Yesterday afternoon the telephone rings. I pick up the receiver. A shrill Voice informs me ” Ye MTNL ki seva hai- aap ko bill pay karni hai!”

 Phone goes dead.

I think a bit. Did I forget to pay the phone bill? I don’t think so- I distinctly remember paying it a couple of weeks ago.

So this afternoon the phone rings same as yesterday. I pick it up. The Voice says again in high-pitched tones, ” Ye MTNL ki seva hai- aap ko bill pay karni hai!”

 Phone goes dead.

I take out the telephone bills file. Last months bill- paid. I look in the unpaid bills’ drawer. This month’s bill- yet to be paid.

Is the bill overdue I wonder. Nope. Bill to be paid by May 2nd.

I double-check  to make sure it’s 2011, not 2010.

So today is the 24th of April. Is the shrieky voice going to remind me every day until the 2nd of May?

Maybe if I pay the bill today, the Voice will stop calling.

On the other hand- I wouldn’t be so sure. This is the same MTNL which has messed up my mobile phone bills for the last few years and regularly threatens to disconnect my phone even when I have never missed a payment.

I could vent my annoyance by shouting at the Voice, but since it’s a recorded message, that would not stop the repeated phone calls.

I look at the caller ID and dial the number. “Ye number moujud nahi hai”, the computerized operator tells me.

I give up and resign myself to the daily phone calls.