“Triiink…Triiink…” the telephone bell rang. I was busy in the kitchen. It was time for filtering the boiled rice. If I attended the phone it would spoil everything. The boiling rice would then become some pasty porridge and nobody can eat the over boiled rice!
“Honey, please attend the phone,” I requested my husband, who was immersed in the newspaper. It is his habit. If he is reading something seriously he will not be aware of anything in the surrounding. Moreover, he receives fewer calls than I get. So usually he doesn’t attend phone.
Anyhow he took the phone reluctantly. Within seconds he cut the phone and returned with a smile on his face. It reminded me an incident which he used to quote often. It should be one of such incidents!
Now I shall hand over the story to my husband Paul for further narration.
* * * *
It was some three decades ago. My wife Therese had gone to her house for her first delivery. Those were the spring days of our flowery marital life. As I was sitting in my rented house in a remote Indian village, quite lonely I must say, about a million thought trails flustered in my already bulged mind. Sweet memories of the sweetest times with my Therese rushed into me vying one another!
When her thought came, I couldn’t remain seated even for a second!
Those were hard times of communication. My letters will reach her only on the fifth day! And if at all she replies it could reach me only after another seven days. But my passion and emotions were always flying to reach her at every minute!
There was a phone booth about a mile away from my place. Even there, I had to wait in a long queue for a two minute talk! Phones were rare and the owner of the booth was very strict!
I was in a very elated mood. At last, after many days, I am going to talk to my sweet heart! Fortunately my mother in law had phone connection in her house.
I dialed the numbers in excitement!
I was expecting my love’s sweet voice. But to my disappointment, my mother in law replied.
“Hello,” her voice was broken. My mother in law -I call her mom- should be having some cold!
“Mom, this is…” I always feel shy while talking to her.
“You bastard, don’t call me like that. I was waiting for this chance to bang you.”
I was wondering what happened to my mother in law. After her husband’s death she was much upset. Perhaps, Therese should have misbehaved to make her angry. Anyhow I lowered my voice fearing others around me listening to my talk!
“You cheat, why didn’t you come for the marriage?”
Marriage!!! Which marriage? A bomb exploded in my lazy brain!
Who could have married now? I had only one brother in law who was studying in a high school. Then whose marriage did she mention? Perhaps, her own marriage? Did she marry somebody in some urgent and unexpected situation?
All my rosy dreams were already scorched in the sudden firing through the telephone!
“How dare you escaped from your own sister in law’s wedding?” Her voice was still harsher that could well be heard by others standing near me with blinking eyes.
Which sister in law? Perhaps my mother in law had some illegal dealings in the past which she had brought to light now!
“God what am I hearing? I never knew that my beloved Therese had a younger sister and that too in this marrying age!
“Mom, which sister you are talking about?”
“You ungrateful bastard, so soon you have forgotten all the dishes she prepared for you whenever you came to see your wife here. How could you forget all her services to you like a servant maid?”
I struggled for words in utter confusion!
“Mom, I think you have misunderstood…” I didn’t know what I was saying.
I looked down at the number I had dialed.
In haste, I had misdialed one number!
What a blunder! A wrong number!
I just cut the phone without even saying apology!
My talk with my Therese that was going on in my mind was cut!
My sweet dream was cut!
A firing telephone indeed!
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