All Phone Lines Suspended


All Phone Lines Suspended



For four years now, we have been in different cities.

We are about to get married, but I don't know how to tell him

he isn't ready yet. So, I rent a flat in the heart of the city.

He tells me that he has done the same. I go to the bank to withdraw

money every week at seven p.m. He sends me a letter marked by his hand.

It only says "Don't leave me." He used to mean it as a joke.

But now he has become serious, almost desperate. So I send a letter back

which says: "I won't."

I am a wife, or so I behave even when my husband hasn't been here.

At night, he calls. I can almost see the clear yellow light, the lampshade of his kitchen, light

that will never reach the window of my flat.

He says, your voice is breaking. When I am asleep, I wonder if it

ever has. It has always been so steady. I blame phone companies.

The next day, after spending a day at a restaurant with someone else, I don't know

how to make conversation. We still talk on the phone. Two years

will pass just like that. And we will not know. Sometimes, I picture

a large land filled with jute crops that keep growing. No one comes

to cut them up, bundle them, and take them home. Right in the middle of the land

is an electric pole for phone communication. I think, "This is it. My husband."

Standing alone, desperately hoping to convey call-messages to houses nearby

long abandoned.


Mit Shelke


Mit Shelke is a second-year UG student pursuing his English Lit. degree. Currently based in Pune, India, his work deals with loneliness and dejection. He has no publication history, and this will be his first submission. He is deeply grateful for Alipore Post, whose works have convinced him that his local, Indian voice also (occasionally) deserves some permanent part of the Internet.

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