The Ties that matter

The Ties that matter


‘Oh my god, you’re joking!

Giggling, she then turns to me and waves me out of the room, so she can continue her conversation in ‘private’. Suppressing a smile, I walk out of the room, basking in an odd medley of emotions.

We have a fixed line at home. You know the kind, right? It’s literally stationary and connects us to our loved ones. Since the instrument also doubles up as a device to which we connect our router, it stays in the study. It’s actually quite conveniently placed, right next to my laptop, so I can answer it on the first ring. It is also equidistant from my bed and all I need to do is stretch out an arm to lift the receiver.


As a child, I have very fond memories of speaking on the telephone. We belonged to the era where telephones were a rarity. A home with a telephone meant that the family in question had probably lived abroad. This wasn’t completely untrue in our case.

What I loved about the instrument was how I could curl up next to it, as if I was discovering a long-lost friend. Keep in mind that this was before the time of the cordless phone, so if I needed to answer/ make a call, I would have to stay put in the same point. All conversations, whether they lasted five minutes or fifty, were to be conducted in the ‘comfort’ of the living room, which, at any point of time, played host to one snoozing grandfather, one curious younger sibling, two ostensibly indifferent parents and one hawk-eyed grandmother.



In spite of all the constraints (or perhaps because of them) I grew to love phone calls. Courtship days with my fiance were peppered with langorous, beautiful two-hour conversations, while I idly twirled the cord that connected the receiver. Somehow, I doubt that my father shared this sentiment of mine, considering he would have had to foot the bill! Soon after, I Β enjoyed the privacy of a cordless phone.

Today, I cherish the calls that I receive on my stationary phone, because it has taught me to do two very important things: One, to sit down and speak at leisure and two, to consciously take time away from the smartphone and be grounded in reality.

When I get a call now, I have to drop everything else that I am doing and come and plonk myself down on the comfort of the bed, while I chat with the other person.Β 

I sit in one spot and stop multi-tasking ideas and concepts in my head.

I don’t balance the phone between my ear and shoulder while sieving flour into a pan.

I don’t walk back and forth between the bedroom and the kitchen, thus preventing wear and tear on my Β well-worn carpet.

Gy asked me the other day why we didn’t have a cordless phone and why I didn’t allow her to speak on the cellular phone to her grandparents.

‘It’s because of the radiation,’ I said. Her seven-year-old mind accepted it without question. I didn’t tell her the real reasons though. How could I share the absolute joy that comes from strumming the cord on the telephone? Or the fact that I hug myself when I watch her sit in one spot and talk endlessly, just the way I used to?Β 

And I realise, in this moment a very comforting truth. These minutes that she spends curled up next to that stolid device are the ones that she will remember with fondness in the years to come.

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0 thoughts on “The Ties that matter

  1. we still have a landline phone πŸ˜€ I remember discussing class tests, gossips and all kind of other stuffs with my friends on phone. Yeah sometimes mom would snoop in, sometimes sister will scream to let go off the phone πŸ˜€ fun memories. Beautiful post Shailaja.

  2. Memories of the landline :-).
    I remember twisting the cord round and round when having long conversations too.. Be it with college friends or be it with Prakash after we got engaged :-)… Wonderful post that evoked nostalgia Shailaja πŸ™‚

  3. You brought back some lovely memories of all that cord-twirling πŸ™‚ We still have a landline and up until a year or so ago we also had a stationery phone like that at home as the main phone for that number, but then replaced it with a cordless for the ease factor.
    This was a beautifully written post, Shailaja πŸ™‚

  4. Yes, I remember our phone was placed next to the comfiest armchair; it sort of made you want to just chat on and on!! Our generation has seen the last of many things, the 'corded' phone being one of them πŸ™‚

  5. Aah,The good old phone!! I too share your sentiments Shailaja. It was so relaxing speaking into it. No heating or straining of the ears and no worry of network problem. You could just curl up or stretch out like the cord while speaking.

  6. We still have two landlines – a cordless and a corded. We only have the corded in case the power goes out and and I don't really know why we keep the landline. I feel like spending time on the phone doing nothing but chatting is something from my teen years that I likely won't do again, which is a shame, now that I think about it.

  7. My grandparents had an old rotary phone and never did upgrade to a hands-free set….I remember sitting on my grandparents' stairs, trapped there by the length of the phone cord, to talk on the phone. And they are fond memories. So, I would agree with you that your daughter will probably have fond memories of those phone conversations.

  8. that is soooooooooooooooooooooo cute!! the picture πŸ˜€
    And we see landphones with a sense of reverence..like a connection to our past. same number throughout!

  9. Lovely post πŸ™‚ I got reminded of the first time when we got a landline at our home. I was around 7 or 8 at that time. We got this after waiting for so many years post booking. I used to be so excited to hear it ring, and would rush to pick it up from wherever I was when it rang. I still remember that number πŸ™‚
    Such a fond list of memories this triggered πŸ™‚
    And is that Gy ? She looks so so cute πŸ™‚ All that seriousness while speaking on the phone πŸ˜€

  10. We were one of the first of our family and friends to do away with the land line and everybody made such a fuss over it. It does seem so strange though, that my kids won't have that memory of a communal ringing phone in the house; never shout “Maaaaaxxxx!!!! Phoooonnnneee!!!” πŸ˜‰

  11. This reminded me of those times I spent curled up with the landline corded phone talking to my very first “boyfriend” when I was in 6th grade. We don't have a landline in our house, just cell phones, and I agree with what Linda said; it's weird that my kids won't have the memory of the phone ringing, just of whatever cell ringtone everyone has.

  12. In those days, there was a waiting time to get the connection as well. Yes, getting the phone, the corded one, at home filled me with a different sort of a feeling. You have given some very important life messages as well which are absolute must in today's age of smarter gadgets and life is moving from one screen to another…A thoughtful post.

  13. I may be a Luddite, but I miss the old stationary land-lines. There was something wonderfully freeing about the phone just being at home; if you were away, you were truly away. Being available all the time is tiring.

  14. this took me back yearsssssssss when the telephone came to our house .. oh my god it was like the best thing ever and we had to show off to the neighbours .. as in those days it took years to get a line πŸ™‚

    I still have one here in uk .. because the cordless and fancy ones go kaput if for some reason the Electricity goes away πŸ™‚ we got to rely on those old traditional ones ..

    Bikram

  15. was about to write that again.. the most important part of a corded telephone… the twisting of the spirals.. and sometimes untangling the cords!!! but i prefer the privacy of the mobile phone/cordless than anything else.. so its fine.. πŸ™‚

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