First Belle
‘Sir, would you like to advertise in the yellow pages’. I was new to the job and was happy to have somebody to talk to. She would call me every day and talk about ad size, release date, file format, discounts…then finally, ‘Sir, when can we meet?’ I was like, ‘How about tomorrow?’ The next day, I reached office fully fragrant, expectant…and this huge guy dark ambled over to my seat, ‘I am from yellow pages’.
What? Something was not right, I asked him, ‘Where is Sunitha?’
‘Sunitha?’ the gentle giant knitted his brows, was trying hard to think, then, click…a smile lit up his face, ‘Saar, she is from our call centre’.

Second Belle
‘Sir, would you like to advertise in the yellow pages’. Ah! You can’t fool me twice; I asked her, ‘Are you from the call centre?’
‘Yes’.
‘Then why should I talk to you?’
‘Because I am fun’
You can’t argue with that…Sonali was her name. Vadakkan, dad was a prof in Anna U. She was cramming for CAT and yellow pages was for pocket money. One day she told me, ‘Babu, you sound exactly like my old boyfriend’. I had to match that ‘You know what, my ex’s name is Sonali’. We started burning up the telephone wires; she was so good that after her call even the guy in the next cubicle would have a cigarette. Then one day, we met…she read the disappointment on my face, and never called me again.

Third Belle
‘Sir, would you like to advertise in the yellow pages’. Jyothi was a sardarni, but I did not want to take any chances…so after a few calls I asked her how she looked. She said she was engaged…pretty soon I officially launched my bride-hunt, and Jyothi became my new best friend. In fact, when Velan got married and I had to move out of the Kalakshethra flat, it was Jyothi who got me a PG acco with her friend’s family.
(Aunty and Smitha treated me like a member of the family and I lived with them for close to a year till my sis joined me in Chennai. I had had a great time with them, and when it was time to part, Aunty was in tears, and the stoic Smitha had Don’t Leave looping on her stereo.)

Last Belle
‘Sir, would you like to advertise in the yellow pages’. A couple of months ago. By then I had taken to snapping at all unsolicited calls, but this voice was electric. Act 1 and 2, same formula. Then one day, ‘You know, my husband works in the movies and he goes on these long tours’. I wouldn’t say I wasn’t tempted…I asked her, ‘What does your hubbie do?’ Seema said, ‘She’s a stuntman’. Halo Halo kelkan mela.

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