Getting calls from perfect strangers on my mobile phone does not surprise me any more - I get so many of them and quite regularly that I have now come to accept them as additional price I have to pay - in addition to the premium I paid BMobile - for wanting a number that is out of the ordinary. In fact one time I got a call from a young girl from Rangshikhar in the East who admitted to dialing my number randomly because she hoped to soothe her nerves that have been frayed with a sense of anxiety over the outcome of her class XII exams. But the call from another stranger girl last Friday had me speechless for a while, literally.
“Hello, is this Mr. Yeshey Dorji the photographer?”
“Yes, this is I”
“Kuzuzangpo la, my name is Karma and I got your number from Mr. Kinley Dhendup of the Tourism Council of Bhutan”
“Lass, how can I help you, Karma?”
“Actually I called to find out if you have a phallus”.
Huh? Do I have a phallus? What kind of a question is that? More importantly, what the hell did she mean by that? I mean, I was born without any known deformity which means that I am a perfectly formed male species with all my manly organs intact and in the right places where they are supposed to be. Then why the question? I was mildly insulted and intrigued at the same time. However, the voice on the other end of the phone was very matter-of-fact and without any trace of sarcasm or mockery. There was not a hint of coyness in her voice. In truth, I am unnerved by the fact that a girl can discuss male organ with a male with such candor and directness. Obviously, time has come for me to shed that idea about the female species being the shy-and-retiring types - I think they have evolved to a higher plane, without my knowing about it.
“Well, I do have a phallus somewhere. Why do you ask?”
Her next question left me feeling even more incredulous.
“Will you allow me the use of it, please?”
Oh God, what have I gotten myself into? I mean it isn’t abnormal that a girl might desire a phallus once in a while - it is perfectly within the natural order of things. But how feasible is it that a girl might want the use of a phallus? It is a horrendous thought but is it possible that she might want to use it to badger someone or something like that? Other than that, and a very specific purpose for which it was designed, what else can the poor phallus be useful for?
“You see my cousin runs a store in Paro that cater to the tourists and she tells me that this year the phallus is in great demand among the tourists. She wants to cash in on that”.
Ah … now I see it. She hopes to be able to send my phallus frolicking among the tourists in Paro so that her cousin can make some extra buck. Do I want to be so chivalrous? Before I can answer that to myself, she continues:
“I am told that you have a very good high resolution image of a wooden phallus. Will you please allow me to print one thousand copies of Post Cards out of the image? It will be a one time use and I will be happy to give you credit for the image”.
Touché! She will be generous to give me credit for my own image and she does not make any mention about payment for the image - meaning she thinks I am the Salvation Army.
I am speechless.