"arrghh...this stupid phone never stops ringing.damn u graham bell" cursed Ram as he went to pick the call.
"Ammmmaaaaa.....as usual its for you" he shouted for his mother.
"A little louder and people on other side of the street will hear you clearly"
"Why your relatives are always calling on the landline when they know your cell number. Why are they so cheap that they cant even afford the call charges for landline to mobile is it"
"Shut up..if you cant get up to attend the call, leave it. I will handle it myself"
"Always shout at me..and not on those useless people who call and disturb your sleep"
"You should be thankful that there are people who think of us and call"
"Duh...leeches..they don't call you without reason. I am so sure they need some help and that's why they are calling you"
"So what? we should be thankful that god has given us strength to help others"
"hmpf..you and your crazy argument. Always allow yourself to be fooled by others"
Ram storms outside, which was nothing out of the usual as that is the standard end to such conversations almost always.
After a while, he cools down and returns.
"So, what is it this time"
"It was your uncle. Your aunt is sick"
"When was she healthy!!! "
"Don't talk about your elders like that"
"Its the truth right..whenever there is a common occasion or function that involves physical work, they conveniently fall sick while you slog yourself down"
"You should be happy that god has given me the strength to perform such noble duties. Whatever I do, you people will reap its benefits"
"Like what? taking you to doctor from straining yourself? seeing your suffer while they enjoy happily? if this is the punya you are talking about, I hardly need it"
"Stop talking rubbish"
"Why cant their son come and take care of them"
"He is in US..how can he"
"Why is he in US when his parents are so sick"
"His job is there and his wife is also working there right..why are raising this issue again"
"Issue!!! if their own son cant take time off for his own parents, why are you bothering is my question!!"
"Why have you become like this!! why are you competing with him"
"I am not competing with anyone. It is his responsibility towards his parents that he is ignoring. I don't even blame aunty and uncle for their situation. They are old and need to be taken care. But how can their only son be so selfish and ignore his parents. Is money the only thing that matters!! If he earns in crores abroad, will it bring back his parents when they are not there!!"
"Don't blame him. He is paying for all their expenses and last time when he spoke to me, he was so worried about them. He said he couldn't take them with him because of the climate there and also due to some visa problem it seems"
"Bah..you will believe in anything"
"Why are you so concerned anyway its me who is doing these right? I will not ask you to do anything. Till the time I can I will do things on my own"
"What did I do!! Why are turning against me now!! I am angry about that selfish cousin of mine and these irritating relatives who think of you only in times of trouble and never both to help you. It worries me that you are straining yourself so much and you are getting angry on me!!"
He storms off again.
At Ram's uncle's house:
"What are you doing"
"Calling my sister"
"Why are you troubling her again"
"She is the only person near by right"
"She is as old as me now..you shouldn't trouble her for every small thing"
"She wouldn't mind..and more over we don't really have a choice"
"Poor thing. If I was in her position I would be fighting with you for pestering with phone calls. We don't do anything for her"
"I know. everyone would be blaming our son"
"yes..but how many know about our debts and the fact that for his skill set he couldn't find a job here in India!! We cant go and show everyone our loan list right"
"But what will people think of us. Staying here, enjoying his money while he slogs away in far off land"
"At times I wish we shouldn't have allowed him to go abroad. Now even if we wish to, he cant come and meet us" She starts crying.
Ram enters at that very moment with lunch for them.
"Why is she crying..what happened"
"As usual...you sit down. You want anything to drink"
"No thanks. I need to leave early. Mom asked to give this to you"
He kept the lunch boxes on the table and was about to leave.
"Ram ..one help. Can you fix the computer for me? The internet is not connecting"
Grumbling about getting delayed he set about working on the system.
"Are you in touch with Hari?"
"Not much..after he went to US, might have spoken to him a few times..thats it"
"He said he will come on Skype today. if you want you can wait and join the chat"
"hmm.will ping him later. convey my regards"
He came back home, wondering the whole way down about people working abroad and not taking care of their parents.
The next day morning Ram got a call from an unknown number that was not getting displayed. Wondering who could it be, calling so early in the morning he picked it.
"yeah..I have to hurry...but who is this??"
"hahaha...you'll never change. How are you?"
"I am fineda..how is your research going on"
"Very hectic da..hardly get time. how is aunty..how is her health"
"She is fine..when are you coming here"
"Will take a while before I come...I wanted to say thanks to you da..that's why I called"
"Thanks??...but Why?? what for?"
"For taking care of my parents when I am not there. Heard that yesterday you came and brought lunch for them"
"Don't be so formal."
"No da..it irks me no end that I am not there with them and taking care of them. At times I wonder if I really did made the right decision with my career. I don't know when and how I will take them here with me. Not a day passes without me worrying about this. Work is my only solace. It pushes me harder to get things done and my only other comforting thought is that you people are there for support. Without your support it would be impossible for me to concentrate"
Unlike a wall hanging portrait that keeps looking at you from whichever part of the room you look at it, life throws up varied views of the same situation involving same people. More than the sixth sense its our perspective that sets us apart from our multi limbed fellow species I guess.