A cordless company

A cordless company

“Dad”, I hollered, “this is Jackie calling from New York. How are you and mummy?” “But Jackie isn’t here”, came the reply. “She is in New York”!

“Dad, Dad, no; please listen to me; I am Jackie speaking, this is me, Jackie”. “But I told you she is in New York”, he persisted. My frustration began to surface as I hoped I’d be third time lucky, but the repetition did not work.

My line I mean. My plea to my father to lend me his ear, as long as the phone line by some stroke of good fortune carried our words across the oceans, without breaking up.

Unfortunately, dad, an octogenarian, was hard of hearing. He used a hearing aid which he claimed magnified all the sounds he did not want to hear and obliterated those he did!

Mum an arthritic, found it tough to rise in a hurry and attend the phone, by which time it would most often stop to ring, so she didn’t even try, but was able to listen in, if on occasion dad could carry on a conversation.

When I called I could picture her prompting from her chair nearby, “Tom this is our Jackie calling”, but he’d have been too busy concentrating on replying to even listen to her. Finally I’d end the phone call in disappointment, reassured only with the fact that I had heard my dear papa’s voice.

While I was on a bank posting abroad, we were allowed one overseas call home every month, cost footed by it, and I looked forward to a chat with my parents.

The example above, regretfully being my experience, I decided one fine day to buy my parents a cordless phone so that my mother could speak with me. I went down to midtown Manhattan, picked up one suitable for use in the homeland and carried it back on my next home leave, all ready to set it up. Apparently, during the mid ‘80s, the use of cordless phones was not allowed in India and a stickler for regulations, my father flatly refused to connect the instrument, despite it being the communication need of the hour, for his wife,

Thus, the cordless phone was relegated to the depths of a drawer till I returned to India. Severely arthritic myself by then, I connected it for my own use. 

As to recalling my experience with dad, history repeats itself as I now chat daily with my elder sister, who is 82,  also hard of hearing and not quite sure if her hearing aid assists her or not.

Mercifully, with callers’ ID, she knows it’s me when I call, and we chat quite some, though it calls for patience on both our parts to carry through till we exchange the day’s news and views which makes the cordless companionship well worth the effort.

I certainly celebrate the advent of cordless phones as enablers in my life.