The Unfinished Article
by Lakshmi Menon
Having a full day's leave just for yourself, is a luxury for a full time working woman. I had the habit of taking such a day's leave once in a while, just to spend for myself, to do what I liked and the way I liked, without bothering about anything else. After my husband and kids leave the house in the morning, I used to just spend my time on reading, writing, or watching a movie on the TV etc. An afternoon siesta was also included in this. It was before the internet became an integral part of our life.
Feeling excited for having a full day at my disposal to do the things I liked, I sat with a pen and paper to write an article for a magazine. I had been nursing an idea in my mind since the previous week. I wanted my idea to be put into words as soon as possible before it faded away from my mind in the midst of a hundred household chores.
After a moment's thought, my pen started moving on the paper in full force, like a child playing on the ground, when there came a knock at the door. Reluctantly I opened the door. An old paperwalla was anxiously waiting outside. I soon sent him off and sat down to recollect my scattered thoughts. Moments later, I proudly looked at the paragraph which I had completed, like an artist admiring her own creation.
"Oh, hell! Who's it now?" with a tinge of irritation on my face I opened the door only to find a stranger who happened to be a visitor to my neighbor's house, and had rung the bell of my house, by mistake. Realising his folly, by seeing the unexpected face at the door, the tall young chap apologized and moved away to the next door.
With a great sense of relief, I soon found myself back at my seat with my pen and paper. To my utter surprise, I realised that the sentence I had already recollected to write had disappeared from my mind, but my pen was still in the writing mood refusing to give up; like a stubborn child throwing a tantrum.
Following my efforts to recapture my thoughts, they started flowing again into words, which ultimately started making sentences on the paper. I was elated to get my writing mood back, and decided to complete the second para when the recalcitrant bell buzzed again, suddenly interrupting my thoughts. This time I hesitated for some time to receive the unexpected visitor. It must be another visitor to another neighbor's house, I told myself. Muttering to myself I rose from my chair mechanically and moved towards the door.
I was wrong. This time, it was the milk boy who was annoyed for having had to wait, and getting no response he was about to return without delivering the milk to us. With a half-smile, I called him back and apologized.
Hoping to have no more disturbance I settled down once again and determined to complete the article at any cost before my kids returned from school. I had hardly finished another paragraph.
This time, the telephone was at work. It was not working for sometime, and we had registered a complaint. Telephone was the only way of direct communication and mobile phone was a rare device of luxury, and hence it was not affordable to all like today. "It must be from the Telephone department," I told myself.
Leaving the pen and paper on the table once again, I walked towards the telephone, only to know it was a call from an old friend, who couldn’t get me on my official number that day. She was thrilled to get me on the phone freely and pour out all her family news and finally thanked me for taking a day's leave. After about 30 minutes of patient listening I returned to resume my unfinished work, feeling pity for myself.
What were my thoughts? I tried to recollect them, in vain. I realized the bitter truth that they had left me disappointedly.
The clock struck four at an unwanted time and almost at the same time my kids knocked at the door. As I moved towards the door, my unfinished article winked at me with a naughty smile.