The Phone Call


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It was just an ordinary day

at work

His head, buried in files,

sought some respite.

There was a presentation

that lurked in the laptop

and another one that needed

to be chopped.

The boss was expected at any time

He knew he had to

toe the official line.

The devoted junior

was already in awe,

of how he could work

round the clock!

With sundry other tasks

lined up for the day

he first decided to look up some dealers

right away.

Then he glanced at his helper

who quickly whisked off,

And returned a minute later

with tea and Bizcochito.

Just as the confab proceeded

with full gravitas,

his mobile screen lit up

with a phone call.

Peering into the mobile

from the corner of his eye,

he knew, unless it seemed urgent

he wouldn’t comply.

The phone went vzzzzt

shouting for its owner,

who decided to adjourn

that call for the moment.

The screen went black

but it lit up again,

making him sigh

in sheer disdain.

He dragged the button

with a sombre expression,

“Is it urgent?”

“Can I call you back, brother?”

he asked in quick succession.

“Yes, of course,” a buoyant spirit

beamed at the other end,

“I just wanted to say hello

to my dear friend!”

They hung up the phone

and he got back to work,

making a mental note

to return the call later.

The day passed soon

mired down by work alone,

he finally slouched on the couch

with half an evening already gone.

Scotch was the way to unwind

and catching up

with a half-read book

was already in the pipeline.

Music, food and news

A business mail or two,

which reminded him

of the phone call that was long overdue.

The clock was ticking

at twenty past eight,

which meant it wasn’t

really that late.

He would call after dinner

when he would be a little free,

and talk at leisure

without feeling guilty.

And then, all of a sudden,

as if by chance,

he recalled some arrangements

that needed to be made fast!

So, he left an order

for tomorrow’s grocery,

and also mailed a complaint

to the department of electricity.

He asked the house-help

to get the faucet fixed,

and pick up a parcel

lying at store eighty-six.

Finally, he sat down to have his meal

Of soup with cauliflower cheese,

With the deferred phone call, thought of,

no more than batting the breeze!

And then he doused the fire

and turned off the lights,

Slid under the sheets

It was rather late, in the night.

The phone call, by the way,

was at the back of his mind

He would make sure

to ring up tomorrow at nine.

Before he knew

he was fast asleep,

Worn out and sapped

no game for dreams.

The alarm beeped sooner

than he had thought,

and he scrabbled in the dark

to get his hands on the clock.

But to his surprise

it sat silently,

which made him think

what rang blatantly?

With his eyes now wide-open

he was sure it was the mobile,

as he caught in the dark

its shining bright light.

Reaching out, to pick it up

he wondered who could it be,

calling at an untimely hour

it was hardly three!

The caller at the other end

didn’t wait for him to greet,

and woefully lamented

a fallen friend, now at peace.

They soon got disconnected

his blood ran cold,

As he remembered a friendship,

Oh! So old.

And today, he rues the night

When he had delayed the tardy phone call,

Albeit he had been running late

but not late enough, after all!

-Sonia Dogra

(All rights reserved)

10 thoughts on “The Phone Call”

  1. I’m numb after reading this thought provoking post. After losing Pa, one message that I always convey to everyone is to make memories today rather than regretting tomorrow. In the hustle bustle of our lives, we often miss many little moments and when we realise, sometimes it’s too late. Loved reading it, Sonia.

  2. What do I say? To a post so eloquently told through verse?? Lovely play of words Sonia. The words played out the entire scene like an episode in my mind.
    I wish he had answered that phone……
    I wish we too stop putting off things only to regret later!!

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