Hi, Have You Met JITAMPU?

JITAMPU, this sign is not for you.

There is hushed silence in the theatre. The audience is holding its collective breath. Even the lady seated next to me pauses her vociferous attack on the endless heap of extra-crackling nachos. All eyes are on the screen. The heartbreakingly earnest (and also deaf-and-mute, illiterate, pitifully poor and orphan) Barfi is about to profess his love to the beautiful new visitor in his town, the girl who swept him off of his feet at first sight. His doe-eyes and articulate hands start to do the talking. You wonder what he’ll ‘say’ and how the bewildered girl (who is dazzlingly Miss India-like, extremely poised, rich, and seemingly well educated, i.e. someone who would be clearly out of his league in the normal realm) will react. Will she, won’t she?

But just when all the plot elements are aligning to pummel your stony heart into mushy pulp, and right when your lower lip starts to quiver like the shaking bosom of an item dancer, there is a loud chant of an “Om Sai Ram” bhajan, followed by a booming “Hello!”

Hello? Well, more like thank you, God, and the Jaunty In-Theatre Avid Mobile Phone User (let’s call him JITAMPU for short). Thank you for killing the moment. That totally sappy, flustering, wretched highlight moment of the film that the writer perhaps took insanely long to write, and the director and actors toiled futilely to bring to life. Oh and not to forget the foolish audience in the theatre who paid good money to debase itself with this tripe.

Thank you, JITAMPU, for instantly snapping our attention away from the humdrum bungle on the screen to the hummable jingle of your cellphone. Thank you for reminding us that we need to junk our current ringtones and get something spiritual. We could select any one of the greatest hits from Asstha (or is it spelled Aastha?) channel. Or if we decide that the invocation of holy chants every time anyone calls is not our thing, we can always seek the latest Punjabi shake-a-thon by Mika. Surely that is a good sound to jiggle one’s (times 250 souls in the theatre) attention.

One’s got to admire your single-minded tenacity on your call, JITAMPU. You are oblivious to the jerk behind you who mumbles something like, ”Bhai saab, baki ki baatein ghar par kar lena.” Your motto in life is crystal clear – why leave for tomorrow something that can be addressed right away, right here, right now?

We specially love your love for long extended phone conversations. Why end the call in under 10-minutes when a simple “Aur bata?” can extend it by 15 more? In these times, when cellphone companies are out to fleece us by slapping all kinds of charges even on minimal usage, you, JITAMPU, are thumbing your nose at them by showing them who the boss is. Bravo.

Finally, a quick word of appreciation for your Wily Caller Buddy. It can’t just be serendipity that he called right in the middle of the quietest and most important scene in the film. I think he has superhuman powers! How else, if it weren’t for those magical gifts, could he have known that right about now, you would be seated comfortably amidst zero ambient noise and wouldn’t, inadvertently, miss his call?

I say, who goes to the theatre to really watch a movie these days anyway? Who wants to pay attention to the unfolding story and appreciate or chastise its moments? Or to laugh or cry with the characters? Or even hum and tap their feet to the music? Obviously, everyone’s in the theatre only for the popcorn (or nachos) and the air conditioning.

And, of course, to listen to JITAMPU’s discourses.



27 thoughts on “Hi, Have You Met JITAMPU?

  1. Ruchira

    Ha Ha Ha ! I hear you I really do – we have a lot of such jerks in our office – imagine you are concentrating hard on creating a presentation and suddenly your thoughts are rudely interrupted by a loud Honey Singh or a jai mata di tune ! Yeah office etiquettes – what’s that !

    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I am just trying to figure out which God’s name I’d like to take in vain each time I get a telemarketer call! I shall use Him as my ringtone chant.
      And yes, what is etiquette? Is it a new French perfume?

  2. Lazy Pineapple

    hahah..wonderful. I have a special hatred for such characters. They totally spoil you whole experience of watching a movie especially when you have shelled out a lot of hard earned money for it. I just cannot get people who cannot keep the phone on silent in Movie Theatres and people who will not wait for the plane to come to a stop and the seat belt signs to get switched off before they start clambering towards the exit. Aaaargh..

    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Hahhah….yes, even I haven’t figured out people who whisk out their mobiles as soon as the pilot spots his landing runway from 3000 feet! “Ab toh samjho land kar hi gaye hain”. I wonder how these people would have survived the 80s when there were no cellphones to whisk out??

  3. Akanksha Dureja

    haha 😀
    I bet those people are from Gurgaon (given electricity crisis) who go to the theatre to enjoy the air-conditioning rather than the movie! Hate those people who blabber while the movie is on.

  4. janu

    Oh! all too familiar with these types. They won’t understand when you silently stare at them….they will not understand even when you tell them directly. A real pain.

  5. anupam patra

    I seek to avoid confrontation. Probably that’s why providence schemes to polish my skills at handling conflict. One of it’s grand old plans is to put me in those seats in theaters adjacent to which I’d invariably find JITAMPU.

    One day, Jitampu’s state – of – the -art – forging, ‘Made In China’ phone rang in the middle of a extremely poignant scene. He kept staring at its screen for a good ten seconds before pressing the ‘Receive’ button, as the remixed Bachna Ae Haseeno ringtone revolted for prompt attention of dedicated viewers inside hall mocking the somber mood.

    The dumb a** went on for five unbelievable minutes offering his priceless tips over phone. The topic seemed to be” How to crack an interview” None around him (including me) said anything to him, though we made all kind of dismayed expressions to ourselves, hoping that he’ll notice and stop.

    And believe me Rickie, I belong to that dwindling class of viewers who go to theaters to really watch a movie – to pay attention to the unfolding story and appreciate and even to laugh and cry with the characters.

    So damn You Jitampu

    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I can feel your anguish, Anupam!
      Now, I wonder which movie you were watching that you (and the audience) decided to focus your attention away from the screen and on to poor JITAMPU’s phone conversation instead. If it was Joker or one of the Housefull series, I can completely understand the diversion! 😀

  6. Amit

    And add children to it. Watching a movie in a cinema hall is turning out into an ordeal especially because people mistake it for a picnic spot where they can leave their children to run and scream. Yes, the world is full of idiots.

  7. Corinne Rodrigues

    My husband is convinced that he must invest a lot more in shares of mobile operators given the rate at which people talk on their mobile phones! It’s perfectly okay apparently for one to pick up a call anywhere – if the cinema is bad, restaurants are worse. I really don’t want to know what Pappu had for lunch and what color it came out afterwards – but I do get such information. What a perfect appetizer for a meal! 😉

    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      I think that is a good investment plan for an early retirement…I must follow up on that tip!
      I wonder how these folks would have survived the 80s when there were no mobile phones! Did we used to talk to each other that much then?

  8. Rachna Parmar

    Have you ever tried, “Ay chup kar ke baith! Band karta hain ya phone utha kar phenku.” I once did it and saw 5 other people willing to jump out and catch hold of the guy’s neck. He immediately disconnected the call and slumped lower. Yeah, but the moment is killed anyway :(. Teach the idiot a lesson, I say. And a woman raising a voice really works. So ask your gf or female friend to do it for you next time :).

    Kids, I know are unpredictable. I have two brats. But, I mostly take them for age appropriate movies where loads of other kids come. Basically, adults are adequately warned in such movies. :).

    You must read this post of mine on similar lines:

    1. Rickie Khosla Post author

      Oh people are much more uncouth in Gurgaon/NCR than they are in civilized Bangalore, I feel! Anyway, we have occasionaly tried shushing callers – many times it works but some JITAMPUs are just too ‘dheeth’!
      Kids I can usually forgive. What to do when some of our films are really so boring. Sometimes, even I would want to get up from my seat and run up and down the aisle! 😀

  9. Sulekha Rawat

    Even when there are a zillion vacant seats in the hall, JITAMPU is always seated within earshot of yours truly :)) We learn to filter out these annoying sounds. Liked your fun take on the phone-crazy people :))

  10. The Fool

    That was a cool take on an irritating issue. I have experienced worse scenes in theaters – on 2 occasions adult scenes being enacted in the neighboring or front seats when I had gone to see a children’s movie. Maybe I should write a post about it.

  11. purbaray

    Not only are they deaf, blind to the obvious discomfiture they cause to the rest of us, they are also amazingly thick-skinned. You can cuss, kick their seats but they will continue with their aur bataa chats!

    Saalo, ghar par picture dekha karo!!!


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