Across decades


Every house does not have a phone. We get a new one installed, and eagerly wait for it to ring. A sarcastic remark from a cousin, “Why don’t you get phones installed in all your friends’ and relatives’ homes?”


Those anonymous calls are pesky, but our adolescent hearts wonder if we have a secret admirer somewhere – too bashful to reveal identity.

There are calls which whisper sweet nothings.

Mom yells from the kitchen “Whose call is it?”

Me: “Blank call, Mama. It got disconnected.”

Mom: “Don’t entertain these shady callers. Be quick to disconnect.”

Bonding with a male classmate:

“Dial this number, get the girl on the line, and then pass on the phone to me.”

“Why can’t you do it?”

“She is not allowed to receive calls from guys. A female voice is needed.”


Mobile phones have entered the market, and are a status symbol. I buy one, and choose a plan which has prime rates in the morning and evening. It doesn’t matter because I’m at home or office at that time, and can use the landline.

Time passes. I Quit the job, and enrol for evening classes in coding. I also instruct the cook on what needs to be done for dinner at 6.30 pm, till my husband says.

“You are giving those instructions at Rs.18/- per minute.”

I’d forgotten to change the plan.


Mobile phones are fast becoming a menace. The juniors are busy messaging their beaus rather than focus on work. The boss calls at odd hours to get updates.

I wish mobile phones are not allowed at work.


The hand-held devices are a necessary evil, since so much is done on it.

My nephew is shocked at my ‘game-illiteracy’.

“How can you do so much at work, if you cannot play a game? Let me teach you a few simple things.” There goes the rambling in neo-languages.

 I still treat the phone like a stepchild though.

A little later in the same decade ….

Groceries, travel bookings, checking on the domestics, posting on social media, bonding with colleagues, updating the boss – is all done on the smartphone. The beauty of it is, I can work from home, and manage the home from work.  My roles expand as I multi-task furiously.


Phone calls are a thing of the past. My domestic staff has also learnt how to send messages on apps.

I fear losing my laptop, which has been a valued accessory, an extension of the self.

Will life fit in on this small device, and do we still call it a phone?

5 thoughts on “Across decades

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