“What’s that dreadful sound?” shouted my niece fearfully as we all laughed and she looked embarrassed.

“That’s the sound of the landline phone!” explained my cousin to her.

“Landline?” she asked, “What’s that?”

“There was a time,” I explained as the elders in the room smiled, “when phones, unlike your mobiles, had wires running from them, attaching them finally to the telephone exchange!”

Everybody smiled and the youngsters in the room laughed as my mind went back to the time when phones were scarce and I needed one desperately as there was no way for my customers to communicate with me.

We applied for one.

A year passed with no phone, and those days a phone could take up to five years or even more.

An insurance agent I knew, realizing I desperately needed a phone for my business, said that for 5000/- rupees he could arrange for one. “Meet me at 4 pm tomorrow!” he told me, promising to take me to a minister in the telephone advisory committee who he said would be able to help me out quickly, “And bring all your documents, and also the money!” he said with a wink.

That night when my wife and I prayed, it was a simple prayer telling God, we were sorry to be paying a bribe, but we had to. The next day I left for work in my old battered up Fiat. The building where my contract was going on was just a few kilometres from where I was supposed to meet my insurance agent with the bribe. At 3 pm I opened my car, and found I had forgotten to bring the phone documents. I got into my old car, and rushed home to pick up the papers, and be back in time for the appointment.

I cursed myself for being so careless.

I remember opening the door of my home, realized my wife was sleeping, tiptoed to the other bedroom where the almirah was, opened it to get the documents, and the doorbell rang….

I opened the door, and found two men standing outside holding a phone, “Telephone department!” said the first, “We have come to install the phone you had applied for!”

No words can describe the astonishment and amazement my wife and I felt that evening, as we saw our phone being fixed just a few minutes before we would have paid a bribe. It was certainly Someone up there saying, “You don’t have to bribe Bob, when I’m there to look after you!”

Yes, you don’t need to bribe when there’s Someone who hates such illegal methods is willing to see you get things legally..!

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