Singing Telemarketers Away

February 19, 2009
Mike Ghouse

On a Sunday afternoon, the phone rings as I was wrapping up with my usual routine; folding the clothes. It was a tele-marketer from India and she wanted to sell the long distance phone service to me. I thanked her for the call and said that I already have a service and will stick with it.

The Tele-marketer was not easy to get away from, and I wasn’t going to be rude to her, she is earning her living. She was determined to sell the service to me no matter what and later on her boss joins her. Now a team of them have decided to “get” me.

I insisted that the service is not for me and that they should take my number off their records.

She would not give up, so I decided to have fun, instead of getting frustrated.

The phone rang again and I picked up and without missing the beat, I started singing. Those who know me from my Radio days know what it means; some one has to pay me to stop it. If you are in the fifties and are a Desi (they-see), meaning people from the Subcontinent – i.e., India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, you would enjoy the following scenarios. Heck you may smile any ways.

The kids on the other end were debating about the song, the singer and the like. I started out with “I yeiy ya, karoon my kya, sooku sooku”. I can hear the debate on the other end, “it’s got to be Jeetendra” and one actually said Shah Rukh Khan. I jumped in to their conversation, “it is Shammi Kapoor in Junglee singing Rafi and not Sonu”. Jeetendra was Oo, Ooo from Farz.

A “Thank you sir” in unison came from the other end. They could not be happier, they were courteous and hoping that at least at the end I would listen to their pitch. I wasn’t going to do that! They hung up, and called back to see if they were calling the right number.

I started “ O door ke musafir, hum ko bhi saath ley lay” .. there goes the debate again… They hung up and called back.

“ Ai mere dil kahin aur chal, gham ki duniyan say dil bhar gaya” This time the response was “What the hell was that?”. They did not know the song, nor could they figure out the singer, if it was Sunder Naidu singing, they could have guessed it, but meri tooti phooti awaz say o gana kaisay pehchanien ge? Even if it was "Yeh mera deewana pan hai" they would have recognized Prem Shah's awaaz. And of course, their parents would have just born in 1957 to recognize the movie Daag and the singer Talat. (yes, Lata also sang). They were saying in unison “thank you sir” hoping again to possibly get business.

You may be surprised at my attempt to do “Sunshine on my shoulder” I did not even complete the sentence they were gloating on the other end “John Denver” they knew the song even if it is an oldie, at that time most of the songs remained fresh in India for another decade or two. Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline is an evergreen, ever fresh number.

It went on for about 20 minutes… Finally they gave up.

By God, this is the first time in my life, that I sang the whole song to a captive audience, may be second time. I sang once celebrating Najma’s life a month after she passed away. Growing up, my sister did not want to hear me sing, she pointed out the mangled up words and then my late wife did not want to hear either. She told me to take voice lessons and then she would listen, and I had seriously considered learning from Renu Chandra or Nasreen Reza. Heck, my friends in India did listen to my songs, on Sundays, five of us used to go out on a farm or a lake and sit down and take turns and I lucked out being in the circle and took my turn gleefully.

Thanks to the tele-marketers, I sang to my heart's content, five songs in full! I have memorized 1000 Songs. I was ready to play their game and was going to go all night.

Then the phone rings and I start singing again… they called back, and I sang again… then when they called for the third time, I realized they were calling about a remodeling job I was doing for them. They enjoyed it though and they knew it was me.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, interfaith, Islam, India, Multiculturism, Terrorism, Peace, Politics and Civic issues. He co-chairs the center for interfaith inquiry of the Memnosyne Foundation, and presides the Foundation for Pluralism a He is the president of World Muslim Congress a think tank with a simple theme: Good for Muslims and good for the world and vice-Versa. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. Mike's Profile, he is a Neighborhood Commissioner at the City of Carrollton, and a Board Member of Dallas Peace Center and has initiated the annual events like Thanksgiving, Unity Day USA, Holocaust and other events. He was Past President of Indian Creek HOA and North Texas Cricket Association and has been a member of several Boards.
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February 19, 2009
03:24 PM

Oy, Mike! If only Israeli telemarketers were as much fun! American born telemarketers wouldn't hang around for "Bye Bye, Miss American Pie"....

Mike Ghouse
February 19, 2009
10:14 PM


the business is down every where, and those guys thought that by giving me the courtesy, they had a small chance of getting me to hear them. Right now most businessess are mellowing now and willing to put with some idiosyncracies.

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