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Paati's Rotary Telephone

It takes me back instantly. To the only Rotary Phone that I remember in the singular, the one at Paati's house. A giant green gatotkacha of a telephone. I would pull the numbers around the dial just to hear it snap back in place, slowly spelling and dialing out my name. The ear and mouth pieces large enough to wave about and feel the heft of. Settled in its own alcove, the frosted glass blocks letting in the light from outside, but only just so. The old wooden cane-strung rocking chair. Paati Sitting on it gingerly, holding the phone even more gingerly, while peering at her typed up sheet of phone numbers, pristine in their laminate cover. It would come out from time to time, changes to numbers, additions to the family, pagers, and then finally cellphones. Sitting, rocking, speaking. Appa and Amma in Houston. Paati sitting there speaking to us - waiting for me to call from wherever I went. I remember her voice, a little exclamation of knowing joy. Recognition of my voice mixed in with relief, and what I hope and would like to think was tiny moments of little joys. It turned into a timetable for me, an action I kept the clock by - keeping me accountable; Paati would be worried if she didn't hear you see, and I would feel guilty if it had been too long since I'd gone somewhere and hadn't rung. Or for that matter if I hadn't called on a Sunday.

I still see her, in her slight frame and small, steady gait, walking briskly to the telephone down the long corridor from her room. Four rings maybe five if Nambi hadn't already picked up, meaning he'd probably left for the day by then. The view of the drawing room to the front. The art-deco wooden pillars and shiny,brassy, slippery steel rods in between. Open, airy, spacious. The cool mosaic underfoot. Thatha's room behind.

Everything from just a Rotary phone.


This post first appeared on The Answer Is 42, please read the originial post: here

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Paati's Rotary Telephone

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