers, I will reveal that the misdirected calls were meant for the famous film director Nagathihalli Chandrashekar whose mobile number is xxxxx 88858. That one misplaced number (3 in place of 5) has made me a ‘duplicate’ film director!

I have taken the correct cell number of Nagathihalli Chandrashekar from Suchitra Cinema Academy and now surprise the callers by giving them the correct number and thanking them for inviting me unknowingly and telling them how I enjoyed speaking to them.

Thereafter, the thankful caller always invites me to the function as a member of the audience and not as chief guest!