So, when one fine day I got an email from the ambassador of a certain country my first reaction was 'troll'. He had talked about an exchange of ideas, had given his personal email address and phone number.
I did what protocol demands and wrote back to say thank you and blah. But, remember, ideas had to be exchanged? I waited it out. What was the worst that could happen if I called? Someone would have a good laugh? I'd like that. For anyone to go to such trouble just for a little laughter would tell me a lot about the state of that mind. But I digress.
I dialled the number and it was a foreign accent. I relaxed a bit. Caution did not leave, though.
"Who am I speaking to?" I asked uncharacteristically and impolitely.
"Er...who would you like to speak to?"
"Ok. It's like this. I got a letter from someone saying he wants an exchange of ideas. "
"Oh..." (How was he to remember that?)
"So, do you?"
"One moment. Who do you wish to speak to?"
"My name is FV. Are you...hmm...excellen..." Damn. I was supposed to say "Your" but the PA who had sent the attached note had said "His". So, my tongue was in this conflict zone between His and Yours and how can he be your?
"Yes," he said simply. "My name is X. Now I recall."
"Yes. But you know how it is. I thought you were some crank," I said with a straight face he could not see.
"I perfectly understand. Even in our profession we have to be careful. "
"I was not worried, just wanted to be sure. What ideas do you want to exchange?"
"I read you but want to understand the mind. We must open all channels. I have worked in Y country and know it is important."
"Let me be honest. I write only what I want to. But I can exchange ideas. "
"Exactly. You tell me when."
"Yes. Your Excel..."
(The initials used here are fictitious and any resemblance to characters with similar initials is purely fictitious.)