India 911

We have clients and collaborators around the world: India, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, France, China, the United States (East and West), so, for a tiny company (five people), we keep a pretty global schedule. We arrive at the office to !! emails from Kavita, Anand, Anubhav, and Geetanjali. Simon calls on his homeward commute, during our lunchtime. Dr. S. may call in just before our bedtime, as he heads out for dinner. Sunday afternoon is really Monday morning and tomorrow could mean later today or actually tomorrow.

Email irons out the time and geographical differences, but phones and faxes can still get us in trouble. We had to send a fax to Meena at her home office, but it turns out that she had one of those old fax-phone jobs. When we called at 4 p.m. our time, it was 1:30 a.m. in Delhi. "Hallo, hallo?" answered a grumpy male voice. Beep. Beep. "Hallo, hallo!" Now we know that Meena has a husband.

Louisa, in our office, needed to send a 40-page fax to Debo. She dialled the country code for India, 91, and then began to dial the number proper, which started with 120. She only got as far as the second 1, before a distinctly American voice answered.

"Hello. 911. How can I help you?"

Louisa talked back to the fax machine. "No!"

"Hello, 911." The voice sounded urgent. "Are you there?"

"I'm fine!" said Louisa. Beep beep. She picked up the handset. "Hello!"

"Hello hello can you hear...?"

Louisa stabbed the stop button. The voice ended. "Urff," she said.

We're still waiting for the police to show up at our door. Or maybe at Debo's. Maybe later today or perhaps early yesterday. Not sure.

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