In the Pause Between the Ringing is a short story from the world of Somewhere.
The story of an inventor called Iqbal and of the first telephone mines in India.
In a country stitched with telephone wires, it is not surprising to discover that a history of the telephone was first written in a book of Geology. The telephone is after all a noticeable fixture of the Indian landscape. And it’s sonorous ringing has long heralded sudden and momentous changes in the minute destinies of its people.
The instrument can be found, amplifying the terrifying horns of Babur’s army from the ragged edge of Chenab. Or clattering with the shouts of Chalukya craftsmen, that once echoed along the Badami temples.
It is even heard across time, like the chiseling of Ashoka’s inscriptions that would manifest as an unresolved ringing in the inner ear of James Prinsep. Or when William Brooke O’Shaughnessy believed that, much like cholera riddled veins, these telegraph cables would let him pump restoratives straight into the heart of a troubled nation.
In this country of telephones and wires, phone directories become genealogies, telephone exchanges become places of pilgrimage and the ringing, clicking drone of its machinery – a metronome of the sporadic history of this land.
Our story is told amidst this tangle of cables and time. It is told when Iqubal awaits a telephone call and his perpetual pause forces a recollection of the terrifying history of the telephone in India.