It was thought that the gods blew on creative people, who would then inhale the god's breath and have an idea. This is the premise of "inspiration": inhaling divine breath and ideas.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


The house was getting hotter and hotter as the number of people pouring into Mr.Biswas's home grew at a geometric progression rate. Mrs. Biswas's was busy filling and re-filling plates with Benagali sweets and passing to the guests. The date 09/08/1956 was a significant day in pages of history of lane 345, House number 421 and a very special day for Mr.Biswas. He wore the best of his clothes and spoke with the joy of a child explaining them about the instrument. The first telephone instrument was being installed at Mr.Biswas's house.

The rumors began to surface a month earlier in lane 345, Tagore nagar, whispers of 'Telephone' or 'talking machine' followed him everywhere he went. When Mr.Biswas Senior heard about this, he told his son 'I always told you this day is going to come. It's already predicted in the scriptures that people in kaliyug will witness such scientific discoveries and reap it's benefits. Science is invading all our homes and minds. We shall welcome it.' His son beamed happily that his father wasn't like the rest of the elders who detested science and thought it contaminated the religion.

Before 'the' day actually arrived, the house bustled with so much activity surrounding the topic of telephone. It became habitual for the family members and neighbors to sit together in the porch and discussions were conducted about the celebrations of welcoming telephone into their homes. An inquisitive neighbor would suggest the right location for the telephone to be placed inside the house 'Mr.Biswas you need to get a separate desk for the telephone. above the reach of kids.' This would trigger a discussion and each person in the crowd would point a new location for the new arrival. The ladies always preferred to get into the backyards for talks which sometimes deviated from 'telephone' to gossips to newest recipes. There was a practice session for saying 'Hello'. The children played at all times and were all around the house. The house became the centre of social activities.

Mr.Biswas got up early that day. He couldn't sleep the whole night. His mind was full of anticipations and anxiety. Mrs.Biswas brought the cup of hot coffee for her husband. The vermilion over her forehead matched the color of her saree and her eyes already seemed empty of energy. 'The day has just begun.... you didn't sleep well last night?' he spoke lovingly. 'I was thinking all night. About all the good times we had at our home in anticipation for the telephone. And the day has finally arrived....' she said with a bit of grief. 'Aren't you happy about it' he asked. 'what if you stop talking to me and only talk to the telephone from now on?' she replied admist sobs. Mr.Biswas laughed out loud and said 'Silly woman. It's only an instrument not a person. I promise you I will not stop talking to you' His wife sighed with relief and wiped her tears and walked away saying 'I have a lot of work today.'

Telephone arrived finally among celebrations. Everyone rejoiced and welcome it like a new 'bride'. There were people who travelled from the far end of the city to have a look at the new arrival. 'Oh! this is the Telephone' they would say. Some would request for holding the talkpiece and talk into it. But Mr.Biswas handed the talk piece to his wife and urged her to say the first word. She shyly said 'Hello'.


  1. Those were the days! I loved this hilarious account so full of life.

  2. The neighborliness of visitors all trying to participate in the happy(?) event makes for a very entertaining story.

  3. Medhini
    That was simply superb. You write so well. It was as though I was there too.
    Thanks for your feedback on my post. I'm very new at this so it is all a bit daunting at the moment.

  4. Oh, this is a lovely glimpse into a family, a culture, a time. I enjoyed it so much. Thank you.

  5. you have portrayed well the story ..the excitement of a telephone bringing the whole neighborhood together... a wife's wonder of love... lovely