2 (ttrrrr)….4 (ttrrrrrr)…6 (ttrrrrrrrr)….1 (ttrr)…8 (ttrrrrrrrrrrrrrr)…7 (ttrrrrrrrrr)…2 (ttrrrr)….
And I used to wait…ears sharpened to detect any change in the tone. My heart would either rejoice or sink depending on whether it’s a tring tring or a beep beep. The joys of dialling a number from a telephone, or a land phone as it is now called. Back then, a phone meant one thing. Not a cell phone, not a camera phone, not a smart phone, just an ordinary phone….extraordinarily smart enough to be in touch with the people who really mattered, whenever it mattered.
Isn’t it a wonder how we managed to get by with only one telephone in the house? A family of four with just one phone. And more incredible was the fact that the phone was hardly in use. We never fought over it. The way we now do with the TV remote control. It was just there, quietly existing in the background. Masked brilliantly. Surprising us occasionally with a tring! And making a call, what an event that was! I remember how excited I would be when given the Herculean task of dialling a number. The care with which I turned the number clockwise, and watched with amazement the way it spiralled back, landing with a soft thud. And after the exhausting task was over, the tring tring would always ring a bell in my heart. The stuff of childhood fantasy.
Remember how we would memorize the phone numbers of relatives and friends? Back then, our world was small. Limited to phone books and the range our eyes could see, we had few people in our life. Few enough to fit the pages of our diary. And they had names we could remember, because they were people we knew. People who raised us, grew up with us or watched us grow. The ‘Gulf’ uncle, the grandma who would never stop talking if you called her, the aunty who cooked bright yellow banana chips on Onam, then the other aunty who would always ask annoying questions whenever she got the chance, the cousin who you would wait for when the holidays started – to play in the mud and watch movies with, the neighbour who always took care of the house when you all went away on vacation – watering plants and doing a fine job of watchman as well. The list fitted comfortably on your hand. And even more comfortably in the recesses of your mind. Not like half the ‘friends’ on our Facebook account…who we either knew a long time ago, or are friends of friends we knew a long time ago, or seldom even friends of friends of friends…who sent you a friend request because you happened to study at the same college, or went to the same school, or ridiculously happened to like Shreya Ghoshal. Isn’t it silly, the way we fall for such absurdities? How we love to stand and stare at the shop windows, knowing very well that the diamond necklace glittering back is unaffordable. How many hours of your life do you waste, simply poring over beautiful things you wish you could buy, but you hold back the urge because you know it’s not worth it? The mind is like a feather in the sky, floating on a fragile cloud…carried by the winds to places it ought not to wander. A gullible tourist. A naïve teenager.
Happily awakened from a daydream, I woke up to the sound of my cell phone ringing.
Photo Courtesy: ai3310X (https://www.flickr.com/photos/93277085@N08/9348913745/in/photolist-ff8Cm2-cyYkjW-cAzC65-cA3d4W-fkFUEk-cA3c21-cA3bU1-cA3c9h-cA3ctN-cA3cH9-cA3cPU-cA3cWW-cA3cfd-cA3cm3-dEqo69-cAzBRE-cAzCsY-cAzBXb-cAzCDA-cAzCKG-cAzBwd-cAzCdj-cAzCVL-cAzBKd-cAzDem-cAzCZW-cAzCmf-9E4Bry-d3EEJC-fkFTsK-czxNwW-dtqHiD-dtwgGY-dtwgNU-7GZi77-cCZV31-9ukTsM-czZVuS-cACYdC-cCZfbo-cCZVyC-cCZW8y-cABATE-cA43Bs-cAThV9-cA43Y1-czyafQ-cyZJQY-cymdf9-czyaLU-cyZHvE/)