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The Terror of Voice Messages

August 24, 2023 | By

When the phone bleeps in the morning, Santosh Bakaya’s heart jumps into her mouth. Is it another voice message?

Enjoy Episode 5 of your favourite morning read with your morning coffee! ☕ Morning Meanderings Season 3 comes to you with weekly episodes that will brighten up your mornings and make your Thursdays extra special! ☀️📆 🎉

He was frantically sketching something

My eyes fell on him, the moment I stepped out of the house. There he was, sitting under the neem tree, bent over a piece of paper, frantically sketching something.

A ten-year-old, clad in hand-me-down clothes, with a look of intense concentration on his shriveled-up face. I noticed that it was just a stub of a pencil that was his tool. He sketched away as if his very life depended on it.

The look of intense passion on the young artist’s face did something to my heart. If only I could help him in some way. I went and stood next to him, peering at his spiral notebook.

“Do you go to school?” I asked.

“I study in the fifth standard”, the boy said, not looking up from his notebook. Confidence poured from every pore of his skin. I realized that he appeared to be his own master, needing no help.

In his body language, I could read a message of grit, determination, and a never-say-die spirit. In one moment of eye contact, I knew the tiny boy had the spunk  to pick up the broken pieces of his life and, like that line from the famous poem If by Kipling, ‘stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools”.  I walked on, a happy smile playing on my lips.

A little distance away from him,  a six-year-old girl in oily pigtails played hopscotch with staccato bursts of mirth, now and then calling out to the boy.

Bhaiyya, dekho!”

But the boy was too busy sketching to give his sister even a withering glance. Unfazed, she continued to hop, skip and jump, even yell now and then. Her happy-go-lucky demeanor filled me with new vigour, conveying a powerful message of hope. Hope was a girl with twinkling eyes, hopping and skipping. She would definitely hop over all hurdles of life.

With a happy song on my lips, I walked on, clutching this message of hope close to my heart.

Morning Meanderings Season 3 by Santosh Bakaya

Morning Meanderings is a weekly musings column by Santosh Bakaya

On the creeper-covered verandah of a two-bedroom house sat a very old couple drinking tea. They looked at the two siblings indulgently. When their eyes fell on me, they smiled, their hearts in their eyes.  The cat snoozing next to them shifted position as the sunrays tickled her, and crawled under the old man’s chair.

A new family had rented this flat, and every morning, I would see a very young couple waving out to the old couple before heading for their respective offices.

The old couple would keep waving till the car became a blur in the distance. The foursome presented a picture of loving togetherness. One day, I had even seen the girl plant a kiss on the withered cheek of the old woman. How happy that had made me feel!

“He is our grandson, and we have a wonderful granddaughter-in-law. They have sent their parents on a world tour after their superannuation”. The old woman, told me today, with a dimpled smile, inviting me over for a cup of tea.

The surroundings throbbed with myriad messages, and my heart was overwhelmed. But, let me confess, I am always petrified of the voice-messages that I receive almost every alternate day from Kanchan. Ever since she has discovered WhatsApp, I have discovered a new form of terror. The moment her message pops up on my screen, my heart jumps into my mouth.

Each voice message is pre-fixed and suffixed with a pleeje and has a pleeje thrown in the middle too, for added flavour. Some samples:
Pleeje Didi. It is my anniversary today, so pleeje, I will not be able to come today..Pleeje.”
Didi, I overslept today, and so Didi pleeje, aaj nahin aaoongi, pleeje.”
Pleeje Didi, you know my devar, na? Uski shaadi nahin ho rahi. Pleeje, some people are going to come to see him, so Didi pleej.” The voice message pulsates with an ardent plea.

short stories

Kanchan’s phone’s message board and its unending stream of voice messages

Kanchan is not a shirker or a malingerer, but her frail frame is bloated with excuses. Well, excuses are after all excuses. One cannot excuse oneself from excuses, right?

Honestly, before Kanchan started sending me those voice messages, I had no idea about the concept of Voice Messages. She had showed me her phone’s message board and its unending stream of voice messages. But bless her, she taught me how to send voice messages. After all, her voice messages needed to be answered through voice messages.

Pinnnggg! My phone bleeped. Kanchan’s name floated up. I screeched to a halt in my walk. It was almost like applying brakes so abruptly on a fast moving car that I literally flew through the windscreen from the impact. I steadied myself and with great trepidation, swiped my phone. What now?

Aachhchhooo…! Pleeje Didi, I sneezed twice today. I can’t come pleeje. I might  infect you…chhhoooo…!” The voice-messaged sneeze blew away the endquote pleeje and nearly my phone too.

Scooping up the messages strewn all around in the sun-splattered surroundings, I headed home, my face one big smiley. I felt all charged up to give the dishes piled up in the sink some mighty scrubbing, which of course, is in direct contrast to Kanchan’s jet-speed-feather-touch-dishwashing. No wonder, every time Kanchan goes underground, my dishes come out sparkling.

I quickly rinsed two teacups, enough for a round of tea and put the kettle on. And then pressed my WhatsApp recording button down… “Pleeje Kanchan, jaldi theek hokar aana, pleeje.”



Did You Miss the Delectable Morning Meanderings Season 2? Click to Read! 

Don’t Forget to Revisit Morning Meanderings Season 1!!

Dr Santosh Bakaya is the author of three mystery novels for young adults, and a book of essays titled Flights From My Terrace, which was recently published as an e-book on Smashwords. Her poetic biography of Mahatma Gandhi, Ballad Of Bapu has been published by Vitasta Publishers, Delhi, India in May 2015 and has been receiving rave reviews from everywhere. Although a Political theorist, with a doctorate in political theory, it is literature which has been her first love. She was awarded the Reuel international award for language and literature 2014 for her long poem Oh Hark!, which forms part of the Significant Anthology. Many of her poems have figured in the highly commended category in Destiny Poets, a UK based website and many are part of international anthologies. Right now, she is giving the final touches to her satirical novel, tentatively titled Sanakpur Shenanigans.
All Posts of Santosh Bakaya

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4 thoughts on “The Terror of Voice Messages

  • Madhu

    Dear Santoshji,
    Lovely article presented…:))
    I REALLY enjoyed reading it…
    Your  narrative is a heartfelt exploration of everyday life and the strength of the human spirit. Through shining characters, you have tried to convey in the story the message of hope, love, and  importance of family bonds…

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    Today’s Motivation

    <div class=at-above-post addthis_tool data-url=></div>Resembling a card game wherein a hand is dealt with a set of different cards, and the players play according to their own way; Life offers us various opportunities, how we utilize them is our own decision and preference.<!-- AddThis Advanced Settings above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><div class=at-below-post addthis_tool data-url=></div><!-- AddThis Share Buttons generic via filter on get_the_excerpt -->
    Resembling a card game wherein a hand is dealt with a set of different cards, and the players play according to their own way; Life offers us various opportunities, how we utilize them is our own decision and preference.