June 4th, 2006 / 12:02 PM / Multan
Finally it is done.
Many people including my Dad keep complaining that I keep changing my phone number. He does not like this change and it is irritating for him to keep changing my number on his phone again and again. I told him the last time I changed my phone number that it was the last time I will bother him with this unsaid ritual that I was performing for quite many months. It is true that many months ago I made a serious effort to get a number of my choice but that was met with only disappointment and excuses which the franchise and public relation people kept making over the counters. From those people at Warid’s office who said that the series of the number has not been released yet to that fat officer at Ufone’s office who said that I had to buy 25 postpaid numbers in order to get the number of my choice and keep them alive for at least two months and then return them except for the number of my choice, all those efforts were a waste. A few days ago when I came to Multan with Lala, it was sudden. He came to his village to see his mother where the news of the death of his maternal grandfather reached us. After getting done with the funeral ceremony, we headed back to the city where we had to spend the night and be back at the village again for that is the tradition. Out of boredom especially when there is no internet at home and all your distractions are back in the hostel, I went out with Lala in the evening. While roaming on the street, I saw a Ufone’s office. We went inside because we had nothing else to do and out of curiosity I asked for that same number of my choice that I had asked at many places before. A combination of 19’s. The lady at the counter was kind enough. She asked us to wait for a few minutes before she could tell that whether I could get my number or not. I was expecting the same answer that had always come. To my surprise and shock she came back and said that I can get my number if I pay 8000 rupees. I had money in my wallet but that was a little less than 8000 so we went back home and as all the family was in the village for that funeral we looked up for any of our friend from the hostel who was from Multan and who could arrange money for us in that short time. I didn’t want them to change their answer if I got late. They had raised my hopes. It was our classmate Sajjad Hussain who directed us to go to see his brother and take the money from him. I am very thankful to him that at the time of need he arranged the much needed money but by the time we went to take it and headed back to the operator’s office, it was past 5 o'clock and the office had closed. I spent the night waiting impatiently for the clock to strike 9. Early in the morning me and Lala took out the bike and headed to the franchise. He wanted to get a pair of socks and so we stopped at a shop to get a pair. I kept nagging him to hurry up but his size was not available. So in a hurry he tried on a smaller pair and tried to get them on with a struggle. We reached the destination earlier than I had thought. The staff was smiling to see us back. One of the persons there jokingly asked that they thought after hearing the price of the number we ran away. We told them that we were not having enough money to pay for the price in full. The energy of that moment when the number that I was looking for for the last few years was being issued to me is something I cannot describe. There was a person in the line right next to me who was more shocked than surprised to know the price I paid for a number. The manager across the counter told him that there are a few numbers that were sold in Lahore for quite a few million rupees and if somebody wants a number that is already taken by someone else then the owner can sell that number for any price which he seems fit.
I removed my old number like a person would remove an old naggy relationship. We did not come home straight. The first person I called was Mani. He could not recognise me but he was surprised that I finally got the number that I once told him about. We had our lunch on the way to the village. When we headed back in the evening I had already distributed a message telling people from family and college to delete my old number and replace it with the new number. I hope this relationship stay strong and intact for many years to come. I am too tired and I now need sleep because my last 3 days had been to tiring. I had been traveling east and South and West and I hope to go back to North to my hostel room and sleep nonstop for at least 2 days. Dad will be angry again with this change. He doesn’t know how much I wanted this change to happen. And it finally did.