“Who hasn’t fallen in love, whose telephone hasn’t rung, carrying the message of love,” proclaims the first page of Telephone Pyar, a collection of short fiction in Hindi. The book, a brainchild of Delhi-based documentary filmmaker Abhinandita Mathur, is a unique community project revolving around phone conversations of young lovers. It was written and enacted by participants 16 to 23 years old, all residents of Khirkee. The script captures the cliched yet endearing small talk of lovers like, “Why did it take you so long to pick up the phone?” and familiar situations like the boyfriend waiting at a cinema hall while the girl is still getting ready.
“A participant admitted to sitting in his brother’s PCO shop and dialing wrong numbers the whole day,” says Abhinandita.
When Abhinandita went to the publisher, the typist quietly slipped in a love story he had written, and requested her not to tell his boss.